Last week, when we spoke, you told me that there were good reasons you weren't initiating impeachment hearings at this time. (see video of me and Congressman Conyers here)
I tried to tell you that impeachment is a tool, and you turned to me with a wry, frankly, contagious grin, and asked me (with a who-the-hell-do-you-think-you're-talking-to-you-young-whippersnapper look) if I knew who had more experience with impeachment than anyone else in congress.
But then you went on to tell me how concerned you were with how we would look if impeachment failed. You mentioned how the Republicans ran against the Dems in '06 with the threat that the Dems would waste time and divide the country with impeachment.
And you and I both know that this is the talking point that the Dem leadership has actually borrowed from the Republicans-- that impeachment would take up all of congress's time to get other things done. But Mr. Conyers, you, being the most experienced member of congress, regarding impeachment, you know that this is not true. You know that when the Nixon and Agnew impeachment hearings were going on, congress got its other work done.
What I tried to tell you, when we spoke last week (readers see the youtube video here and the transcript of the conversation here) was that the members of congress are really not thinking through the concept of impeachment. They keep mistakenly focusing on the vote in the house to send Cheney, then Bush to the senate, and then, of the senate trial.
You know that that is not what happened with Agnew. It is not what happened with Nixon. It was not what happened with Alberto Gonzales. Now, ordinary hearings were enough to force Gonzales to resign. But as you know, since Bush is instructing his appointees to disobey subpoenas, and Mukasey is refusing to support the subpoenas, that the only recourse you have to get testimony is through impeachment hearings, because there is NO EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE in response to impeachment hearing subpoenas.
You know that since the Democrats control the house, there is no reason for a vote to send Cheney or Bush to Senate hearings that are doomed to fail. You know that you can hold hearings which force Bush appointees at all levels to testify, exposing criminal, duplicitous, horrific crimes and behaviors by Cheney, Bush and probably numerous other Right wingers. You know that, while there will absolutely be complaints and outcries from the Republicans, that they will be silenced as soon as the dirt, the massive river of sewage starts to spew from the testimonies of Bush's people.
You heard me right. The House Democratic leadership is totally misguided in the way they are conceptualizing the way impeachment would look. As I tried to convey to you last week, it's not about the hammer, it's the claw. Forget about the senate. Forget about a vote in the house. That vote, at least for Cheney, was already held-- to get the hearings started. The house needs to do the same thing for Bush, but with the focus on getting Cheney to resign first. We all know that Cheney will, as soon as he feels the heat, get a note from his doctor and take a medical resignation.
Then, Bush will have the opportunity to nail down his legacy. He can appoint a woman or black or Hispanic as vice president. Elizabeth Dole, former head of the Red Cross, comes to mind. Then,after watching the ocean of sewage reporting misbehaviors and crimes of Bush for enough time to realize that the future of the Republican party is at risk, the Senate Republican leadership will take "THE WALK" to the whitehouse to inform Bush that if he doesn't resign, they will support impeachment.
If you're lucky, this will happen near November. The Democrats will be hailed as having stood up for the constitution and setting justice on a positive path.
Worst case, the hearings continue after the elections. Even then, there is no need to ever push for a vote in the house, let alone hearings in the senate. History has shown that aggressive hearings, when there are real crimes, not blowjobs, lead to resignations. That is, and forgive me for lecturing you, Mr. Conyers, the way that impeachment works and has always worked, when there were real crimes. Rather than being the hammerhead that slams down on the criminals, it is the claw, prying the criminal president and vice president out, forcing him to extract himself.
I'm certain you know all of this. It seems what you need is some way to educate the leaders in congress so THEY get it and stop thinking of impeachment in terms of the senate vote.
My conversations with impeachment advocates has led me to believe that on solution is to commission polling regarding impeachment. But past polls have asked the simple question-- "Should Bush or Cheney be impeached?"
That's not the way to frame the polling. Instead, a series of questions should be asked. They would look something like this.