[When my piece "Are the Bushites Bringing on Impeachment" appeared on another website yesterday, several comments on the thread expressed the same kind of derisive impatience with my even mentioning, in the piece's opening paragraph, the idea that the Democrats need to proceed with a degree of caution on the issue of impeachment. I responded to one of those and, in so doing, to the rest as well. Here's what I wrote, beginning with a quotation that indicates the thrust of what I was responding to.]Are you interested in winning, or only in grand postures?
Re this: 'please spare me this drivel about how the Democrats should proceed cautiously with impeachment to avoid alienating this wretched "center of the American electorate." This is not a question of playing nice with fence sitters. This is about saving our country, and perhaps even the world.'
Do you think it would serve the cause of "saving our country, and perhaps even the world" if impeachment proceedings were launched but failed in the objective of removing the Bushites from office? If so, please explain how that would be a good thing?
If not, then just how do you envision impeachment succeeding when it takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate, and when the Democrats control at best (remember Lieberman) 51 votes? In other words, what gives you any reason to believe that there is now any possibility of getting the necessary more-than 1/3 of the Senate Republicans to vote to impeach their own president, whom they've been supporting and covering up for and kowtowing to for six years?
Maybe you're old enough to remember the removal of Richard Nixon from office, but in case you're not, you should know that when the process began, the Republicans were very far from supporting Nixon's impeachment or conviction. It was only the process of discovery by the entire nation --accomplished through the Watergate hearings which, incidentally, were not initiated as an "impeachment process"-- that created the political atmosphere in which Nixon's goose was cooked.
It was only after the whole country has seen the evidence of Nixonian misdeeds that the Republicans saw that Nixon was indefensible --that defending him was politically unviable-- and it was only then, with impeachment clearly on the horizon, that Barry Goldwater et al. made their famous visit to Nixon in the Oval Office to tell him that he had to go.
That's how it happened that time.
Do have some reason to believe that the impeachment of these Bushite thugs can succeed now, straight away, without our having to concern ourselves about such "drivel" as what the mainstream of the American people believe and want, and what they will reward and punish in the conduct of their representatives?
Or is it that you don't really care about the consequences of actions, but only about the purity and nobility of the postures and declarations we get to make on the road to defeat?
Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)