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Debating Impeachment Among Democrats

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Can you even imagine Republicans, even if they were in a minority in Congress, debating whether or not to call for the impeachment of a Democratic president known and documented as guilty of a wide range of high crimes and misdemeanors? In particular, if you can imagine that, can you imagine the Republicans who opposed impeachment arguing that they were doing so for strategic political reasons?

This is hard to imagine, because the Republicans won a majority in Congress by loudly proclaiming what they would do if they had it. The main thing they said they would do and still say they will do is oppose the agenda of the Democrats.

Meanwhile, Democratic voters and lapsed voters keep waiting for the Democrats to have an agenda. Polls show that most of us want strong positions on single-payer health care, clean elections, ending the war, shifting to renewable energy, investing in education, restoring the minimum wage, restoring New Orleans, and other policies that incumbent Democrats are usually - at best - taking baby steps on.

The Democrats in Congress seem to be operating under the delusion that they might achieve something small by trying to cooperate with the radical right-wingers who rule the committees. The RNC depicts Nancy Pelosi as Darth Vader, but she wants to work cooperatively with them. At some point this behavior develops into self-hatred.

One of the positions that we Democratic voters seem to care most strongly and decisively about is impeachment of the president. In a recent Zogby poll in Pennsylvania, 85 percent of Democrats favored congressional candidates who are committed to impeachment. Over 75 percent STRONGLY preferred such candidates. These and other polls are revealing not just a preference, but a passionate preference.
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/polling

Democrats who think they can run on content-free platforms and win because of disgust for Bush are apparently aware of the disgust that's out there. What they are missing is that it's even higher for Democrats who fail to stand up to Bush. I've been at a number of events around the country - Democratic events and anti-war events - where the applause and cheering for impeachment has been matched only by the booing and hissing for Democrats who roll over and refuse to challenge the Bush regime.


Some commentators say we can't push impeachment until after non-Republicans win a majority in Congress.

This makes no sense to me, because first we need a reason to vote the Democrats a majority. You don't get a majority without offering people a reason to vote you one.

If 85 percent of Democrats want candidates who stand for impeachment, impeachment could help win a majority. These two goals are not opposed, but impeachment may need to come first if winning Congress is to be achieved.

Winning Congress for the Democrats may or may not be needed in order to impeach Bush and Cheney. It also may or may not lead to impeachment. This will depend on what sort of Democrats we elect, how we pressure them once they're in, and whether we've built a massive campaign for impeachment that is already up and running once they get there.

It's hard enough getting Democrats to do what they promise to do during their campaigns. Imagine how hard it would be to get them to do something controversial if we'd all kept quiet about it during the campaigns!

There is always an election around the corner. If that's a reason not to fight for justice, then we can never fight for justice.

It is not a waste of time to push popular positions without any guarantee or even likelihood they'll succeed. It is the only way to make them eventually succeed. And it is the only way to change the political balance.

It is also the only thing Democrats in Congress are doing right now. Why should the Dems push futile proposals on education, energy, the war, and every other issue, but not push a futile proposal on impeachment? If we're going to declare everything futile, then they should just go home until someone miraculously gives them a majority.

OR, they could fight for what people want them to fight for, and provide us a reason to vote them a majority.

We need to demand right now that they sign on (as 23 of them have) to H Res 635, John Conyers' bill to create an investigation that will make recommendations on impeachment.
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5768

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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