I watched Bush’s press conference in the shiny new press briefing room today. I’m not going to bother going point by point through the inanity. Go watch the video and draw your own conclusions.
At this point, Congress has a duty to rescue our country from the further damage that Bush, unchecked, is clearly going to do over the next year and a half. He’s demonstrated that he’s perfectly willing to use things like commutations (and presumably pardons) to block Congress from uncovering the truth about his Administration’s lawbreaking. With the support of Republican filibusters in the Senate, he’s prepared to veto any measure that seeks to compel him to end the war in Iraq. So it actually becomes a pretty simple formula for Congress. They can muddle around and play the percentages and take money from lobbyists; business as usual. Or they can actually live up to their oaths of office, and their obligations to the people who elected them, and do the following:
- Attach troop withdrawal provisions to every military funding bill. When Bush vetoes, put the pressure on Republicans to join in voting to override. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Bush can stamp his feet and hold his breath until he turns red, but he can’t pay for the war if Congress doesn’t approve the funding. So stop approving the funding. Yeah; he’ll play the patriotism card against you. Let him — and then don’t give him the money.
- Initiate impeachment proceedings against Dick Cheney. You have the votes to pass articles of impeachment in the House. And yeah, you may not have the votes to actually convict him in the Senate. But the trial will make for great theater, and will provide an opportunity to shine a bright light into the dark lair Cheney’s been lurking in the last six and a half years. Make a simple, clear, compelling case against him, and then highlight the vote to convict/not convict by every Republican senator who’s up for re-election in 2008. Can you say “veto-proof majority in both houses?” I knew you could.
- Let’s say you manage to drive Cheney out. Great. Then you do the same thing for Bush.
As far as what to base the impeachments on, sweep it all up. Little things, like the obstruction of justice in the Plame outing investigation. Bigger things, like the warrantless wiretapping of US citizens. The cover-up of White House political involvement in the Justice Department firings. Signing statements. Denial of habeas corpus to Guantanamo captives. Black sites and extraordinary rendition. Violation of the Geneva Conventions. Torture. Knowingly making a false case for war, then pursuing that war with tragic ineptitude. The failure to live up to their oaths of office, in which they swore to preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Yes, Bush has made a career out of deflecting responsibility. Like any criminal, he will behave like a cornered animal, saying and doing whatever he can think of to beat you. And like all good prosecutors, it will be your job to cut through that with actual evidence, to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to the places he doesn’t want you to go.
Maybe you’ll fail, but at least you’ll have gone down swinging.
Get to work. You’re on the clock.
Update: The following made for fun reading: From back in March on The Next Hurrah: Dusting off “inherent contempt”. There’s also a comment from Kagro X at Daily Kos: Is inherent contempt pardonable? And finally from Thomas Nephew’s comment on a posting at Lawyers, Guns and Money: There’s already enough to begin impeachment…
Sigh. Of course, all this would be much more exciting if I lived in an alternate reality where the Democratic majorities in Congress were comprised of patriots, rather than fat cats.
Later update: Oh, and one more from Thomas Nephew: digby, what is the alternative to impeachment?