A ‘get out of jail free card’ for lame ducks?

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I've been skeptical of the calls to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney, fearful that acting this late in their terms will create a circus that overshadows the question of who will succeed them in January.

David Swanson, of Democrats.com, ImpeachCheney.org, and AfterDowningStreet.org, will surely disagree when he speaks in Milwaukee Thursday, sponsored by Iraq Moratorium and others. His topic is, "Peace, Impeachment and Election Day: Which Comes First." Swanson's own writings make a strong case for impeachment.

Dennis Kucinich, who read his 35 articles of impeachment against Bush into the record on C-Span the other night, clearly thinks there are more than enough grounds to impeach.

But the person who may convince me that it's time to act is a conservative Bush backer, a Marquette University professor and blogger named John McAdams.

McAdams lives in fear that a Barack Obama administration might prosecute Bush or others for crimes they may have committed while in office, based on this statement from Obama:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that’s already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can’t prejudge that because we don’t have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You’re also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.

You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I’ve said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law — and I think that’s roughly how I would look at it.

That seems pretty straightforward. If someone "knowingly, consciously broke existing laws" they should be prosecuted. You'd think a law and order Republican would have no trouble with that concept.  

But McAdams is horrified, somehow twisting that to say this:

Let’s see: a party loses an election. Members of that party are put on trial by the new regime, and punished for this or that supposed “crime.”

What kind of government is that? Not a democracy.

I'm not a political science professor (he is). But a system where no one is above the law sounds very much like a democracy to me.

The alternative is to give Bush, Cheney and others in their administration a pass — a "get out of jail free" card. If we were to issue that now, regardless of what they might do in the seven months they still have in office, they'd have free rein to operate outside the law.

Kucinich, Swanson and others would argue they've been operating that way all along.

Like Obama, I'm not persuaded that impeachment is the route to take. But if the choice were between impeachment and letting them off the hook no matter what they do, it would be an easy decision.

Fortunately, that's not the case. Investigating and prosecuting criminal violations is still an option, and one Obama must keep open.

What do you think John McCain would say about it? Perhaps someone should ask.

Swanson speaks at 7 p.m. Thursday in Room 001 of Cudahy Hall, 1313 W. Wisconsin Ave., on the Marquette campus. Admission is free. Parking in the Wells Street ramp.

It’s the same campus where McAdams teaches.  Maybe he’ll show up.


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  1. As we all know the list of offenses by GWB and his administration is extremely long.  Impeachment strips away the “executive privilege” that is covering the whole truth and also may keep the bloodthirsty, chicken-hawk, warmongering sadist from bombing and/or invading Iran.

  2. … like a slime.  Wants to have it both ways.

    Swanson is probably nervous that his brand of thinking is falling out of fashion.  And it should.

  3. I watched as much of Kucinich’s testimony as I could, and have been following this subject all along.

    Nixon deserved to be impeached.  Clinton…not so much.

    But Chimpy and Cheney!  They lied and lied and lied with malice aforethought…and then they lied some more.

    Did they know they were lying?  Yes.  The evidence is clear.  Did they knowingly and willingly commit high crimes and misdemeanors?  Yes: the evidence is impeachably clear.

    They should be on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity.  I will settle for their asses handed to me on a platter…and, oh yeah, how ’bout them millions of dollars just sort of lost in Iraq when nobody was looking…shouldn’t somebody bear some blame for that, as well as Blackwater, as well as KBR and Halliburton, as well as all the crimes committed against our nation (Hurricane Katrina, anybody)?

    Hang ’em by their toenails and cut off their balls!

    {sigh}  Okay, that’s not the Buddhist thing to do. {SIGH}  OTOH, it is the Xtian thing to do!  And they all claim to be Xtians!  Can we stone them NOW?

  4. …we have allowed gross abuse of power to occur in the Executive Branch without accountability and consequence, the abuse only becomes greater the next time around.

    Let’s start with Nixon.  He was impeached.  Then he was immediately pardoned and went on to live a virtually normal life without consequence or impediment.  

    Skip about a decade.  Reagan comes in and sees there was really no deleterious effect on Nixon’s life from his abuse of Executive power, and Reagan then takes abuse of power to the next order of magnitude with Iran Contra, violation of the Boland Amendment, death squads in Central America, bombing Nicaragua’s harbor, etc.  But noone was really held accountable.  A couple of lesser persons were convicted, but again rapidly pardoned, and some (Eliot Abrams, for example) even hold positions in the current Administration.  Again, no consequences for gross malfeasance, violations of the Constitution and other acts of lawlessness.

    Skip forward another decade, and we have little georgie bushie, whose crimes appear to be far more egregious than his two predecessors, by many orders of magnitude; he takes executive abuse of power where it has never been before.

    One can only imagine what the next megalomaniac installed in that office might do in the name of executive privilege.

    No, we cannot allow this precedent to stand.  We must roll it back.  

    When Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table, she took JUSTICE off the table.  

    It is up to us, “we the people,” and our congressional representatives to put Justice back on the table.

    This, in my opinion, is why Impeachment is not only important,it is imperative.  

  5. of every correctional facility in the United States.

    Bring on the Mad Max road warrior dystopian future that is surely in the imminent future.

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