Wednesday, November 8, 2006


Well, the repudiation for which I pined has come to pass.

With my natural skepticism, I can really do no more than celebrate that SOME check might finally have been put in place to the ever-expanding, constitutionally-oblivious, tumor-like growth of unchecked presidential authority; this is, of course, some ways from celebrating the Democrats' victory. It remains to be seen whether some coherent governing strategy can be forged in the next couple years, so that some forward movement becomes possible in '08. With a Republican president and probably not enough strength to override his veto, it would seem that realistic expectations should not be toward bold Democratic legislation; rather, we'll have to be content with some serious investigations into the sitting administration, into the war and the government's skilled and pointed use of the war as a prophylactic against scrutiny. Let the scrutiny begin. Let there finally be some accountability where there has been none.

I heard someone today saying that they felt that Speaker- elect Nancy Pelosi was trying to cross lines and be inclusive, and in that vein she had taken any talk of impeachment off the table. First, I wonder why this reaching across the aisle is something we excused the Republicans in the last two elections for being absolutely unwilling to do, and yet are now feeling that it's incumbent upon the victorious party to be amenable? And second, I can't imagine why we would remove the option of impeachment from the table when a) the President's party could not be derailed from impeaching Clinton for arguably infinitely less serious offenses, and b) it is exactly the sense that the President has been at least misleading, and at worst possibly criminal, in his handling of affairs that cries out for accountability. This is what drove the election, not some deep-seated societal desire for Socialism! Voters, including very many from the President's own party, clearly felt that the group in power has seriously mishandled this country and has left us in an perilous quicksand of international relations and fiscal malaise. If the forthcoming investigations find the administration to be as culpable and inept as, apparently, most of us fear it is, then HELL YES there ought to be impeachment on the table. So far as I'm concerned, the same Republicans that played unrelenting, Karl Rove hardball for the past decade are now in no position whatsoever to demand civility from their erstwhile-victims.

But I will take a minute to celebrate and abserve the turn-around before I too firmly decide it isn't enough.


Mandy said...

My friends and I have been celebrating in ways quiet and loud since yesterday. Actually, since Rick Santorum got the boot. While I have to give him credit for a gracious concession speech, he's still a tool.

A tool who will now likely be looking for work as a lobbyist.

Jeffy said...

Regardless of whether or not he deserves it I hope that the Democrats keep impeachment off the table. I don't see that impeachment would do anyone any good at this point. It would take long enough that we wouldn't get rid of Bush much before his term would expire anyway, and once we got rid of him we'd just have Cheney to take his place. I doubt that anything would work any differently with Cheney officially in charge rather than just de facto.

For that minimal (or non-existent) gain we'd have to endure weeks or months of hearings. The whole time Congress would not be getting anything useful done. It would all be a big waste of time, and would probably alienate some of the supporters of the Democrats. I'd much rather have them use their political capital on something worthwhile.

wunelle said...

Interesting and valid points all.

I would distinguish between the process of impeachment and the removal from office, which is one option, tho not mandatory, if impeached (Clinton was impeached but remained in office to finish his term). I would make no such caveat were not for the person of Dick Cheney, who could be an even more damaging person in the Oval Office (save for his lame duck status and whatever wind is knocked out of the Republican sails by the impeachment). I feel unequivocally that the administration's conduct warrants W's forcible removed from office, but Cheney serves to block that exit. What a perverse (or perhaps very clever) safety valve!

I agree that this business would bring the legislature's progress to a standstill, but I'm afraid that with a virtually tied Senate and a Republican President we must be realistic about how much legislative work is likely to get done.

Mostly, I think there's the very serious business of accountability for the almost unfathomable national mess in which we find ourselves from these last six years, a mess which this election, however cleansing, does not in itself begin to ameliorate. I'm generally quick to dismiss vengeance as beneath the dignity of any legal process, and I don't think that's what motivates me now; the investigation and impeachment proceeding is necessary not as an act of punishment but as a step of ownership and as an element of national rebirth from this dark age. And it doesn't follow, of course, that the process of impeachment will result in a conviction or a determination of culpability; the administration may well be exonerated on at least some of the articles. But without a ramrod investigation, I don't think we'll have any idea of how bad things really are in this White House.

I know I haven't been shy about expressing it, but my belief is that W is not merely bumbling and inept, but actively malevolent and damaging. His legacy is an immense heap of toxic waste which we are left to sift through. And his legacy lives on and grows so long as he's in office. Today's talk of avoiding partisanship is a complete load of horse shit. I don't trust this group to mean one word they utter.

My desires will determine nothing, of course (and I'm grateful that I'm able to ruminate on these things without having to bear the weight of consequence should my conclusions be acted upon). I need to think a bit more on your comment and see if I don't float back down--or over!--to where you're standing.