11 July 2007

Impeach who?

Matthew Yglasias performs the thought experiment.
The fact remains, however, that impeaching and convicting Bush means, in practice, only that Dick Cheney becomes President. In a weird way, it was the very trumped-up and trivial nature of the charges against Clinton that made impeachment plausible—replacing Bill Clinton with Al Gore really would have had a material impact on the quantity of tomcatting in the executive branch. Removing Bush doesn't accomplish anything. I suppose you could impeach Cheney, and then impeach Bush before confirming a new vice president, and then Nancy Pelosi becomes president. And that, of course, is going to get 67 votes in the Senate sometime after they establish congressional representation for flying pigs.

UPDATE: I don't think the “impeach Cheney" option makes much sense, though public support for it is quite strong. The problem is that the VP doesn't have any independent legal authority from the President. If Bush delegates authority to Cheney, and Cheney uses that power in an illegal manner, then either Bush needs to hold Cheney accountable for that, or else congress and the public need to hold Bush accountable. Having the buck stop with Cheney creates a terrible set of forward-looking incentives.

The thing to do is to impeach Bush and Cheney on a dual docket and have Nancy Pelosi and Robert Byrd both say that they would decline the presidency in the event of a dual vacancy (they can even note that many scholars think putting members of congress in the line of succession is unconstitutional anyway), thus making Secretary of State Rice the heir apparent, in order to demonstrate a lack of partisan motivation.

You're still left with the problem that this is only getting the requisite votes in fantasyland, but I think it's a perfectly cogent political agenda.

Still, in my position as a blogger, I say: Impeach Bush. Impeach Cheney. Do it now.

3 comments:

Hecate said...

Lawn sign in my yard:

Impeach them both.

We need to do this to show future would-be-emperors what will happen to them

Sharon said...

After I watched the video of Bill Moyers Journal with his guests John Nichols and Bruce Fein, I sent the following email, followed up with a letter, to Pelosi, Conyers, Leahy (with appropriate changes), and my Congressman. (Lieberman is my senator, and I decided not to waste the bandwidth.)

==================

It's long past time for impeachment hearings to begin against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. This White House has overreached its Constitutional authority in matters both foreign and domestic. You and I, and all the Congress and all the American people, know full well the extent of their high crimes and misdemeanors, and I will not enumerate them in this letter. They took an oath, as did you, to the Constitution. No one has taken an oath to George W. Bush, contrary to the slip of the tongue uttered by former aide Sara Taylor in her appearance this week.

You took an oath to the Constitution, and if you do not begin impeachment hearings, you will be violating that oath just as surely as have Bush and Cheney. The Founding Fathers included the tool of impeachment because they knew from first hand experience the
inevitable result of unchecked executive power. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Impeachment hearings are the cure.

Do your duty. Put the Constitution before Party, before winning the
next election, and before personal ambition. Begin impeachment
hearings.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about H Res 333? I urge you and your readers to take a few minutes to look at:

http://www.usalone.com/cgi-bin/transparency.cgi?paper=1&qnum=pet45

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. Comments can be sent to elected representatives and local newspapers at your option. The participation page is at:

http://www.usalone.com/cheney_impeachment.php

Since this campaign began, several members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents. Has yours? Make your voice heard, and let others know!