A little over a week ago, Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese suggested that Congress ought to seriously consider impeaching Bush and Cheney for what was revealed in the memo. And now Salon has brought together four constitutional scholars to discuss the feasibility of this idea - and they all oppose it.
The Nader-DeLong position has no legs politically because Republicans in the House and Senate -- a majority in both houses, after all -- support the Bush administration's policy. And, because it has no legs politically, it has no legs legally either.Jack Rakove
If you want to impeach the president, you're going to have to win elections. And, of course, if you can do that, you might not have to impeach the president anyway.
Given their reigning uncertainty about how presidents would actually be chosen, it made a great deal of sense to adopt an impeachment clause for a system whose operations were so difficult to predict. The great irony here is that the election system has generally worked much better than the framers envisioned, usually producing decisive and unchallengeable results. The Y2K election that installed George W. Bush in the presidency is, of course, one of a handful of notable exceptions to this rule. The last election, however, was not. An informed electorate made its choice, and for better or worse, we are stuck with the consequences.Michael J. Gerhardt
The case for impeaching Bush cannot be made. Manipulating the impeachment process to undo electoral outcomes with which one disagrees is not the American way. The American way is putting your case before the American people as best you can, and accepting the results as graciously as possible.Cass Sunstein
So too for Bush. In any four-year period, the nation's leader is highly likely to deceive the public on a serious matter at least once -- sometimes inadvertently, sometimes for legitimate reasons, sometimes for illegitimate ones. Of course presidents should not exaggerate evidence, and it's perfectly proper to ask whether Bush got us into war under false pretenses. But there isn't anything close to a sufficient basis for impeachment.So these four scholars think it is completely impractical and unjustified to think of impeaching Bush for intentionally misleading the American public and the United States Congress regarding the need for war and that such talk should cease.
It's obvious that the call for impeachment of Bush is impractical; it's simply a nonstarter, a publicity stunt, reality-free television. But it's also an irresponsible and even nutty idea in principle -- the lunatic left imitating the lunatic right. Can we talk about something else instead?
Just for comparison, I offer you this article published two days after the Clinton-Lewinsky story broke on Drudge
Clinton denies affair with intern, cover-upAnd that, my friends, is the key difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.
21 January 1998
Copyright (c) 1998 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON President Clinton today denied charges that he had an affair with a White House intern and tried to cover it up.
"There is not a sexual relationship," Clinton said in an interview with PBS. "I did not ask anyone to go in there and say something that was not true."
His comment capped a dramatic day in Washington in which word of the expanded investigation topped newcasts, gripped the White House and had Republicans talking of impeachment.
In a stunning twist, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has expanded his wide-ranging Clinton investigation to determine whether the president tried to influence the former intern, Monica S. Lewinsky, 24, about an affidavit Lewinsky gave in the Paula Jones sex harassment lawsuit, her attorney said.
Lewinsky's attorney, William Ginsburg of Los Angeles, said today his client had signed a declaration in the Jones' lawsuit denying she ever had a sexual relationship with the president and still stands by that assertion.
"At this time, she stands by her declaration," the lawyer said. Lawyers for Jones are interviewing others in an attempt to show a pattern of harassment by the president.
Republicans seized on the latest controversy to strike the Clinton White House. House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) said he would wait to see what Starr's investigation turns up, but suggested impeachment proceedings would be an option if the allegations are proven true.