Yes, it was gratifying to see House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) literally speak truth to power for eight hours on Wednesday in defense of the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Pelosi’s words were surely scorned by the soulless forces who control the GOP, but those who recognize the repugnance of deporting the Dreamers were comforted by Pelosi’s speech.
Pelosi’s marathon oratory will be remembered for its courage; still, we can’t forget the time when Pelosi lacked the courage to run the moral marathon of holding George W. Bush accountable for his iniquity in Iraq.
We can never forget the heartbreak of Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan as she urged Pelosi to pursue impeachment in 2007, a plea that Pelosi blithely dismissed. By refusing to make any effort to hold Bush’s feet to the fire, Pelosi effectively left Sheehan and the families of those who needlessly perished in Iraq behind. Since then, those whose loved ones were slain for sophistry have been prisoners of a psychological war, their emotional wounds left untreated as the man responsible for their pain enjoys the benefits of a rehabilitated image.
Pelosi’s failure of will in 2007 was nothing short of shameful, the biggest let-’em-get-away-with-it since Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974. What if Pelosi becomes House Speaker again, only to have another failure of will?
Ten years ago this June, then-Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) spent nearly five hours on the House floor making the case for the impeachment of George W. Bush. Interviewing George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley about the doomed Kucinich effort, then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann observed:
I‘ve often argued here that even if you think the words aren‘t going to lead to any action, say the words anyway, simply to get them on the record for history, and simply because nothing has ever changed from bad to good in this country without somebody first saying: this is bad…
Obviously, 1868 and Andrew Johnson, there were constitutional issues but that was a political box that he was squeezed into, various laws came by that said he couldn‘t dismiss anybody who worked basically for the government. He violated those laws, they impeached him. He was kind of set up even though he probably was not a very good president.
Clearly, the Clinton impeachment, whatever legalities were involved in that, that was to some degree a setup, too. This is different in that it‘s a political issue again, but it‘s not the politics of impeaching somebody, it‘s the politics of not impeaching somebody who seems to clearly constitutionally deserve it.
In response, Turley noted:
The Democrats know that they can retain the Congress if they just let this guy, you know, sort of ripen on the vine. And they are afraid that there could be a backlash if they try to impeach. But of course, that‘s literally all politics and no principle. They took an oath in the House of Representatives. And the most important thing they have to do as House members is to stand firm in the face of presidential crimes.
And I think history will be very, very severe, not just for Speaker Pelosi, but all of the Democrats, of how they could let this come to pass where they stood silent and did nothing in the face of such a compelling criminal record.
If the Democrats win the House and Senate, and move to impeach him in the House, is it a guarantee that he will be removed in the Senate? Of course not. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll be alive tomorrow either. The point is that Trump’s molestation and assault of our Constitution cannot be allowed to go on without prosecution, even if a conviction isn’t guaranteed. A Democratic House and Senate can’t let this sickness go on as though it’s just business as usual. Someone must try to put a stop to this madness. They may not succeed, but damn it, they’ve got to try.