OP-ED: California Can Impeach Bush and Cheney, PCH Press
by DAVID SWANSON afterdowningstreet.org | 5-27-06
There are three paths leading to impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. All three are being led by California.
The first path is through a bill in Congress.
There are 398 Members of the House of Representatives who do not believe Congress should investigate the Bush Administration’s abuses of power, specifically its fraudulent case for war, its use of detention without charge and torture, or its retaliation against whistleblowers. The other 37 Members disagree. They’ve signed on to support House Resolution 635, sponsored by Congressman John Conyers, which would create an investigation into possible grounds for impeachment. I’ve not heard a single one of the 398 cowards in Congress say they oppose H Res 635 because an investigation wouldn’t find anything. I’ve heard many say they oppose it because the media or the Republicans wouldn’t like impeachment. Yet H. Res. 635 will only lead to impeachment if an investigation finds evidence of impeachable offenses.
…or so we all pretend. The open secret is that overwhelming evidence of impeachable offenses is already public knowledge. Any investigation leads straight to impeachment. Any impeachment leads straight to removal from office. So, it’s everything or nothing, and the Republicans and most of their loyal opposition have chosen nothing.
Of the 37 who have chosen everything, who have stood up for a separation of powers and the rule of law, 10 are from California. They are Congress Members Capps, Farr, Filner, Honda, Stark, Woolsey, Lofgren, Lee, Solis, and Waters. Do they represent you? If so, call them and thank them. Send them flowers. Send them peaches (they’ll understand).
If you’re represented by another California Congress Member, you’re represented by a coward. The list of cowards includes every Republican, plus Democrats Thompson, Matsui, Miller, Pelosi, Tauscher, Lantos, Eshoo, Cardoza, Costa, Sherman, Berman, Schiff, Waxman, Becerra, Watson, Roybal-Allard, Harman, Millender-McDonald, Napolitano, Sanchez, the other Sanchez, Baca, and Davis. If you think these individuals are not cowards, challenge them to provide a non-cowardly explanation of why they will not back an investigation into Bush and Cheney’s crimes.
The second path to impeachment is through a better Congress. A federal political action committee called Impeach PAC is funding candidates for Congress who commit to doing what no incumbent has done: introducing articles of impeachment. Of the three candidates Impeach PAC has endorsed, one is Jeeni Criscenzo, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican incumbent and former car thief Darrell Issa to represent California’s 49th District.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, three pro-impeachment candidates have pooled their funds to run radio-ads promoting their promise to impeach the President. They are: Marcy Winograd, who is challenging Republocrat Jane Harman in the 36th, Charles Coleman, who is challenging Demoblican Howard Berman in the 28th, and Bob McCloskey, who is up against Recratlicat Adam Schiff in the 29th. These are peace candidates with guts up against war candidates with wallets. Restoring peace to the world and democracy to Washington requires that we get out and work for them.
The third way to impeachment runs through the state legislature in Sacramento. California Assembly member Paul Koretz (47th Assembly District) has introduced a resolution that, if it passes, will compel the state of California to send a petition to the U.S. House of Representatives, which – according to the Jefferson Manual, a rule book used by House parliamentarians – is a legal method of initiating impeachment proceedings.
California is one of three states that have introduced such resolutions. Similar resolutions have already passed in 18 cities, six of them in California (if we count Santa Cruz twice, giving them credit for passing such a resolution in 2003 as well as this year). The others are Arcata, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Sebastopol, with resolutions pending in Carson and Oakland. The local resolutions do not carry the legal or political force of state resolutions, but they have already helped launch state efforts and moved Congress Members to sign onto Conyers’ bill.
THE HYPE NOBODY’S BUYING
Recently the Republican National Committee announced that up is down, black is white, and impeachment is good for Republicans (the threat of it will supposedly motivate them to vote in defense of Bush and Cheney). Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi instructed the Democrats in Congress to repeat the RNC’s line. I’ve heard many of them do so, including some of the most progressive, including some who have signed onto H. Res. 635.
But I’ll tell you who’s not buying the hype: Paul Koretz, Bob McCloskey, Charles Coleman, Marcy Winograd, and Jeeni Criscenzo. Neither is Jesse Jackson, who wrote this brilliant column in the Chicago Sun Times: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/11074
Neither are these naked Californian students for impeachment: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/11069
Neither is the general public. Every scrap of polling evidence suggests that making the elections about impeachment will mean a landslide against the Republicans. Here’s that evidence: http://www.davidswanson.org/?q=node/540
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Ask not what your President can do for you, because he’s clearly not about to do jack for you. Ask what you can do to send him back to Crawford to await criminal prosecution. All the resources you need to get involved are here: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/resourcecenter