Recently I answered an email from Senator Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who just ended and withdrew his presidential campaign, dropping out of the race after the Iowa caucus produced no measurable results to his year of campaigning. I said, "Welcome to the club" of former presidential candidates.I added my compliments for his theme of restoring or defending the U.S. Constitution. It led into my saying that "to wage that fight should put it squarely in front of you that Bush/Cheney should be impeached. To me, these matters are linked -- to have one without the other is to have half a loaf." Could that explain Dodd's lack of results? If a voter is sufficiently intellectually engaged to follow and care about violations of the U.S. Constitution, wouldn't that voter also have "eyes to see"? By "eyes to see," I mean the ability to add up the scene; and, to conclude that it is in order to impeach the current U.S. administration. Without a call for impeachment, Dodd reminds me of Barack Obama -- standing for "change" of only the most timid sort.
A new call for impeachment has just been printed in the Washington Post, coming from an 85-year-old former presidential candidate, George McGovern, a Democrat who lost the 1972 election to Richard Nixon. Hooray for McGovern! Also, I can tell that the Washington Post is a house divided against itself; hooray for whichever side of the hallway decided to publish McGovern's OpEd! (The Post has done something similar on the China issue. One side of the hallway decided against publishing a Free China Movement/China Support Network OpEd -- meanwhile, on the other side of the hallway, editorialists went negative against Communist China.)
We can add my own voice, seconding the call for impeachment. The chorus for impeachment now include these (past or present) presidential contenders -- McGovern ('72), Kusumi ('84), Kucinich ('04, '08). If I looked it up, I'm sure I'd find many progressive, independent, or third party / Green candidates who are also on record for the impeachment of the Bush/Cheney administration.
It's important. There have been many violations of the U.S. Constitution, international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the Law of Armed Conflict. A secretive, paranoid administration insists that it is above the law. That it can selectively enforce anything that comes out of Congress by the misuse of signing statements at the executive branch. That America's "new normal" includes torture, extraordinary renditions, unreasonable searches and seizures ("sneak and peek" authority, FISA wiretaps, and the like), absence of Habeas Corpus, Posse Comitatus, and abuse of eminent domain. The foregoing elements of "America's new normal," defended by "America's old media," are the exact opposite of anything that was taught to Americans in any civics lessons as they may have had when growing up! The Bush/Cheney administration has stood America on its head. Today's inverted, upside down version of America is not like our old status quo, and it is not worthy of being vigorously "defended" by media apologists.
The imperative for impeachment also leads me to be very disappointed in those presidential candidates (I've already mentioned Dodd and Obama) who do NOT call for impeachment. Likewise, I am disappointed in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who has failed to see the light and to put impeachment "on the table" as far as she is concerned in the U.S. House of Representatives. I believe that the impeachment question truly speaks volumes about the character of the American nation; and, I do not want the shenanigans (crimes) of the present administration to become precedent for succeeding administrations to follow.
That is what is so disappointing about presidential candidates who do not call for impeachment. They would wear blinders. They would whistle, "Don't Worry; Be Happy." And, they would take office with executive authority that oversteps constitutional bounds; with the crimes of the Bush administration as precedent for their working envelope; and with newly-established "executive impunity." Can an executive entirely escape accountability? George Bush and Dick Cheney are trying to show us how it's done!
When a bank robber is caught in the act, it is correct to say "put down the loot." Those who call for impeachment are basically saying that. The U.S. executive branch should disgorge its ill begotten gains. --I might go farther than that. If George W. Bush has turned a projected five trillion dollar surplus into a five trillion dollar deficit, then don't you think that he should leave us a $10 trillion check on the desk when he leaves the Oval Office? America, and especially its younger generations, have every good reason to be angered, livid, and blistering with their criticism of the Bush administration.
Barack Obama would like to be swept into office without taking up these questions. He's already cut deals with the HMOs and the medical insurance companies, so that on health care, "change" won't include disruption for HMOs and medical insurance companies. It's a fair question to ask: Is that change? Or, is that continuity? And on trade, he has parroted some general platitudes about trade while missing the need for a substantially different trade regime. His answer to outsourcing is to fiddle with the tax code. That way, "change" won't include disruption for NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, PNTR, etc. Again, one could ask: Is that change? Or, is that continuity? (Note. To fiddle with the tax code is what politicians have been doing since the dawn of time.)
If the presidential election year passes without an impeachment, then a new man like Obama would be able to take office and to pocket the ill begotten gains of the Bush/Cheney executive branch. Heck, if Bush/Cheney is the new baseline as for the expectations that we should have of the executive branch, then politicians can make an industry out of incrementally fixing the situation at the margins, and then patting themselves on the back. We may hear things like, "I'm so proud to have fixed eminent domain." "I'm so proud to have fixed Habeas Corpus." "I'm so proud to have fixed Posse Comitatus." All of that effort might return America to January of 2001, but to me that is still continuity and that is still not change.
It is late in the run up to the New Hampshire primary, but I must still put in a good word for one candidate who "gets it," namely Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich was against this war at the start, and has consistently voted against funding the war. At the same time, Barack Obama was voting to fund the war. Kucinich has introduced the bills to impeach the administration; even if his presidential campaign ends, he has another arena of action that is due to heat up this year. He has been for impeachment; he has been for a fundamentally different trade policy; he voted against the PATRIOT Act, where the Bush administration began to erode America's civil liberties; and, he is even for a re-investigation of 9/11, something which I also favor.
His ball is in play with New Hampshire's primary upcoming on Tuesday, and there is still an opportunity for New Hampshire Democrats to get out the vote -- to cast a courageous and principled vote for a candidate who did not deserve all of the censorship that he encountered, as America's old media works hard to manipulate the election. I especially want to tell young people that a vote for Kucinich is one for change -- and, the impeachment is absolutely necessary change. By the end of this year, even the old media will be admitting that Dennis Kucinich was right. And as for candidates who don't see the light, and who bury their heads in the sand -- well, they are the continuity candidates. America is already within a swirl of evil, and with continuity, America will STILL be in a swirl of evil. New Hampshire, you've been warned!