...Prior to the November 7th Congressional midterm elections approximately eight months to the day Harper's Magazine proceeded with a prominent panel in an impressive forum on the necessary impeachment of George Walker Bush. Among the panelists was Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School graduate, Elizabeth Holtzman, who, while formerly in the House of Representatives, steered way in the House Judiciary Committee bringing about Articles of Impeachment against former President Richard Milhous Nixon. Alongside Holtzman sat current Representative John Conyers, D-Mi.; America's foremost Congressional advocate in the fight for impeachment of the 43rd president. In addition to prior admonishing, and days following the Harper's forum, Conyers hosted a meeting of forty five distinguished attorneys and legal academicians in downtown Washington on putting forward a bill of impeachment against among other things the federal felony in misleading and lying to Congress in the run up to the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.
On the heels of the Democratic Party midterm victory retaking both houses of Congress Holtzman spoke at the November 11th Impeach for Change conference at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Poised and precise, as she was during the Harper's round-table, Holtzman remarked - profoundly succinct - on why checks and balances, while positive, do not go far enough in excoriating the younger Bush. "The constitution doesn't require the minimum. It requires the maximum. We can't have a president of the United States who puts himself above the rule of law if we want to continue with this democracy. That's it. No ifs ands or buts. The fact that we have checks and balances does not mean that we are not obliged to remove the person who threatens our democracy from the presidency."
Yet, on November 15th eight days following the Democratic victory John Conyers sent an email to supporters telling them that proceedings of impeachment are now "off the table".
Newly appointed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., is in public agreement with Conyers, declaring the potential proceedings "a waste of time".
It's time for a reinvention. The Democrats possessed a reinvention opportunity in allowing the Republican Party to implode upon itself. Republicans across the spectrum suffered the same self inflicted fatality. The Democratic Party did not win this election George W. Bush, and the neoconservative ideology behind his presidency, sacrificed it. Indeed, had states not been subjected to thieving gerrymandering over the last decade, Americans would have seen twice to three times as many House seats flip in favor of the opposition the Democratic Party.
But where is the opposition? The force of electoral frustration which surged Democrats into power November 7th seems filled with the very opposition the Democratic Party itself lacks. Indeed, come January, if Conyers and Pelosi hold fast, the 110th Congress will allow the criminal precedents of Bush/Cheney to escape reproach without ever being held to account.
Politicians and pundits alike are espousing the same rant: Impeachment may be justified, but in the end it proves a national distraction. A national distraction? According to Newsweek, Americans support the impeachment of George W. Bush in record numbers over those which ever backed the prosecution of William Jefferson Clinton.
But the real distraction is not about a need to focus on policy, or the discouraging of partisan politics. The distraction is simply the Democrats stating there is one. Government functioned when impeachment proceedings set forth against Nixon. Clinton too. Just as the forthcoming Baker Report is craven political cover for the Iraq War, the Democratic assertion of impeachment as a 'distraction' is cover for inherent deficiencies in the "opposition" party itself.
Senator Joe Biden, D-De., and his colleagues, may charge ahead with hearings come 2007, but make no mistake, any and all hearings with regard to the Iraq debacle will focus solely on the mismanagement of the war itself not the federal felonies which brought upon invasion in the first place. The Democratic Party knows, at its core, that facing their own complicity in the build up to war could very well cost them the White House. Not to mention that bringing upon the Articles of Impeachment articles already drafted, mind you will charge Democrats with the sole responsibility of providing a solution to Iraq. And they don't have one.
Perhaps it's no surprise that the two most legitimate Democratic presidential contenders for 2008 have stepped outside the beltway in the conviction of personal and political reinvention. One working effortlessly over the last two years, spearheading the Center on Poverty at the University of North Carolina. His name is John Edwards. The other, chairman of London based Generation Investment Management, focusing on the merger of traditional investment analysis with environmental responsibility and eco-efficiency. This guy put out a movie last summer.
Political comedian Bill Maher said it best in speaking with Joe Scarborough during a recent MSNBC interview: "I don't think you can allow the precedent of a president not only blatantly ignoring the constitution and breaking constitutional law, but bragging about it... and I wouldn't impeach him for (the Iraq War). I'd impeach him for sitting there for seven minutes on 9/11."
Over an audacious burst of laughter out of Scarborough, Maher's tone became extremely serious. He was not kidding.
"Take out of the equation whether this is a Republican or Democrat or George Bush or anybody else. Just in a hypothetical," asserted Maher. "A president. In the nuclear age, Joe the nuclear age is told the words 'the country is under attack'... And let's get our facts straight! They didn't say to him 'the second tower's been hit'. This is from Andy Card himself, the words he heard were 'the country is under attack.' And for you to defend a president to sit there for seven seconds, let alone seven minutes, tells me you're blinded to who this man is and where your loyalties lie."
The backpedaling of John Conyers and the Democratic Party tells me the same thing.
The country is in need of a reinvention. Perhaps a rebirth in its courage.
Until then I suppose Harper's is out a panelist.
(Originally published with COA News)