Politically Strategic Impeachment
By David Swanson
While it would of course be good for the world for Bush and Cheney to be impeached, convicted, and sent packing, would it be politically advantageous for a Congress Member to introduce articles of impeachment? And would it benefit the Democratic Party for some or all of the Democrats to push for impeachment at this time? Or should they do it later? Or is there another way?
The facts that would seem to argue in favor of pushing impeachment include an NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll released November 10th showing 57 percent of Americans believe Bush deliberately misled them in making his case for war, while 35 percent think he provided accurate information. And a Zogby International poll released November 4th found that 53 percent of Americans want Congress to consider impeaching Bush if he did not tell the truth about the reasons for war.
An Ipsos Public Affairs poll released on October 11 found 50 percent favoring impeachment if Bush lied about the war. The poll also broke the results down by political party. A full 72 percent of Democrats and those leaning Democrat, a month ago, favored impeachment.
If you subscribe to the view that the Republicans have done a better job of appealing to their own base, you’ll want the Democrats to take into consideration the opinions of the 72 percent among the ranks of their voters and potential voters who want Bush impeached.
Further weighing on the side of pushing impeachment forward is the level of energy waiting to be tapped. Many of those who want impeachment of Bush and Cheney are passionate about it. Many see the fate of the nation and the world as hanging on it. Several large organizations and thousands of websites have been formed to promote it. Meetings are being held around the country. Panels are being convened. Mock trials are being staged. Half the posters at anti-war rallies demand impeachment. The After Downing Street Coalition raised $10,000 in two weeks online to pay pollsters to ask about impeachment. And a new political action committee called ImpeachPAC has raised $30,000 online in one week to create a fund for pro-impeachment candidates. See: http://www.impeachpac.org
So, it does seem likely that the first Congress Member to introduce articles of impeachment will become something of a national hero and receive a rather large outpouring of gratitude, volunteers, and cash.
On the other hand, endless discussions on this topic that I’ve had in the real world and online suggest that the Democrats’ failure thus far to push for impeachment is contributing to cynicism and distrust of both parties. If you cannot demand impeachment for the highest crime imaginable (taking a nation to war on the basis of lies, lies formally and feloniously told to Congress on March 18, 2003) then you can never impeach