Pelosi Tells the Nation Magazine Why She Won't Impeach

By David Swanson

From The Nation:

Katrina vanden Heuvel: “On balancing politics and staying true to values… If the book’s subtitle is A Message to America’s Daughters, what is your message to those daughters who will ask what our representatives did to hold this President and Administration accountable for grave abuses of power? By not allowing impeachment ‘on the table,’ aren’t you failing to protect democracy and the rule of law for future generations of our children and grandchildren?”

Good question.

Nancy Pelosi: “Let me say it to you this way, because most people are very emotionally involved in this issue and this President, as I said, is a total failure.”

Now upholding the rule of law is dismissed as emotional? And a man who set out to seize unprecedented power, enrich his cronies, expand the military, enlarge the empire, and shut down what was left of a social net AND SUCCEEDED is a “total failure”?

“He’s not a leader. He has no judgment, he has no knowledge, he has no plan. I’ve been saying that for a year.”

Well, who the hell hasn’t been saying that – and better – for longer? Did we elect you to say stuff? He had a plan and has seen it through. Can you say the same?

“Here’s the thing. This is how I see it as Nancy Pelosi, not in my role as Speaker… why I ran for leadership and the rest. I was not setting out to win for two years. I did not want there to be any doubt in anybody’s mind that this is going to be a long standing, get used to it, strong Democratic majority.”

So the point of winning in 06 was to win in 08 and the point of winning in 08 was, etc…., but how does that answer the question you were asked above about shirking your duty to govern in between elections?

“So, in my head ’06 was first, and then in ’08 we strengthen and increase, In 2010, there’s a little ebbing–assuming we have a Democratic President–and that’s not traditionally been a big year. So we hold our own. So, 2006, we win. 2008 we grow and strengthen, and in 2010 we sustain and in 2012 with a new map: it’s a whole new world. This map, we can only go so far with this map…redistricting…we need a whole new map. What we’re talking about is only the next presidential election.”

So now you tell us that not only can you not govern during an election year, or during an election pair of years, or during an election period of 4 years, but you can’t govern during a redistricting decade. The purpose of our people as a nation is now reduced to redistricting? Gerrymandering is the ultimate end of our existence? This is the depth of sleeze and emptiness we have sunk to? And you’re on a book tour to promote this as a model for girls and young women?

“So my view in politics is deeply rooted in how I was raised in politics: It’s all about economics. One of the reasons I decided to run for leadership is I thought it was absolutely urgent that we win. We see a situation where we have an economy where they are sucking the money out of the middle class. One percent of the people in this country control almost a quarter of the wealth…and it’s at the expense of the middle class. We want to reward success and achievement, entrepreneurial spirit and the rest of that. But this is not what a democracy is about. So my whole thing was always about the middle class being this backbone of a democracy and I saw what was happening here was with the President and the Republican Congress a complete disregard–worse than that–for working families in our country.”

So you won’t impeach because of the damage that Bush and Cheney are doing to the country? And by not impeaching you’ll allow the war to continue that is sucking the lifeblood out of the economy and the actual blood out of thousands of people? And you’ll beat and threaten and bribe your colleagues to fund that war well into the next Congress because you’re a forward-thinking long-term visionary?

“So I come into this picture with, they have to know we’re here to stay, plus we have to have a predictable future. And I said before the election that impeachment was off the table. Now that means, in the set of facts that we know now the fact of the matter is that in order to impeach the President, you must have the information.”

Here’s a list of crimes (PDF) drawn up by Conyers 2.5 years ago. And here’s a list of crimes (PDF) from Kucinich’s articles of impeachment drawn up by Elizabeth de la Vega.

Could a few thousand people fax these to Speaker Pelosi please? Fax: 202-225-8259, Phone: 202-225-0100, Email: or

Bush has repeatedly instructed current and former staffers to refuse to comply with subpoenas and contempt citations.

Bush has violated numerous laws and claimed the right to do so in signing statements, as documented by the Government Accountability Office.

To watch a video of Bush admitting to violating FISA (thereby committing numerous felonies) go to the White House website here, and watch the December 19, 2005, press conference. You’ll notice that Bush claims he began these crimes after September 11, 2001, which is not true; he began them earlier. You’ll notice that Bush claims to have legal justification for violating the law, but those claims have completely collapsed. He also claims the spying is limited in ways that it is not. And when asked why he didn’t try to change the law rather than violating it, he said he just doesn’t have to because he’s the president.

Does Pelosi subscribe to the belief that torture was ever legal?

Here’s someone who does not:

“Also, the fact of the matter is you don’t get any information from these people.”

The House Judiciary Committee passed articles of impeachment against Nixon over that problem. It is, of course, because you have promised never to impeach no matter what, that the White House laughs at your requests for information, and the rest of us cry over your treason.

“The further fact of this is that because of the judges that they appointed, we couldn’t get any information about Cheney.”

You mean like this kind of information?

