On Saturday, at the constitution center, in Philly, I'll be Speaking at Impeach for Change, on a bloggers panel, discussing impeachment. Here's my take.I want Bush out. He's a criminal in so many ways-- war, constitution, democracy... it's a long list. I want him to do jail time.
But I'm not worried about Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean keeping their promises not to impeach.
We can take care of George W. Bush and, necessarily, at the same time, Dick Cheney, without needing to go through the impeachment process. And we can do it getting very deeply satisfying results.
Here's the way I see it CAN be done:
Start off with investigations.
-Pre-war intelligence, planning
-re-open the 9/11 investigation.
-review the approach being applied to the Plame CIA outing investigation
-look at the handling of katrina and the handing out of contracts
-look at war contracts
-look at energy company meetings cheney held.
Don't talk to Bush or Cheney. Do what prosecutors do. Hit the smaller guys first. Bust them. Confront them with evidence and get them to admit to breaking the law. Then get them to roll over on their bosses. Do the same with their bosses.
Keep building cases with bigger and bigger names, all the time keeping the ultimate two targets in mind-- Bush and Cheney.
When enough evidence and testimony is gathered, don't bother with impeachment. Just take the impeachment and prosecution worthy evidence to Bush and Cheney and offer them a deal-- a small, token amount of time in jail, forfeiture of any wealth they have or will have-- house imprisonment-- no public speaking live of by video for the rest of their lives.
They will have to confess to crimes. They may be vulnerable to prosecution for war crimes. But the offer should leave them the alternative of going to jail in the US for a long, long time, with all their assets attached.
This is not small thinking, not fully laid out, but what impeachment is? What prosecution of a monster, or a pair of planetary level criminals is?
We must deal with the horrible criminal offenses these perpetrators have committed. We must erase the Bush family as a dynasty with a future from the face of the earth. Robert Parry has argued, convincingly, that if Bill Clinton and the Democrats had prosecuted Bush senior for his role in the Iran Contra affair, he would have been marked as a criminal and his son would never have won the Texas gubernatorial or the Presidential election.
We must mark Bush and Cheney as criminals for the sake of history. That does not take impeachment. Resignation with confession of guilt will do. We must prevent Bush and Cheney from profitting from their criminal acts. House arrests and total restriction from access to the press or speechifying will go a long way to make that a reality.
Of course, as I've been saying for months, this double removal of Bush and Cheney from office will make Nancy Pelosi the first woman president, an exciting prospect. I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a fight for her seat, since there are reasonably good odds that whoever becomes speaker of the house will become the next president.
A.B. Stoddard of "The Hill" and Tucker Carlson, sans bowtie, of MSNBC, had a lovefest conversation describing how kookie liberals want impeachment and how, if the Democratic leadership are smart, they'll hew to the center and avoid being vengeful. This is bogus garbage-- a new kind of right wing talking point aimed at damage control.
The truth is the democratic leadership has a responsibility to cast light in the dark, stygian places the Republicans kept dark, kept hidden. It is, as Nancy Pelosi herself has said, a "constitutional obligation." It won't be about revenge. It will be about open government, following the law, protecting the constitution. But it will also be a spin war-- which the right wing corporatocracy owned media will wage on behalf of Bush and Cheney. It will take tough talk and action to stand up to the certain criticism and negative framing which will surely emerge.
Sure, there are plenty of details, but less than would be required top successfully take impeachment through all the steps necessary. I think the end result would be equally satisfying for the majority of Americans and billions of the world's citizens.
Meanwhile, when it comes to impeachment advocacy, while I may disagree with the need for impeachment, there are some core steps I do agree with-- the need for convening hearings, for investigations and subpoenas is clear.