Monday, January 8, 2007

The Legacy of Not Having Impeached Richard Nixon

This president, in the face of united and complete disagreement with his policies, in an atmosphere where he enjoys absolutely no support either nationally of internationally, refuses to change any aspect of his failed policy. What the hell can be done with a man like that?

Impeachbushposter_1 There is a rather broad coalition of the angry across the nation, fairly salivating over the possibility of impeaching George Walker Bush. I am not among them. The assassination or impeachment of presidents is outrageous to the minds of Americans who cherish our willingness to accept differences, to mediate between disparate opinions and to slog on through the difficulties of governance.
Having said that, there are limits.
Slogging through doesn’t admit a temperament of indefinitely sitting on our hands while the national body politic is ravaged. The time has come to bring the principal executives of the nation before the law; certainly George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld; probably David Addington, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice as well.
Nixonbush_1 A scant 40% of Americans survive who remember the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Nixon resigned rather than stand before that humiliation and we, along with then president Gerald Ford, made the mistake of letting him off the hook. It was perhaps understandable. Up to that time we hadn’t much experience with seriously devious, paranoid and crooked presidents. Then, much like now, the nation was raging over an endless and unwinnable war.
The mistake was not warning future presidents, by our actions, that the American Constitution was not only a document they swore to uphold, but one to be feared as well. We are, because of that document, a nation of law. Letting slip the nation’s most visible defender of that law, the president, is to denigrate and trample the principal of our equality under law. If we are not equal, we are nothing. If we allow ourselves inequality, then the whole precept of our nation under law comes tumbling down.
Cheneyrumsfeldyoung_1 It is alarmingly coincident to the Nixon avoidance of prosecution that it spawned two lawless mentalities, each of whom worked in that failed administration--Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. They are the long expected “what goes ‘round comes ‘round” of the Nixon legacy. Urging-on a weak and desperately unconfident President Bush, they bring us to another national moment that tests who we are as a nation. That moment tests who we will be to future generations of Americans as well.
Our international reputation is also being measured, but I set that aside as an (almost) irrelevant argument, because this is an American moment.
Elizabethholtzman_1 Elizabeth Holtzman, former congresswoman, Harvard Law School graduate and member of the House Judiciary Committee that brought about Articles of Impeachment against former President Richard Nixon, recently put the Bush situation in remarkable perspective;
   
"The constitution doesn't require the minimum. It requires the maximum. We can't have a president of the United States who puts himself above the rule of law if we want to continue with this democracy. That's it. No ifs ands or buts. The fact that we have checks and balances does not mean that we are not obliged to remove the person who threatens our democracy from the presidency."
Maryann Mann writes in OpEd News.com;
  Yet, on November 15th – eight days following the Democratic victory – John Conyers sent an email to supporters telling them that proceedings of impeachment are now "off the table." Newly appointed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., is in public agreement with Conyers, declaring the potential proceedings "a waste of time."
    But where is the opposition? The force of electoral frustration which surged Democrats into power November 7th seems filled with the very opposition the Democratic Party itself lacks. Indeed, come January, if Conyers and Pelosi hold fast, the 110th Congress will allow the criminal precedents of Bush/Cheney to escape reproach without ever being held to account.
Nancypelosi2_2 By whose definition does Nancy Pelosi determine a Bush impeachment to be a ‘waste of time?’ How dare she determine that an administration that has ransacked the laws of the nation, whose leader continues to wreak havoc as a majority of one, is beyond the boundaries of law?
This administration (knowingly and deviously)
  • lied us into a war that has multiplied our exposure to terrorism by a factor of ten;
  • aided and abetted a wholesale waste and fraud among war zone contractors;
  • made a revolving door at the Pentagon and in the field, among generals who disagreed with their war strategy;
  • closed off the avenues of ‘advice and consent’ that constitutionally belong to the Congress
  • and (by signing statements) rewrote congressional laws to suit themselves and their purposes.
Bushgrimace_1 This president, in the face of united and complete disagreement with his policies, in an atmosphere where he enjoys absolutely no support either nationally of internationally, refuses to change any aspect of his failed policy. What the hell can be done with a man like that? The nation, his generals, his own party as well as the opposition keep telling him they don’t want what he (and he alone) insists upon and, like a recalcitrant child, he doesn’t get it.
Reluctantly, but insistently, we must hold his feet to the fire.
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