Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Impeachment Update

I know this may seem tiresome, but somebody's got to be the drummer and keep the beat going.  The Wall Street Journal published an article on March 6 pertaining to the impeachment question:
Impeachment Proves Risky Political Issue
Some Democratic Activists Push
Removing Bush From Office,
But Mainstream Steers Clear

March 6, 2006; Page A4

If Democratic candidate Tony Trupiano wins a Michigan House seat this fall, he pledges that one of his first acts will be to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

That has earned Mr. Trupiano the endorsement of ImpeachPAC, a group of Democratic activists seeking to remove Mr. Bush from office. ImpeachPAC's Web site lists 14 candidates offering similar commitments, which are reminiscent of the Republican drive to oust former President Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

But Mr. Trupiano's pledge hasn't much impressed Democratic Party leaders, who are keeping their distance from impeachment talk. They remember how the effort boomeranged on Republicans in the 1998 midterm elections, when Mr. Clinton's adversaries expected to gain House seats but lost ground instead.

"If you are looking for a message to take back the House and the Senate or the White House, there are better ways to go about it," says Democratic communications ace Joe Lockhart, a media aide to Mr. Clinton during the Republican impeachment effort.

That puts mainstream Democrats, on this issue at least, echoing the Republican National Committee. "Voters elect candidates because they understand the issues rather than engage in leftwing fantasies," says RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. It also guarantees tension between some of the party's most fervent members and its electoral strategists, who are directing efforts to recapture Capitol Hill.

Impeachment advocates are undaunted. "Just because you can't win a political battle doesn't mean certain battles shouldn't be fought," says Bob Fertik, a founder of the ImpeachPAC effort. "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." [...]
First of all, the title "Impeachment Proves Risky..." is misleading.  There is no proof that the issue is risky; the author shows only that it is controversial.  Second, the main point seems to be that the fight to impeach Clinton was politically costly for Republicans, thus, arguing by analogy, fighting to impeach Bush might also be risky for Democrats.  However, the graphic in the story indicates that this analogy might not be valid:

Republicans lost face with the public, because the public did not support the impeachment of Clinton.  But a slim majority supports the impeachment of Bush, under the condition that it can be shown that he lied about the rationale for the Iraq war.  There appears to be pretty good evidence that he did exactly that.  Granted, we do not know how well that evidence would hold up under a formal inquiry.  However, I have to believe that if the administration had exonerating evidence to present, it would have done so by now.  After all, the President's approval ratings have been going down like a plumber's snake.