IMPEACH BUSH?….Elizabeth Holtzman has a cover story in The Nation this week called “The Impeachment of George W. Bush.” Here’s her case:
Bush illegally approved the NSA’s surveillance of calls between al-Qaeda suspects overseas and persons inside the United States without getting a FISA warrant.
He spun the evidence for WMD and deceived the country into supporting the war in Iraq.
There is evidence that “suggests” that Bush “may have” authorized detainee abuse.
I gotta be honest: this strikes me as pretty weak brew. By my count, based on Holtzman’s criteria, the following recent presidents would also have been in acute danger of impeachment: Hoover, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton. I’ve provisionally left out Ford and Carter, but I’m open to arguments that they ought to be on this list too.
Still, logic aside, I suppose the argument in favor of running articles like this is that they’re good for getting the base riled up, and a riled-up base is what Democrats desperately need. But is that true? We had a pretty riled-up base in 2002 and 2004 and it didn’t seem to do the trick.
But perhaps times have changed. After all, George Bush’s approval ratings are in the low 40s these days, not the high 50s, and maybe the country is finally ready for a tub thumping campaign against our commander in chief (though please spare me the “evidence” of childishly contrived polls like this one). Maybe.
I guess I’m still skeptical, though, and the limpness of the Alito confirmation hearings is why. John Aravosis tries to pin the blame for this on the Democratic establishment, arguing that “Heads need to roll. ROLL.” But guess what? Senate Dems pretty much followed the script favored by the blogosphere. Strip searches? Check. Membership in CAP? Check. Abortion rights in danger? Check. Imperial presidency? Check. This was the activist case against Alito, and it failed miserably. Maybe heads do need to roll, but we’d better have some better ones at hand before we haul out the guillotine and commence our knitting.
Personally, I’d like to see us warm up by actually winning a midterm election before we get too excited about impeaching George Bush. In addition to a coherent position on national security, maybe some good old fashioned populist business bashing would do the trick. Highlight the thousands of payoffs to Republican donors that have been written into law during the past five years of GOP legislation; tie it all in to Jack Abramoff and the K Street Project; and just tar the hell out of insurance companies while we’re at it. I think they’d make a great target, and it might even soften up the ground for universal healthcare in some happy-but-not-too-distant future.
Anyway, consider this an open thread for random vituperation. What’s your preference: ringing calls for impeachment or an actual electoral strategy?