By David Swanson
On Sunday evening, two days before the New Hampshire Primaries, with a presidential candidate spouting vacuous dreamy rhetoric behind every snow bank, the good people of New Hampshire took the time to hold two forums on the question of how we can remove the current president and vice president BEFORE January 2009.
The first event was a discussion of impeachment in Keene, NH, organized by Progressive Democrats of America and featuring Steve Cobble, Tim Carpenter, Dan DeWalt, John Nichols, this author, and many impeachment activists from around the area. A number of participants shot videotape, which should be made available at some point. People were energized and organized, and there was a sense of real possibility in the discussion of tactics to make impeachment happen. On Sunday, the Washington Post printed former Senator George McGovern’s column calling for impeachment. Things are moving in Congress with Dennis Kucinich’s efforts and those being led by Robert Wexler: http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com
In Vermont, which is always in the lead, there is a new movement to pass local resolutions to ARREST Bush or Cheney should they set foot in the area. Vermont’s state senate has already passed a resolution calling for impeachment. New Hampshire’s state legislature will be taking up a similar proposal in a couple of weeks, and a couple of the state legislators leading the way, Betty Hall and Mary Ellen Martin, attended the second event Sunday evening. So did three national pro-impeachment candidates: Chris Young, running for the Senate from Rhode Island, Chris Hill, a candidate for the US House from Vermont, and Laurie Dobson, a Maine candidate for the U.S. Senate. Dobson is campaigning on the idea that if the U.S. House impeaches Bush and Cheney, but the Senate fails to try and convict, the new Senate will have the opportunity to do so during the month of January 2009. This idea counters the claim made by some House members that they need not do their jobs because the Senate might not do its. It also communicates the significance of impeachment as a tool for setting a precedent for future administrations, no matter how late in a term it happens.
John Nichols argues that most impeachment efforts have come late in presidential terms, and he made this point at the second event we participated in on Sunday, a panel in Manchester, NH, featuring “Lord of the Rings” star Viggo Mortensen, Maine Lawyers for Democracy leader John Kaminsky, Congressman Kucinich, Nichols, and this author. An enthusiastic crowd packed into a television studio to watch and participate in the forum. A video was shot which should soon be available on Youtube and at http://www.kucinichtv.com The event aired on local cable live, but did not air live on the Kucinich TV website, because a flood of interest crashed their server. The forum took as its theme the Separation of Powers and the use of Checks and Balances. I wrote some of my thoughts on the matter down here http://davidswanson.org/node/1042 but I highly recommend watching the video of this event when it becomes available. When it was over, it took at least an hour for us to get out of the room because of the interest people had in talking about what they could do next to make impeachment happen.
One of the more intersting ideas, I think, was raised in Keene by John Nichols. He suggested that if the Democratic presidential primary is effectively decided in the next few weeks, future state primary participants may want to take the opportunity to send Kucinich delegates to the convention with a plan to turn it into a Constitutional Convention by insisting on impeachment, accountability, and limited presidential power in the party platform. If the nominee is already determined, there’s probably no better plan than this for forcing impeachment into the discussion.