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An Alternative to Impeachment

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Regrettably, it does not seem that Congress will be impeaching Bush and Cheney, even though those two probably warrant impeachment more than any holders of high office in American history.

Fortunately, there may be an alternative to impeachment that is more feasible in the present political environment, and that might accomplish at least some of the same essential purposes.

Impeachment (and conviction) would accomplish two main things. First, it would remove from power two men who have done, and continue to do, extraordinary damage to the American constitutional system and to American interests and values generally. Second, it would help to awaken the American public to the true nature of this Bushite regime, and to educate them about the crimes and lies that have pervaded the Bushite use of the great power with which they were entrusted.

For the first purpose --the removal from power-- there is no substitute for impeachment. Even thought there remain less than a year and a half left in their term of office, that is regrettable: the regime still has, or at least can claim and exercise, the power to launch another ill-conceived war.

But for the second purpose --the awakening and the education of the American public-- there may be an alternative.

That possible alternative is what I'd like to propose now.


Imagine that some very prominent, highly respected Democrat were to make the following kind of speech, and issue the following kind of challenge. (It would be even better if it were a group of such Democrats, and better still if the group included Republicans, but one prominent figure would suffice, so long as he or she could command significant attention from the major media.)

The speech would first boldly and forcefully lay out the basic, dark truth that Americans need to hear about this regime, i.e. the truth that would presumably have been persuasively conveyed to the American people in the course of impeachment hearings in the House and trial in the Senate.

Perhaps one could sum up the various pieces of the truth by saying that this president and vice president have operated an administration more lawless, more dishonest, more destructive than anything ever seen in American history.

Perhaps it could be summed up by saying that this Bushite regime is precisely the kind of threat to America's system of government --to our liberties and rights-- that our Founding Fathers were most concerned to warn us about and to protect us from when they crafted our Constitution.

But besides the summing up, the speech should lay out a good handful of specific propositions --charges-- that support the characterization of this regime as, basically, a criminal enterprise of the very kind for which our Founders gave us impeachment as the remedy.

The speech would be a laying out of an indictment. It would also be a laying down of a gauntlet.

The "gauntlet" refers to the challenge that would accompany the speech.


If there were nothing but a strong indictment of the Bushites from some prominent and respected Democrat --someone perhaps like Senator Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee-- that in itself would be a welcome move. Such a statement alone might even help to awaken some of the American public to how dark and dangerous a power has been governing America. But it is with the addition of the following two-part challenge that the speech could rise to something more impactful.

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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...)
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