As the final eleven months of the Bush Administration are being counted off in Washington, the accepted wisdom is that impeachment must be taken off the table. The end is now so close by—what’s the point? Moreover, the American people would, we are told, view it as an act of over zealous partisanship, and would strike back at the polls. But these responses reflect a misunderstanding of the role that impeachment has historically played in the American democracy, and the English roots of impeachment as a constitutional device. They see in impeachment a measure which is purely ad hominem in nature, and avoid the much more important institutional aspect.
I predict that before Bush leaves office, the case for his impeachment will and should be given a more careful hearing. It must not be pursued as a partisan remedy to force a transfer of power. Rather it should be used as an institutional remedy. Polling now shows that a large majority of Americans believe that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have committed serious transgressions against the Constitution which would merit consideration of the impeachment process. Impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney for their attempts to hijack the Constitution would make a clear statement about abuse of power. It would also serve to put reasonable constraints on the conduct of their successors–who are likely to be Democrats. This is a step which genuine Conservatives and Republicans who adhere to their party’s former understanding of a government with an executive of carefully limited and checked powers should welcome and embrace.
h/t: After Downing Street
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