It is Monday, July 16, 2007 at The Country Ham House on Rutherford Road in Greenville, SC. It is HOT. Sweaty hot weather. The kind of weather I just hate. I cannot afford to have the air conditioning repaired in my 1995 black VW Golf. So, I am sweaty HOT. It takes me a half hour to get there from Greer and I feel as if I have been parboiled by the time I pull into the parking lot.
It is relatively cool inside. I don’t buy a glass of tea because I don’t have the cash on me and it will probably be swimming in sugar anyway. The kind of drink that sticks to the roof of your mouth until you wash it down with grapefruit juice.
Some friends of mine show up, Dan Ruck, reporter for the local bi-weekly liberal paper, Upstate Beat, Bill Griffith (Griff) and my fellow war protestor, Ted Christian. Griff is the democrat who ran against Inglis last election and Ted is the colorfully eccentric, very smart independent cybercandidate who also ran and still is running against Inglis.
Pretty much on time, Congress Bob Inglis shows up with staff. Bob is a friendly, personable man who does change his positions occasionally and has some intestinal fortitude. He voted against the surge and was almost crucified for it. But this is a red state, he is a republican and he is a Bush supporter.
My philosophy about getting your question in at these types of events is to sit close to the front and raise your hand just before the last word of the speech leaves the speaker’s lips. It usually works. But today the line between Bob’s assessment of what is happening with the war and immigration and the taking of questions from the small group of attendees is somewhat blurred and a discussion on the war is already in progress before I can get my hand up. Damn.
I raise my hand anyway but every time Inglis looks my way either the young anti-war guy at the next table or the pro-war one with the WWII vets across from me make another comment. I have to take matters another step forward to be noticed, so I do. As Inglis writes the word “Accountability” under Iraqi government responsibility, I stand up. Inglis looks at me and I say,
“I thought if I stood up you would notice me.”
“I was coming to you,” says Inglis.
“Maybe, but when?” I say. “I just felt if I stood up you’d have to notice me. “
A little laugh.
“My question, Mr. Inglis has to do with what you have written on the blackboard, ‘accountability’, something the Bush administration does not feel it is subject to. Do you know who Bruce Fein is?”
“No,” says Inglis.
“Well, I say, “Mr. Fein is an internationally and nationally recognized expert on constitutional law, a member of the Heritage Foundation and a former associate Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan Administration. I will read you a list of the charges he has leveled against Vice President Dick Cheney.” I read the list, passionately and I must admit, a little angrily. The thought of the smirking face of Dick Cheney does things to my mental health at least temporarily that causes me to orate forcefully. When I finish the last charge against smirking man, I ask Bob, “Mr. Inglis, in view of the fact that 54% of the American people are in favor of impeaching Dick Cheney and 45% of the American people are in favor of impeaching George Bush and in view of the fact that the President has made a practice of claiming executive privilege covering everyone he has ever been connected with including whoever clips his TOENAILS,” I pause dramatically, then continue, “ in order to keep all of his actions secret, would you consider supporting such an impeachment resolution? And by the way, are you familiar with HR 333? “
Inglis looks bemused. He says, “I don’t know the number. What is the resolution?”
I answer, “It is a resolution to impeach Dick Cheney.”
“Well,” Inglis kind of laughs as he says, “ well.” Now he attempts to put me down with polls and the unpopularity of the democratically controlled congress. He smiles as he says, “The president’s popularity stands at somewhere around 29 %, but the congress is in worse shape. Our popularity stands at 24%.”
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