Perhaps it comes from living in what may be the last bastion of Communism in the US (Berkeley, CA), but I've been hearing more and more talk of trying to impeach Bush and Dick. Well, as much as I would love to see the two of them having to punk for Big Tony in Cellblock 42, I just don't see this as a practical strategy - in fact, it is so obviously counter-productive that the paranoid in me (the sub-persona
Pope Ulvoh, specifically) wonders if it isn't a setup to distract the radicals from more practical goals.
There seems to be a real misunderstanding about what impeachment means, actually. It isn't some vote to remove the President from office; it is a much more complex process than that, starting with an investigation, then a vote whether to remove protection from prosecution, then
a further investigation, then a vote to indict and prosecute (the actual impeachment), and then finally a trial for the alleged crime. Only if the official in question (not just the President, but any major official, including congressmen, judges, and in more recent times, cabinet members) is actually convicted of 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors' would they be removed from office - and it is possible that a fairly minor crime would be deemed insufficient for actual removal, if I recall some cases involving congressmen correctly.
In other words, you need to convict. This isn't easy, by any means. First off, you need some pretty damning evidence to get the majority of congress members to vote for an investigation, never mind indictment. Finding that evidence isn't going to be easy; anyone canny enough to reach high office isn't going to leave evidence of a crime just lying around, and Bush and Co. are much smarter than most people give them credit for (indeed, they work very hard at looking less intelligent than they really are, precisely to confuse their opponents).
Even hard evidence is going to be a hard sell, as many if not most of them have their own skeletons in their closets, and and would hesitate to do something that might put their own heads in the noose. Remember the Clinton case? That ended primarily because of Larry Flynt's trick of digging up dirt on the prime movers of the of the investigation - just the threat
of scandals was enough to cause several resignations - and Flynt claimed to have (and probably did) enough information to put every single member of both houses, all of the Supreme Court justices, and every major figure in the Clinton Administration in jail for life. When you consider that in light of what I said earlier about how cautious the officials are to hide their actions, it means that there are probably a lot
of 'high Crimes and Misdemeanors' going on.
In other words, you would be asking group of over 500 career criminals to convict one of their own. Not likely.
Finally, the impeachment process itself is a long, drawn out affair, and at this point, it would probably take longer just to finish the initial investigation than Bush will be in office. Why bother, at that point, unless you have something really
extreme to try him for - I'm talking something on the order of getting caught on national television eating babies while selling nuclear secrets to Osama bin Laden. Another reason the Clinton case fell apart was simply that he was already a lame duck at the end of his second term, and many in congress just didn't see the point in pursuing the matter, IIRC.
So, given how unlikely it would be to successfully impeach Bush and
remove him from office, why is this even an issue? No one that I know of has the sort of hard, physical evidence it would take to get a conviction, and most of the people talking about it seem to be basing it on nothing more than Dubya being a big meanie poopoo-head. This isn't the way the game works, folks.
Besides, removing Bush and Cheney would just move power down the ladder, which doesn't really accomplish much; the same basic group would still be in power, and what's more, they would probably be even more determined than before. Much of partisan politics is based on a rather simple-minded, gonad-level 'us versus them' mentality, and this would only confirm that 'the liberals' were out to get them in the minds of most of the 'neo-cons' (just as the Clinton impeachment move convinced many 'liberals' that there was some massive Right Wing Conspiracy against them).
For that matter, does anyone really
think that any of the people on the other side of the fence are any better than those at the top now? News flash: they are all
bastards. The power drive of a high-level Alpha type personality doesn't leave much room for ethics, and it is very rare for any other type to reach high office in the real world.
I guess it's mostly because it is dramatic - it grabs people's attention and enthusiasm, it's something that seems immediate and decisive. But strategically, it's a bad move. At most, it would be a harassment tactic; more likely, it will just drain away resources and support from more practical approaches. But... it's hard to get people behind most of those. Impeachment seems more real to most people than the smaller, more immediate steps than take a lot of work and may not pay off for years, if at all.
Since I'm not inclined favorably towards any
political activity - it is all speciousas far as I'm concerned, and often based on a poor understanding of science, engineering and/or psychology - I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, but it does. There's is just something wasteful about it, I guess.