Why the Farce Continues Without Impeachment


There are those, and I am among them, who are amazed that this
administration has yet to run afoul of an impeachment effort in the
House of Representatives. The difficulty is that we who are in favor
see the issue as one of necessary justice and the absolutely critical
defense of the Constitution, while Nancy Pelosi sees it in terms of
what is possible.

Repnancypelosi
There are those, and I am among them, who are amazed that this
administration has yet to run afoul of an impeachment effort in the
House of Representatives. The difficulty is that we who are in favor
see the issue as one of necessary justice and the absolutely critical
defense of the Constitution, while Nancy Pelosi sees it in terms of
what is possible.

Politics is the art of the possible and Pelosi, as long as she holds
herself back from the occasional evening of scores, is a master of that
black art. Conclusion; it ain’t gonna happen.

Nancy took impeachment ‘off the table’ prior to the mid-term
elections for the best of political reasons. She wasn’t about to scare
disaffected Republicans into sticking with their party for fear of
watching George Bush impeached. Smart politics. It probably secured a
few extra seats for the Democrats and every seat was a major
accomplishment in an election no one could predict.

We have allowed (even encouraged) such political gerrymandering
across the nation, that 95% of sitting Senators and Representatives,
both Democrat and Republican,  are essentially unassailable. That
doesn’t give the party out of power much to play with, even in times of
historic disaffection.

Pelosi has kept impeachment off her plate, since the elections,  for three very practical reasons.

Reason number one is that, while the House could no doubt impeach
any number of senior administration members, beginning with Dick Cheney
and following on through Rumsfeld, Gonzales and perhaps even Bush
himself, that process would take a huge amount of time and energy that she desperately needs to accomplish legislation.
What the electorate gave the Dems in 2006 they can easily give back to
Republicans if they don’t feel they’re getting their money’s worth.

Senharryreid
So far, they haven’t. Pelosi reads the polls as well as anyone and,
while the country shakes its head at George Bush’s 29% approval and
Dick Cheney’s 19%, the inescapable fact is that Congress itself is in a dead heat with the Vice President.
Voters
are hungry for change in Washington and they don’t feel they’re getting
what was promised by Pelosi and Reid prior to the mid-term elections.

In their fantasy-world, they expect us to be

  • Out of Iraq,
  • Reversing the administration positions on global warming,
  • Rescinding tax breaks for the rich,
  • Cracking down on Wall Street shenanigans,
  • Turning away from K-Street influence and 
  • Balancing of the budget.

They wouldn’t mind a Palestinian-Israeli solution for dessert. Are
those expectations unreasonable? You bet. Can Pelosi ignore them
because they’re unreasonable? At her peril, she can and that’s why you
won’t see her pleasing the few to antagonize the many.

Senatechamber
Reason number two is that, while a finding of impeachable offense
requires no more than a simple majority in the House, conviction is not
in their power. The trial of an impeached official takes place in the
Senate and, in that testosterone-rich environment, it requires a
two-thirds majority to convict. Sixty-seven votes. Holding a 51-49
majority in the Senate, Harry Reid and his fellow Dems haven’t a
snowball’s chance in hell of organizing a coalition to convict.

Politics dictates that there are very few times when it pays to get
into a fight you can’t possibly win and now is not such a time.

Reason number three has to do with Pelosi and Reid holding their
gains and pulling off a Democratic presidential victory in 2008. As we
have all been painfully made aware, the 2008 presidential election has
broken out of the gate embarrassingly prematurely There are yet some
497 days to elections. That marathon in process, along with
glazing-over the eyes of the nation in general, will prevent any sort
of business as usual within the Congress.

Bushveto
Every decision will be declared partisan by one candidate or another,
every investigation blasted as a witch-hunt, every Democratic bill
facing a veto. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are in the unenviable
position of heading up majorities that are so thin they are unable to
overturn a veto. In normal times that would speak well for the
administration and a possible return of the House and Senate to
Republican control. But these are not normal times.

This president and his war are so unpopular that the political
climate is as difficult to forecast as the environmental climate.
Republicans and Democrats alike are in uncharted waters. Republicans up
for re-election in 2008 (which includes 202 seats in the House and 22
in the Senate) are as afraid to alienate their conservative ‘base’ as
they are to support continuing policies the country has renounced. For
their part, Democrats are desperate to turn things around as they
promised, yet unable to turn back a veto.

Catch-22 on both sides of the aisle.

What else did Americans vote for that is not going to happen?

  • We are not going to be out of Iraq until another president takes office.
  • We are not going to come anywhere near to balancing the budget.
  • We are not going to have substantive progress on either health care or social security.
  • We are not going to see a change in the financial relationship between lobbyists and legislators.
  • We are not going to bring the halves and have-nots any closer to economic equity.
  • Nor are we going to see any substantive lessening of the fear-based society that this administration has made of us.

Richardnixon_2
We are substantively less secure, less well off and less satisfied with
our government then we were in 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned the
office of the presidency in the face of threatened (but likely)
impeachment. The paradox is that Nixon was, by every measurable
quality, a more able and effective president than George W. Bush. The
foolish break-in at Watergate, ostensibly to rifle through Democratic
records, was a sign of paranoia. But that offense was absolute child’s
play compared to the wholesale destruction of constitutional checks and
balances within this administration.

The architect of that deconstruction is Dick Cheney, enabled by a
weak and basically lazy president. The effect upon the nation won’t be
seen fully for decades and its impact, for all the reasons outlined, is
unknowable these nearly five hundred days before our next general
election.

What is knowable is that there will be no impeachment of the principal actors upon our national stage.

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Media comment;

1 thought on “Why the Farce Continues Without Impeachment

  1. Pelosi has been threatened, bribed, or probably both. She is a coward and should be replaced at once. She smugly refers to 'the will of the American people' when it suits her, but ignores the same 'will' when it doesn't. The same polls that she quotes to shame the Bush whitehouse show that the American people have even less use for (her) congress than they do for Bush. She and Reid are the best thing that has happened to the republican party since Reagan. I wish Lyndon Johnson were still alive to give Pelosi a good spanking.

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