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Organize to Push Congress Toward Impeachment

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Now that the Bushites have made it clear that the only way to defend the Constitution and the rule of law is to impeach them (see "Impeachment: The Time Has Come!" at click here one other thing has become clearer than it has ever been before: what the anti-Bushite movement must do.

It is time to organize to apply maximum pressure on Congress to move it to impeach the leaders of this lawless administration.

From one angle, it's unfortunate that Congress must be pressured to do this. One would wish that they would fulfill their oath to defend the Constitution on their own.

But from another angle, this is the best way for the impeachment process to unfold. A mass movement by which the people demand that Congress impeach these lawless rulers not only pushes the Democratic majority in Congress, it also provides them political safety.

The Democrats have been inhibited by the fear that any move to impeach these would-be tyrants would be interpreted --by the media and the public-- as mere partisan politics-- just a move to wrest power from their opponents.

But if enough people demand that Congress defend the Constitution by impeaching this lawless leadership, it will be clear that this is not a matter of power but a matter of answering the people’s impassioned call to fulfill their oath of office. What could be more defensible than that?

What protects the proponents of impeachment also undercuts those who would defend this lawless regime. In America, the will of the people is difficult to argue with. This is our country, and whereas the American people may not be qualified to make strategic policy we are fully entitled to demand that our birthright of a constitutional democracy be protected. "You took an oath, now fulfill it. Impeach those who are stealing OUR country!"

Already, according to the polls, about half the American people favor the impeachment of Bush and of Cheney. Such public sentiment is unprecedented in American history, and such numbers demonstrate the potential for an unprecedentedly massive social movement. If we can combine a clear and powerful message with putting our movement in its millions into the streets, the force on Congress would be irresistible.

That's our job now: to organize to accomplish it.


I do not claim to know how this movement should organize itself, but I do have some thoughts.

One thought is that this movement should develop itself into a coherent force as quickly as possible. The Bushites have thrown down the gauntlet, and it is good to rise while its latest usurpations --trying to render Congress irrelevant with its claims of executive privilege, trying to render the judiciary irrelevant with the commutation of Scooter Libby's verdict, etc.-- are still fresh in people's minds. Also, of course, there remain only a year and a half in the administration's term, time enough for them to continue to wreak havoc but not so much that we can dawdle on the process of reining in the lawlessness.

Another is that it should organize itself in a manner that optimizes the benefits of having both good top-down leadership and effective bottom-up grassroots participation.

Toward that end, I propose moving simultaneously toward three preliminary goals:

1) A leadership group should be formed. I propose that the people comprising this leadership group should meet the following main criteria: a) They should be effective and credible spokesmen for the idea that this impeachment is a vital necessity for the nation; b) They should have the knowledge of the American system, and the connections, to be effective in making that system work for the movement; c) They should be regarded as people of integrity by the American people; d) They should make it easier, or at least not harder, for Americans who are politically moderate or conservative to join and support the movement.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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