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David Swanson: Impeachment Versus Arianna

Impeachment Versus Arianna

By David Swanson

Joe Scarborough hosted a discussion of impeachment last night on MSNBC. Here's the transcript:

There were four guests, two explicitly labeled as liberals, and two as conservatives. The conservatives were Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan. The liberals were Liz Holtzman and Arianna Huffington.

Holtzman was excellent and made some powerful points.

Arianna crossed over to the dark side.

By that I don't mean that she became a conservative. I mean that she became a commentator at the expense of being a citizen.

Here's her blog after the show:

Arianna says that she agrees with Holtzman that Bush has committed impeachable offenses. But she opposes working toward impeachment because

1--The House has a Republican majority.

2—She'd rather spend energy on "demonstrating to the American public that the president and his party have made us less safe as a country."

3—If Bush were impeached we'd be stuck with President Cheney.

4—She'd rather focus on the elections next November.

But its the role of a spectator, not a citizen, to declare that a majority Republican House cannot impeach a criminal president.

And the most likely way of winning a non-Republican majority would be for Democrats to show people what it would mean to give them control. When 85 percent of Democratic supporters want impeachment, fighting for impeachment now would be a smart electoral move. Voters will see that as sticking up for what's right rather than rolling over. Only pundits will see it as foolishly futile.

The majority of Americans and the vast majority of Democrats already know that Bush has made us less safe, already oppose the war, already say the war was based on lies. What most of them very strongly want to know is: What the hell are the Democrats going to do about it? As Steve Cobble has already blogged on HuffingtonPost, in a low-turnout election, you have to provide a dramatic reason for people to bother to vote. The creation of an opposition party willing to impeach would be that reason.

But then there's Cheney. These are my top five reasons to stop worrying about Cheney for godsake:

1. Cheney is running the show now backstage. We'd be better off with him up front as a walking advertisement for voting against Republicans.

2. Impeachment and removal from office are two separate things, one of which has never been done in U.S. history. The Republicans destroyed what was left of a Democratic Party by impeaching Clinton. They did not remove him from office.

3. An investigation into impeachment, as well as proposals for censure, serve an educational and political purpose in themselves and move us toward impeachment. Let's stop jumping five steps ahead of ourselves in order to fantasize about defeat. Let's demand what's right and then benefit politically from having done so. Get the cart out of the way of the donkey!

4. It is impossible to investigate Bush or Cheney without incriminating the other.

5. If you cannot impeach for the highest crime imaginable, taking the nation to war on the basis of lies, then you can never impeach, or impeachment must be reserved for sex. It is the duty of every citizen to demand what is right and just. It is disgraceful to declare that you know it is right but to argue that you're too clever a strategist to act on it.


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