Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Putting Impeachment Back on the Table!

John Nichols, in The Nation, discusses efforts in Vermont to begin impeachment proceedings. Certainly, I need not discuss all the justifications. The only issue seems to be practicality. Nichols explains how local activisits in Vermont are making it practical!

I've defended Speaker Pelosi for "taking impeachment off the table," because it's my belief that her public stance has been both practical and responsible. Impeachment should never be pursued for partisan reasons and it should never look like it's being pursued for partisan reasons! As one who may, at some point, actually be in the position of voting on impeachment, it's important that Speaker Pelosi keep her mind open until there is an official investigative record! As the person second in line to the Presidency, it's even more important that she not be purposely attempting to overthrow an elected (once, anyway) President! That's what the Republicans attempted to do, to President Clinton, and the public saw it for what it was. So, I do believe she's taken the right position, on impeachment. If it ever does come to a vote in the House, she can legitimately explain her vote as being in sorrow rather than anger.

In criticizing Speaker Pelosi, however, Nichols makes an important point:
No section of the Constitution can or should be rendered inoperable by any politician -- even a well-intentioned one.

The Constitution does not belong to the politicians. It belongs to all of us. And the medicines it prescribes for the ailments of the body politic are ours to administer.
He then goes on to explain that Thomas Jefferson believed impeachment would sometimes have to begin at the grassroots level, as a means for the people to reclaim their government. That is why I support the many blogger impeachment ranters. I'm more the pragmatic type, and while I agree that Speaker Pelosi needs be extremely cautious in her public pronouncements, I also believe that we in the grassroots and netroots must demand what we know to be right! We must continue to build a factual case, and we must continue to scream for the justice that factual case necessitates!

So, good citizens of Vermont will gather in town meetings to vote on impeachment, on whether their state legislature should convey articles of impeachment to Congress. As Nichols explains, this is a grassroots means of putting impeachment back on the table. This is a means by which regular citizens of the United States can begin to reclaim their government. As we netheads would put it: it's a means of pushing the Overton Window. As Nichols concludes:
No less an American than James Madison said, after assuring that the Constitution would include a broad authority to sanction members of the executive branch, observed that "... it may, perhaps, on some occasion, be found necessary to impeach the President himself..." The occasion has arrived. The necessary arguments for the impeachment of the president -- and the vice president -- have been identified. That Vermonters are among the first to recognize the circumstance does not surprise us. Rather, it inspires us. This is why we have come: to share in a great democratic moment, and to carry the faith forward to other Americans in other states. It is the faith of the founders, a faith that is being restored by the people of Vermont.
Let's keep our eyes on Vermont. Let's support them. We know the reasons. Let's push the process!

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