By David Swanson
In a report on a recent discussion between Senator Chris Dodd, Democratic candidate for president, and a group of bloggers, we learn that:
1. Even though 54% of Americans favor impeaching Cheney, and 40% oppose, Dodd opposes impeachment because, he says, he bases his actions on what the average American thinks, and
2. Even though any useful bill Congress might pass will be vetoed, Dodd is going to continue to oppose impeachment on the grounds that Congress needs to focus on other things, not because Dodd believes this makes any sense, but because Dodd believes the average American buys this line.
And we can infer that:
3. Dodd believes that after another year and a half of every useful bill being vetoed, every useful subpoena being rejected, every useful witness suffering miraculous memory loss, every contempt citation being blocked, and every sentence being commuted, the public will still believe that Congress should avoid impeachment in order to accomplish other things.
The amount of time that Congress Members opposing impeachment claim an impeachment (or 2 or 3) would take never bears any relationship to past impeachments, but always equals the amount of time Bush and Cheney have left in office. Thus, we are now being told that an impeachment takes 18 months.
If that were true, and if it were true that Congress can only do one thing at a time, I’d favor impeachment just to stop them from doing things like what they did this past weekend, passing a law on spying that effectively eliminates the Fourth Amendment. (Dodd, to his credit, did not vote for this criminal piece of legislation.)
But, in fact, Nixon’s impeachment took 3 months, and Clinton’s 2 (plus 2 more for a trial in the Senate). No past impeachment has taken the 8 months this Congress has now wasted avoiding impeachment in order to fund the occupation of Iraq and legalize an illegal spying program.
Impeaching Nixon put a halt to criminal activities, put the President on the defensive, allowed a more significant correction to the minimum wage than this Congress passed at the cost of funding war, allowed the creation of the Endangered Species Act, and forced Nixon to back off on veto threats allowing Congress to end the war in Vietnam. Impeaching Nixon resulted in the biggest Democratic electoral victories in modern times. Impeaching Nixon resulted in a positive legislative direction post-Nixon, including the creation of the law that this Congress just shredded: the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Putting the impeachment of Ronald Reagan for Iran-Contra off the table, for exactly the reasons Dodd regurgitates today, resulted in Democratic defeats and the birth of the Bush dynasty.
If you read back through 230 years of impeachment attempts, as you can easily do in John Nichol’s genius of a book, “The Genius of Impeachment,” you’ll find that impeachment efforts when merited are always electorally beneficial, and failure to attempt impeachment when merited hurts the opposition party. Clinton’s impeachment was unique in that the public opposed it, yet the Republicans who rammed it down our throats held onto both houses and the White House.
Why can Senator Dodd not read history? I would never accuse a Senator of being stupid, so I am bound to reach the following conclusion: Dodd is so convinced of average Americans’ immense stupidity that he’s willing to let Iraqis and Americans die, and willing to damage the Democratic party, all for the sake of getting himself reelected by the phenomenal dumbasses who inhabit his home state of Connecticut.
But what would happen if the people of Connecticut were to inform the good Senator that they know damn well what a veto is, that they don’t want a year and a half of passing bills for show that will be vetoed, that they have other priorities than the elimination of the Fourth Amendment, that they want the Bill of Rights restored through the means given to us by the authors of the Constitution, that they want Bush and Cheney impeached and they want it now?