On one hand, the Constitution wisely contains the self-corrective measure of impeachment to prevent the emergence of what Cheney and Bush have carefully engineered on the backs of the victims of 9/11: a royal presidency that is above the law and above the Constitution on any matter it declares to be in the vital national interest. Not to use this tool is irresponsible, even reprehensible.
On the other hand, the likelihood of succeeding with an impeachment proceeding in the blissfullly few and agonizingly many days between now and January 20, 2009, is vanishinly small. And unless Congress is willing to continue the impeachment process past the office-leaving of these two autocrats, the fundamental changes needed in our Constitutional structure as modified by the neocons will not take place.
What's a liberal patriot to do?
I've been advocating for some time that we take this problem up a notch and approach the issue for what it is: a grave and deeply fundamental Constitutional crisis. This team is attempting -- and so far without much opposition -- to restore the American presidency to what it was in the days of Nixon: an institution that is above the law. We must dismantle the tools they have placed at the disposal of Bush and all future Presidents or face the horrific consequences of a police state.
The only way I can see to accomplish real change here is by means of a Constitutional Convention as provided for in Article V of the present document. It takes requests by the state legislatures of 2/3 of the states to convene such a convention, which could then legally go well beyond merely modifying the existing document and draft a new Constitution that takes into account the new realities of the world and the nation more than 200 years after the drafting of the current law.
Our founders anticipated the need for this. They discussed it at length. They anticipated its use. They described it in detail. They would be stunned to find that in the two centuries since they made their best effort to describe how government ought to work, we have made few if any substantive changes in how the power of government is wielded.
Interestingly, all 50 states have at one time or another in the past made requests to hold a Constitutional convention, all of which have been ignored by Congress, which must call the gathering. Perhaps now there could be enough sentiment in favor of radical change to prevent the further usurpation of power on the part of an Imperial Presidency that continuously spits in the faces of its citizens and determines itself to be outside the checks and balances wisely embodied in our current Constitution.
I encourage you to examine the possibility and the practicality of this proposal. Visit Friends of the Article V Convention for details of where this movement stands, and how you can help us to implement a more permanent resolution of the continuing Constitutional crises that have plagued our nation in the past 20 years.