When people hear that we are running a candidate to oppose Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch in next year’s election, they are often quick to mention that next term will be too late to impeach Bush or Cheney. This is an indication that they either miss the point, or that they are dedicated Democrats who can’t bear to see erstwhile allies bearing down on their compatriots.
Allow me to explain our reasons for running. During the last election cycle, the American people made it abundantly clear that we wanted serious change. The Democratic victory, which was larger that anything that even the Democrats had dared to hoped for, was a mandate to bring the occupation of Iraq to an end, and to stop Bush from further damaging the country, if not to hold him accountable.
Instead, we see the Democratic Congressional leadership shying away from meaningful confrontation with the President or Vice-President, and being unable and unwilling to take a single significant step in ending or even slowing the occupation. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, the man who, while serving in the Republican controlled House during the last Congress, wrote the book on the impeachment of Bush, now not only doesn’t believe in it, but is fighting tooth and nail to keep it from being considered in his committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared impeachment “off the table”. She prefers to watch Bush and Cheney twist in the wind for the next 18 months in the hopes that the Democrats will thus inherit the White House. What she and Conyers fail to include in their political calculations are the numbers of lives to be lost while those 18 months creep by and Bush continues to act out on his policy whims. What she and Conyers, and Peter Welch and the vast majority of Democratic lawmakers who are going along with this masquerade are conveniently forgetting to put into their calculus is that they have taken a professional and moral oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
We will run a candidate who knows that their first loyalty is to the Constitution and their second is to their constituents. We don’t care who the next President is. We do not want to give her or him anything near the amount of power that George Bush has amassed for the current executive branch. The Democrats say “trust us, we’re on your side, it will all come out in the wash with the next election.” We say what have you done to deserve our trust? Where is your defense of the Constitution?
Where is your moral outrage? Where is an investigation that is really focusing on the crimes of the President or the Vice-President and not just concentrating on their underlings? Where are the results of all this important work that you claim to be doing which is precluding you from taking any action on impeachment? Since when is some future judgment of history an adequate substitute for justice served in response to constitutional breaches and criminality?
If you want to know what a determined opposition can do to a President from the other side of the aisle, take a glance at Newt Gingrich’s Congress and how they went after Bill Clinton, yielding no ground and effectively bottling him up and neutralizing him. The best that these current Democrats can do is to waste money rolling out the cots so they can stay up all night with a pajama party talkfest about how bad they think the war is. There is a reason that the only body in this nation with a lower approval rating than the President is the Congress. It is because they have betrayed the American people. If we wanted discredited Republican policies to continue, we would have voted the Republicans back in.
The hubris and condescension that emanates from lawmakers who tell us that in spite of the majority of their constituents demanding impeachment and accountability, they know better and are ignoring our demands for our own good are infuriating and nauseating. They, like the President, are putting themselves above the constrictions of the Constitution and think that they are wise Pooh-Bahs, when they are nothing more than puppets for the corporate oligarchy for whom most of our government functions.
We are running to take back our country from the political parties who have squandered and misdirected our resources, destroyed any veneer of respectability that might have survived the Reagan/Bush/Clinton years and have cast us into the darkness of endless war against an ethereal enemy.
We have reached the end of our rope. We will accept no more business as usual. No more excuses. We recognize that only we the citizens can save the Republic. If the Democrats are not willing to help, then they had better get out of the way.