“So what is the risk-benefit of going down that route rather than saying we want to bring the country together so that we could win and continue to win and elect a Democratic President–absolutely essential–and change the economics of America?”

Glad you should ask. The risk of bestoying absolute power on future presidents and vice presidents is complete global catastrophe and the death of hundreds of millions of human beings. The risk of impeaching is that Fox News might call you names or you might lose an election. However, when Democrats led the way against Nixon they won and when they acted as you are during Reagan’s presidency they then lost. Imagine for a minute a Senate trial in which Senator McCain has to defend the crimes of Bush and Cheney. Can you imagine that AND imagine McCain comign anywhere close to winning an election?

“This is going to be a caste system and I carry that burden as well as some more and the rest of it. I carry that responsibility.”


“So my view of it is what is in the interest of unifying the country which–we have a responsibility to do, but to do so in a way that has a progressive economic agenda. And other people just see it as if we want it, we do this then we’re going to win–well, I’m not sure. I have my own–what’s the word I usually use about this–grievances about Democrats who voted for this war. We had a word that there was no intelligence to support an imminent threat to the United States. There was nothing. But when I was running to be Speaker they said, if you go against this war you will never go any place in this party. You’re probably one of thirty-five people going against this war. I told them, I may be the only one but I won’t be voting for this war. I had to oppose many Democrats, including the whip. That was a big deal. And also the Senate voted the wrong way–voted to give him the authority to go to war and use that power when there was absolutely nothing in the intelligence to support the imminent threat that the Administration was claiming…You’ve heard me say this before…when I said that at the time, they said you’re calling the President a liar…I said I’m stating a fact. As it turns out, everybody knew that he didn’t have…and now everyone’s blaming it on the faulty intelligence. It wasn’t there. So in terms of why should he be impeached? Because he took us to war? Well what about these other people who voted for that war with no evidence to tell them that this war? Are they going to be voting with us to impeach the President? Where are these Democrats going to be? Are they going to be voting for us to impeach a President who took us to war on information that they had also?”

It’s good that you are openly admitting that you will not impeach for the gravest offense in US history because members of your party are complicit in it (inluding your own leading of the charge to fund it, lest we forget). But how can you not impeach over the president repeatedly instructing current and former staffers to refuse to comply with subpoenas and contempt citations? How can you not impeach for the president openly announcing through “signing statements” his intention to violate numerous laws and proceeding to violate them? How can you imagine any member of Congress to be complicit in THOSE worse-than-watergate crimes (as if congressional complicity were any sort of excuse anyway)?

“No, no–we have to hold the President accountable and we have had more hearings on accountability. We’ve set a record. But Mr. Waxman has and others, I think, have established a record in the past eighteen months to build whatever we’re going to do next time. There is a record of what they have done in terms of squandering our money. The whole thing.”

Oh, a record! Wow. Thanks. And Congressman Conyers is writing another book. That’ll be sure to deter future tyrants.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: “How do you foresee that record being used?”

Personally, I wouldn’t line a bird cage with it.

Nancy Pelosi: “I think that once we have a new President we can get more information because I think the country deserves the right to know. But we’ll never get the goods on Bush to impeach him until we get the votes from the people who voted for the war, overwhelmingly, and what does that do to the country in light of the fact that the Republicans would have liked nothing better. You know who wanted us to impeach the President…it was the Republicans.”

Not according to the polls. It was, has been, is, and will continue to be more Democrats than Republicans, and a majority of Americans. And polls showed that a majority believed electing a Democratic majority in 2006 would mean impeachment. And we elected a strong majority. We might have elected a stronger one had you joined the Republicans in telling the public that a Democratic majority would bring justice and peace. You fell for a bluff, now know you were had, and still brag about it. That’s a sign of sickness.

“All of that takes the attention away from what is the issue. They are sucking the money out of the middle class to the advantage of the wealthiest people in our country and they would like nobody to be paying attention to that.”

This from the woman who just led the effort to dump hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars into killing people in Iraq and enriching Bush-Cheney cronies.

“You want to go impeach the President, you want to do that…because it’s all about money for them…the money their friends made on this war…the money their friends made getting us to four dollars a gallon at the pump…the transfer of wealth. So put me down as a very liberal progressive economic Democrat. We’re here. I’ll take the barbs, but I’ve got to keep us on course so that we can be a strong, assured, assumed-to-them, Democratic majority–so we can do what we have to do: healthcare, education, fairness and prosperity and let people participate in the prosperity of our country. It’s only a decision and every decision has been made against working families in America and the leverage has been with the wealthy. I mean, these people at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they’ve joined the Wal-Mart club. That is to say, these people make in two weeks even more what it takes a minimum wage earner working full-time for his entire life. Something is very wrong.”

You’re not a progressive, not a liberal, not a democrat, and not upholding your oath of office. Please don’t come back from your book tour. Add more cities. Add more nations. Just please keep touring.

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