Now it’s Sen. Barbara Boxer.
The junior senator from California on Wednesday stated publicly on national radio (the Ed Schultz Show) that in her view, impeachment of the president should be “on the table.”
' The reference, of course, was a pointed dig at Boxer’s San Francisco neighbor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who over a year ago announced that if Democrats were to regain control of the House, impeachment would not even be considered. It would, she famously vowed, be “off the table.”
Of course, since Pelosi made that shameful declaration, brushing aside Bush’s already committed crimes against the Constitution, it has become clear that this president has been refusing to enact dozens, perhaps hundreds, of laws duly passed by the Congress, and that he has ignored the clear will of the people to have the disastrous Iraq War brought to a quick, merciful end As well, proof has mounted of presidential and vice-presidential lying to put the country at war with Iraq. Also, more recently, the vice president pushed for, and the president decided on a commutation of I. “Scooter” Libby’s sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice. Beyond that, news has come of a string of political firings of U.S. Attorneys, primarily because they had not acceded to the filing of harassing election fraud lawsuits designed to help keep Democrats away from the polls.
In short, evidence of outrageous administration lawlessness and abuse of power has been piling up for a year since Pelosi’s statement, and during her six-month stint as Speaker, during which time she has continued not just to block impeachment bills in Congress, but to work hard behind the scenes to undermine a growing grassroots impeachment movement.
Sen. Boxer’s bold statement puts impeachment front and center inside the Beltway, and in the national media. It adds new weight to the bill calling for the impeachment of Dick Cheney which Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) filed in the House on April 24, and which now has 14 additional co-sponsors.
We’re not there yet, but thanks to a growing grassroots campaign, impeachment is being forced into public and Congressional consciousness. It is reaching a point where even the most cowardly or complicit news editors will not be able to push it aside, black it out, or deride it as a “fringe” thing.
We’re getting to a point where the powerful in Congress, and the pundits and opinion makers in the media, are going to have to acknowledge that impeachment is being demanded by the public, and that it is appropriate to the crimes that are being perpetrated by the White House.
Speaker Pelosi’s position is becoming less and less tenable, and is looking more and more shrill and even ridiculous.
How, after all, can the leader of the House say that impeachment is inappropriate when the president is thumbing his nose at Congress every time they send him a bill! She and the rest of the members of Congress are well aware that if Bush doesn’t like a bill, he will just sign it and then refuse to enact it, making a joke of the whole legislative process.
How many other institutions can you think of where the members of that institution have stood idly by, hands in pockets, while their power and authority was trampled? Even on the grounds of simple ego, you would think that Congress would be rising up as one to put an end to such a travesty, and yet not one bill has been submitted calling for the president’s impeachment.
Even Kucinich’s bill is limited the vice president, and to issues of war and peace, and it says nothing about abuse of power—the really serious crime of this administration.
No wonder support for the Democratic Congress has tanked, falling to 23 percent in the latest poll on the subject. No wonder Pelosi herself has seen her popularity in California plunge to 39 percent. No wonder she’s being threatened by peace activist and Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan with a challenge for her seat in 2008.
But with each new member of the House who signs on to Kucinich’s H Res 333 (the latest is California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr), and with each new senator who joins Barbara Boxer in standing up and calling for impeachment, it becomes easier for the next ones to follow.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been having pretty much a free ride for six years, and have probably shared plenty of laughs at the Democratic “opposition” over the last six years as they steamrollered both them and the Constitution. But suddenly, things are turning around, and as is often the case in politics, they are turning quickly.
My guess is that Bush and Cheney are starting to lose sleep, wondering if they may end up facing impeachment after all. I suspect Pelosi is starting to lose sleep too, wondering if she needs to rethink her menu.
DAVE LINDORFF is co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006, and now out in a paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net