Impeachment: Winning by Losing

Why not impeach Bush and Cheney and remove them from office?

March 13, 2007 ( — Among those who devoutly wish that these two be separated from their offices, the most prominent reason for resisting impeachment is that even if a bill of impeachment were voted in the House of Representatives, conviction and removal from office by the Senate will almost certainly fail. So why begin an endeavor that is doomed at the start?  So argue such worthy observers as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Randi Rhodes and John Dean.  Until recently, I concurred with this opinion.

These skeptics would have a point if Senate conviction and removal from office were the sole objective and consequence of impeachment, as the Republican regulars and their compliant enablers in the mainstream media would have us believe. Once again, by assuming that removal from office is the be-all and end-all of impeachment, the Democrats and many of their progressive supporters and commentators have carelessly consented to play the GOP game by the GOP rules. They have, as George Lakoff might put it, thoughtlessly adopted their opponents’ “framing” of the impeachment issue. They have, to put it bluntly, been suckered again, as they have all too many times in the past. When will they ever learn?

These Democrats, et al, seem to pay little attention to the potential benefits of an unsuccessful impeachment.  These benefits include the uncovering and publicizing of the Bushevik crimes and the consequent educating of the public.  This would, in turn, lead to the discrediting of the mainstream media and the devastation of the Republican Party,  resulting in a Democratic landslide in the next election. In short, a loss in the Senate trial might be far outweighed by the benefits of the investigations leading up to a House bill of impeachment and the subsequent debate in the Senate trial. A “win” via a loss.

The Republican stalkers of Bill Clinton were well aware that the process of impeachment might well be more significant than the outcome of conviction and removal. After all, the Clinton impeachment was launched with a full expectation that the effort would fail in the Senate. But even so, the House Republicans anticipated that there would be sufficient mischief to be gained by proceeding with a bill of impeachment that they went ahead anyway. What they did not anticipate was that the public at large would be more put-off by the GOP’s partisan shenanigans than by “Slick Willie’s” unrestrained libido.

The Democrats must stop fretting about a likely failure in the Senate and put their eyes on the prize of the results of Congressional investigation, of testimony under oath, and of the unavoidable publicity that would result therefrom. Once the worm-can of Bushevik crimes and treason is opened, those worms will never be re-canned. And who knows, once the high crimes and misdemeanors are exposed to the sunlight of open and public Congressional hearings and debate, the “impossible” Senate conviction just might turn out to be quite possible. After all, all that is required is the defection of seventeen GOP senators. And bear in mind that twenty-two Republican Senators are up for re-election in 2008. They might find themselves very hard-pressed in their re-election campaigns to justify a vote for acquittal.

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