A radio show reported yesterday that Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul said the following:
"I would have trouble arguing that he's been a Constitutional President, and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office."
And this: "Congress has generously ignored the Constitution while the President flaunts it, the courts have ignored it and they get in the business of legislating so there's no respect for the rule of law."
And Paul said the United States had entered a period of "soft fascism."
The report of these statements might surprise some people, especially people who rely on the corporate media for their news, but it fits with previous remarks by Congressman Paul, including these wonderful speeches recently made on the floor of the House of Representatives by Rep. Paul and Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/12673
Rather than do that, I phoned up Congressman Paul's communications director in Washington this morning. More than confirming this report, I wanted to ask Rep. Paul why he would declare that the President should be removed from office, yet fail to introduce an article of impeachment or even sign onto Congressman John Conyers' (D., Mich.) bill, H. Res. 635, to create a preliminary investigation. I also thought I wouldn't mind knowing why Paul used the plural: "...these people should be removed from office." Whom would he include along with Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Rice?
Paul did give something of an answer in the interview to why he would not act on his conviction that impeachment was merited, namely he asserted, without any evidence, that the Democrats, if they won a majority, would probably try to impeach Bush for the wrong reasons: politics and revenge. There are a couple of problems with this excuse of Paul's for his inaction:
1. Out here beyond the Beltway it's progressives who couldn't stand Clinton and have no use for defending him and spend their time these days attacking his wife who are pushing impeachment.
2. The Democrats, even if they have a majority, will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to attempt impeachment, having - as they do - significantly less in the way of spine than Congressman Paul, who is probably failing to realize entirely how timid and useless they are.
3. If a president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors - as we all know this one has - then whether some Members of Congress might support impeachment for impure reasons can in no way justify a failure to impeach. In persuading nonprofit groups to work for impeachment it is often necessary to explain to them that supporting such action by Congress is not partisan just because the President belongs to a party. Is it really necessary to explain to Congressman Paul that impeachment is not partisan just because Congress Members belong to parties? This is about defending the Constitution, and either you obey your oath to do so or you violate it.
Millions of U.S. citizens, like Paul, support impeachment and removal from office. And we can rightly be challenged by anyone as to whether we are sacrificing enough to make it happen: are we working every moment of the day that we can to drag a few more Congress Members onto H Res 635? Are we passing resolutions in every town and city and state possible? Are we straining enough to try to shove the peace movement and the labor movement or other potentially helpful organizations onto the impeachment agenda? Are we protesting? Going to jail? Fasting? Do we wear our Impeach Bush and Cheney shirts every day?
Just as we can very reasonably be asked such questions, Rep. Paul can be asked this one: Why have you not introduced articles of impeachment, or at least signed onto Conyers' bill for a simple bipartisan investigation?
How does Congressman Paul think history will look on one of the 435 people in a position to act who declared action needed and then sat down and did nothing, who actually summoned the courage to admit publicly that he recognized the slide to fascism, but stood aside and wished the country well as it slid down the slope? Will history smile on such behavior?
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