Remarks delivered in San Luis Obispo, California, on April 23, 2008
When I started giving speeches about Iraq and impeachment three years ago, I liked to list the major impeachable offenses for Bush and for Cheney, but as the list grew it became rather cumbersome. It got to the point where adding another crime to the list would bring to mind four others I needed to add, and then someone would discover a whole new field of criminality and report it in the news while I was on the airplane to the speaking event. And if I left out somebody's favorite crime from the list, there would be hell to pay. So, I've decided to switch gears. I didn't do this last night down in Ventura, but starting tonight I'm going to give you my top 10 reasons NOT to impeach Dick Cheney.
Here they are, in reverse order:
10. If we just wait nine more months only a couple of more hundred thousand Iraqis and some hundreds of US troops will die, not exactly big news, and what's nine months anyway, just the blink of an eye, just the time a woman is pregnant.
9. In these next nine months we'll probably only launch at most one more foreign war beyond the ones we're running now. It could expand, bring in other nations, and ultimately engulf the world, but it will only be a single additional war, hardly a significant change.
8. Our ongoing actions in Iraq and around the world under the current administration might not provoke an attack in this country during the next nine months, and if such a thing does happen, we wouldn't want a functioning democracy to be in place in Washington, and we certainly wouldn't want to prevent the same people who got us into the disaster from managing our efforts to make it worse. You don't change horses in the middle of an apocalypse.
7. Even starting in 2009, we'll still have several years left in which we can try to reverse global warming if we hurry. And won't it be more exciting if we procrastinate and then have to cram? We might even force a real breakthrough and discover how to refreeze icebergs or re-evolve species. Plus the rap Mars has gotten as an undesirable place to live is not entirely fair.
6. The millions of American families about to lose their homes to foreclosures will only have one more winter to brave and it may be an especially warm one anyway.
5. Right around the corner, a mere 7 months away, a completely unreliable and probably fraudulent election will give us a new president and vice president.
4. If we're lucky, the new president won't be a crazy old senator who wants to stay in Iraq for 10,000 more years. We might get an inspiring young senator who refuses to say how long he'd try to keep us in Iraq.
3. If we're really lucky, future presidents and vice presidents will go ahead and obey laws even though they won't be required to do so anymore.
2. During the impeachment hearings, it would be very difficult to prove that Dick Cheney had sex with someone.
And the number one reason not to bother impeaching Dick Cheney....
1. George W. Bush could become president.
Our First Amendment has been locked up in a chain-link Free Speech Zone. The Fourth Amendment is under warrantless surveillance and scared for its life. The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments have been detained without charge. And the Eighth Amendment is presently undergoing waterboarding. Restoring our Bill of Rights would be a positive step, not personal, not revengeful, not backward looking. This is why impeachment is needed. An election might, if we're lucky, get us a president who upholds the Bill of Rights, but what about the next 10 presidents? Will they all remain completely uncorrupted by the knowledge that Bush and Cheney paid no price for violating our civil rights? It is much more likely that one of them will push even further in the direction of tyranny.