AlterNet talks to Michael Ratner about Impeaching George W. Bush:
Public shaming and the threat of legal action often work to keep politicians in line. But President Bush is vocally disinterested in the public’s approval of his agenda. Furthermore, he views the law, as evidenced by torture and detainee litigation, as mutable suggestion. For such a president, legal recourse is largely ineffectual -- unless Americans and Congress reclaim the power of the law to remove the offending parties.There is a good strong debate in the comments to this AlterNet piece too, by the way.
As Ratner told AlterNet, "While our battles against illegal wiretaps and Guantanamo are critical for trying to get back legality, until we get rid of what I consider a criminal administration, we will not be able to go back to even a semblance of civil liberties and human rights."
The Articles of Impeachment make clear that this is no longer just about President Bush. Rather, it is about preventing the executive branch from obtaining carte blanche to disregard the two other branches of government. This is a paradigm shift that has already gained substantial footing through this administration's steady erosion of legal precedent.
There is no shortage of diligent documentation of this president's violation of laws and misleading of the public -- from the 1,284-page Torture Papers to congressman John Conyers' 273-page compilation [PDF] of the lies leading to the Iraq war. But behind this incredible ongoing compendium of evidence against President Bush lurks the realization that publicly pointing to criminal behavior is not synonymous with bringing it to an end.
It is the ultimate case of missing the forest for the trees. Behind this massive body of evidence, behind each new report of this president’s transgressions of the law, is the threat of the one and only story that Americans will read for the rest of this presidency, and presidencies to come: The abuse of power, and the destruction of our Constitution.
As Ratner notes, "We need to be as radical as reality, and reality right now is very, very radical." Indeed, after reading through the Articles of Impeachment, readers will find that the only thing radical about impeaching this president is simply that it has not yet happened.
The Wall Street Journal also covers impeachment, looking at the political down-side of Democrat calls for impeachment before the November mid-term elections. There are currently 14 candidates listed on ImpeachPAC's Web site who have pledged to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush. But senior Democrats are reluctant to chime in just yet, recalling how calls for clinton's impeachment backfired on GOP candidates in 1998.
A House resolution offered by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan seeking an initial impeachment inquiry has attracted support from just 26 of 201 House Democrats. Even Mr. Conyers, the ranking Judiciary Committee Democrat, allows, "This isn't something we have to do right away."But this scenario really is nothing like the over-inflated Clinton impeachment case. As Bob Fertik says:
"Just because you can't win a political battle doesn't mean certain battles shouldn't be fought. If we don't hold a president accountable for lying to start a war, we might as well throw out the Constitution of the United States."By way of example, here's a picture you probably thought you would never see in a US newspaper:
Add that to the latest Harpers cover and things are looking up... a bit ... maybe.