John Nichols: "The Founding Fathers wanted us to use impeachment."
He was just on the Randi Rhodes show, and suggested we do the following (one of my usual transcripts via quick note-taking, so it's paraphrased but includes some actual quotes). Emphases are his. If any of this sounds "off", it just means I wasn't writing fast enough:
Find the United States Constitution on line. Got it? Now hit "control" and "F" on your computer and type in "impeachment". It's in there, right there in the Constitution. Six times.There you go. I must have looked like an idiot sitting in my car in 90 degree heat parked in front of Long's Drugstore madly taking notes on a tiny purple Post-It pad. But then again, why should today be different?
You know what isn't in there? God, corporations, political parties, state religion, caucuses....zero.
The founding fathers were concerned that the founding impulse of this republic should be to get rid of kings and queens and place power in the people, that they run the country, not royalty. A term of office wasn't sacrosanct. Everyone is expendable.
Impeachment was "a medicine to be put in the federal medicine cabinet to be used as a remedy."
Politics must be put aside if we are to end Bush's presidency. Without impeachment, Bush's rules will continue to define the presidency from this point forward. Impeachment is vital to maintain the republic. The next president(s) will use those powers, despite their initial well-intentioned protests to the contrary.
If a Democratic president exercised one tenth of the power that Cheney has, Republicans would impeach.
And what grounds are there to impeach?
When Alberto Gonzales is impeached, it will continue right up to Bush and Cheney. Bush was at one of those meetings on the U.S. Attorney firings. This implicates him, and therefore will lead to his own impeachment.
- Checks and balances are in the Constitution "to chain the dogs of war". This meant sharing of information between the president and Congress. Without it, we have an impeachable offense and one that the founders intended.
- Included in the Bill of Rights is protection against spying. This is less about the FISA Act being ignored than the Bill of Rights being violated.
- No one in the custody of the United States is subject to torture or cruel and unusual punishment. Violating the Geneva Convention is secondary to violating the 8th amendment.
- The Valerie Plame matter and politicizing the U.S. Attorneys: Bush and Cheney used their power to advance their own power and politicize.