But there are several reasons we should not worry about the remote possibility that impeaching Bush would stick us with Cheney as President.
First of all, an investigation into possible grounds for impeachment, as well as proposals for censure, serves an educational and political purpose, whether or not we get to impeachment. We further discredit the Bushies, and we help to build an opposition.
Impeachment and removal from office are two separate things, one of which has never been done in U.S. history. We should try for removal from office, but we shouldn't worry about it one way or another while fighting for impeachment.
It would be virtually impossible to investigate Bush or Cheney without incriminating the other one. If we impeach one, we impeach both.
Cheney is running the show now backstage. If by some combination of incredibly improbably occurrences he ended up president, we'd be better off with him up front as a walking advertisement for voting against Republicans. We'd be no worse off, since he's already in charge.
It is, in any case, our duty to demand impeachment. If you cannot impeach for the highest crime imaginable, taking the nation to war on the basis of lies, then you can never impeach, or impeachment must be reserved for sex. We must not be the ones to effectively remove the impeachment process from the US Constitution.
It is the duty of every citizen to demand what is right and just, come what may. More important than who sits in the Oval Office is that they know that we can hold them accountable for their actions.
Allowing criminal underlings to provide immunity is a recipe for disaster. If Bush is untouchable because Cheney is criminal, let's stop and think where that leaves us.
And let's stop and think about what it means to be a citizen. We all know that it's unlikely that a Republican Congress will impeach Bush and Cheney. But most of us understand that no important change has ever looked likely - through the course of history - before it's been won. And most of us know that our respect for Democrats will increase dramatically if they fight for what is right, likely or not, plausible or not, reasonable or not. Pundits will call them foolish. People will call them heroes.
Americans are fed up with Bush but even more turned off by Democrats' failure to develop backbones.
Can you imagine every Democrat in Congress standing strongly for impeachment? Can you imagine the pressure that would put on Republicans to join them? I bet you can.
We only need 15 Republicans. Are you going to tell me that nonviolent people's movements can create democracy in Russia, can kick the British out of India, can resist the Nazi occupation in Denmark, can drive a dictator out of El Salvador and another out of the Philippines, can end Jim Crow, can bring down the Soviet Union, can topple military regimes in Argentina and Chile, can end Apartheid, and can bring democracy to the Ukraine, but can't win the votes of 15 Republicans.
How narrow are our dreams! How shrunken is our vision!
Let's think larger! Let's say with Marvin Gaye this Valentine's Day: "Stop beating around the Bush. Let's get it on!"
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