We all have better ways of spending our time than calling for George W. Bush's impeachment.
Many good friends of mine believe that the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney is now an imperative, and believe Congress should proceed at once with this constitutional corrective to the clear disaster of the current administration.
How could anyone not be in total sympathy with this notion? "Throw the rascals out" is an old American tradition, and Lord knows these guys are rascals - no, they're much worse than rascals. Those of you who have read my continuing stream of commentaries about the Bush/Cheney crowd know full well what my opinions are.
We should all be especially concerned with the trashing of our international reputation under this administration. After the 9/11 attack, we had the full support of the world. Everyone (well, nearly everyone) was ready to join us in tracking down the terrorists who perpetrated that outrage. But the Bush administration quickly squandered this global goodwill and turned it into distrust and downright loathing.
Yes, they have left a serious stain on our good name. A friend of mine, a member of the Italian Foreign Service, wrote to me after the 2004 election. Ricardo reminded me that we'd always joked that while he and many others around the world might disagree with U.S. policies, they still liked us, the people of our country, that they thought we were basically good, if more than a bit naive. But, after the re-election of the Bush administration, that reservoir of good will has disappeared. That makes me very sad indeed.
Yes, these people should go, and the Constitution provides the means of doing so in the act of impeachment.
But I also agree with Speaker Pelosi and my congressman, Dave Obey, that Congress has other, more important issues to address, like ending this war. An action of impeachment would tie up Congress for an indeterminate period of time, as it did when the Republicans went after Bill Clinton. Remember that debacle? Is that really what the electorate voted for last November, more of that? That also might just play into the Bush administration's plans, stalling the withdrawal of troops from Iraq while the impeachment comedy plays out.
And just imagine what the news media in this country would do with it. The network and cable news people, in particular, seem incapable of dealing with more than one story at a time, and, unless something really important happens - like Paris Hilton going to jail or something - we would be inundated with sports metaphors of who's up and who's down, who's for and who's against, blow-by-blow impeachment coverage to the detriment of everything else that might be happening in the world.
I wish that I could believe that impeaching Bush and Cheney would restore our good name internationally, but I can't. Most of the world will simply assume that we've had a putsch, a palace coup to oust the government, like what happens in so-called Third World countries. No, it will take a new government years to bring us back to the level of respect that we once had. There's no shortcut.
Then too, from the standpoint of political reality, there are simply not the votes in the House to advance a bill of impeachment, and it would never fly in the Senate if it ever did get that far. It seems clear that impeachment will never succeed in removing Bush or Cheney. It will cause a serious fracture in the body politic and accomplish nothing. In the meantime, many other important issues will be ignored because of the focus on impeachment. Then too, Bush & Cheney have less than two years left in their terms and it would take all of that time to prosecute the charges.
Isn't it wiser to stand back and watch the rats flee the sinking ship, let the Republicans in Congress come to grips with their declining poll numbers? More and more of them are falling away from support for this administration as the specter of next year's election looms on the horizon. Bush and Cheney will become increasingly isolated and neutralized and incapable of pushing their agenda. And then, of course, Democrats will sweep the 2008 elections, retaking the White House and strengthening control of Congress.
I honestly believe that this will serve our nation better than getting bogged down in an impeachment proceeding that will cause serious divisiveness and will never resolve the issue anyway. We must concentrate on stopping the Bush/Cheney agenda in its tracks and resolving the problems that their administration has created.
May 22, 2007
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John Smart lives in Park Falls, is a member of the Wisconsin Governor's Commission on the United Nations, the board of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools and a frequent guest on Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network.