Pushing for Impeachment: Worthwhile, or a Waste of Time?

Tomorrow, there's an event intended to promote the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. From 7-9 p.m. at First Unitarian, they'll hold a "National Impeachment Teach-in".

Next week, at Portland City Hall on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., a group of citizens will encourage Portland's city council to pass a resolution calling for impeachment.

So, here's the question for BlueOregon readers: Given that it's highly unlikely that today's Republican-led Congress would even consider articles of impeachment, is it a waste of time to focus on impeachment right now? Or are these activities a worthwhile organizing principle?

Discuss.

(And please, if you're a Bush supporter, don't bother trolling this thread. You'll just get in the way of a healthy disagreement among lefties. You don't want to get caught in the crossfire, right?)

Comments

  • Dan J (unverified)
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    Is First Unitarian a non-profit?

  • (Show?)

    God bless the First Unitarian Church.

    I wish the Portland City Council had the power to impeach POTUS and VPOTUS, but then your heads would explode as Potter v. Francesconi and other such races got even more important to more people than they already are.

    Have fun at the rally (is there ice cream?), but remember that it's all for nothing unless you ditch your loser of a junior US Senator.

  • edison (unverified)
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    Absolutely "a worthwhile organizing principle". And of course today's Republican leadership in Congress won't suffer such seditious shenagians, yet, the very act of understanding how the process is conducted and the articles framed is empowering. November can change everything. Teach-in info: http://articlesofimpeachment.net/ More about the city presenters here: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/12613

  • jami (unverified)
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    worthwhile. he's a terrible president who lies and cheats and swears and kills people and says jesus told him to do it. i don't particularly want a cheney presidency (same story minus jesus), but if dubya goes unpunished, how will republicans ever learn (again!) that corruption is not okay with good americans?

    i personally put more energy into changing congress in '06, but i support the impeachment folks. it's not either/or.

  • KISS (unverified)
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    This is way too premature. Let us wait till we see who is elected and how the numbers pan out. Time to concentrate on electing Real non-Lieberman types. Than maybe city councils from near and a far would have some clout.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    I think that in this part of the State, the Republicans have succeeded in making “divisiveness” such a dirty word (even though they are the cause of 90% of it) that one more divisive issue just reinforces them, and puts more blame on Democrats for being divisive.

    I therefore think it would be a terrible strategic mistake to go for impeachment now, or even talk about it now. The President already has low poll numbers, and so do most Republicans. We don’t need a sledge hammer to do the work of a lesser tool, say a nice sharp knife. If we use a sledge hammer, we will only get splattered by the blood.

    What we can win on is the war, health care, and jobs.

  • (Show?)

    I think this will prove to be a useful organizing tool and good for those who feel they need to vent. It will also serve to illustrate just how pissed off some folks are (though we'll see how much media play it actually gets...).

    However, as to its effectiveness, I think there is no chance the House is going to begin impeachment proceedings while Rs control the House. Furthermore, even if the Ds take over in 2007, I think it's still a questionable political move. I'm not really excited about running against a sitting President Frist (or whoever) who wouldn't have even been in office long enough for people to get to know (and loathe) him. At this point, I say "better the devil you know..."

  • (Show?)

    Sorry, I'm not sure that post is clear. The event is being held AT the First Unitarian - but I don't believe it's organized by them. Nonprofits can certainly rent their space to anyone they want.

    (And, btw, I'm not sure they can't organize the event too -- the restriction on political activity relates specifically to 'electioneering' not talking about issues. In any case, I'm no lawyer so this isn't legal advice.)

  • (Show?)

    It's a terrible idea. What we want is not the impeachment of Bush, but his investigation. Democrats should be focused on trying to get congressional hearings going. The main problem with Bush isn't that he's a crappy, incompetent President, or even that he's abused his Constitutional authority--it's that the Congress haven't exercised their own authority. We should call for the Oregon delegation to hold hearings, not impeach Bush.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)
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    You'd be amazed at the amount of Liberterian-leaning Republicans who would like to see this guy impeached. In fact, I would be willing to vote for Democrats across the board if they had the balls to impeach him after taking Congress. I would, however, be upset if Democrats took Congress and decided not to impeach him. Domestic surveillance is not okay. We need to let Bush and our future would-be leaders know this. The very foundation of democracy crumbles if we let him get away with it.

  • goptroller (unverified)
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    So... better question.. should we have impeached that war criminal from Tejas in the 60s named LBJ? You know, the one who started a pointless war that killed 50k American soldiers and who knows how many Vietnamese? You lefties couldn't be LESS objective if you tried. No matter who your leader is, you'll always rationalize how his ills are somehow outweighed by his "righteous causes" that he trumpets. All this impeachment talk is nothing more than preaching to the choir. Yes, Bush is unpopular. He may not be very smart. But somehow, someway, your boys failed to win the election. In 2000, Gore, the incumbent in the White House, lost his HOME STATE. How embarrassing. Kerry, the alleged war hero, had the advantage of the so called "quagmire" in Iraq and the failure to capture Osama to rail on about, not to mention Dubya's "duh" factor and still your boy couldn't win. If I were a Democrat, maybe I'd be screaming "impeach him!"... it must really smart to know that the American people could be so dumn and unedyacayted to vote for Dubya. Shouldn't have even been close, right? Sour grapes, people, sour grapes... you're all sore losers!

  • Mister T (unverified)
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    Hell yeah!

    Let's show the rest of the country we're just as fringe-left as Vermont! Why let other people marginalize Portland when we can do it ourselves?

    It's not like we need anything from the Executive Branch of government:

    -EPA waiver on clean water regulations (cryptosporidium filtration) -Funding for new bridges (Interstate, Sellwood) -Air National Guard base -Homeland Security funding

    And what possible harm could it do? Who cares if America's enemies may believe that Bush is weak; it's not like the "American Street" is firing AK-47's into the air hungry for blood. Remember, every individual interprets the news through the prism of their own experience and cultural reality.

  • (Show?)

    GOPtroller--when LBJ fucked up, he had the sense to realize it, and quit. If GDub wants to do the same, I'll be in the front row applauding his courage.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    "Is First Unitarian a non-profit?"

    "...I'm not sure they can't organize the event too -- the restriction on political activity relates specifically to 'electioneering' not talking about issues...

    Interesting question. The event is described above as "intended to promote the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice Presdient Dick Cheney." That's clear enough. So, does a 501(c)(3) entity run a risk in hosting such an event? Maybe.

    According to the IRS, the prohibited activies fall into two broad categories, Legislative (Lobbying) Activities and Political (Candidate) Activities.

    George Bush is no longer (forever) a political candidate, so that one's out. However, to impeach the Prez requires Congress to issue Articles of Impeachment. One could argue quite successfully that an event intended to influence Congress to issue such Articles falls into the category of Legislative Activities.

    Whether First Unitarian has crossed (or will cross) that line is fact-specific. Did the church rent the space at fair market value, or donate it in-kind? Is the event an "educational forum" open to the public, including those with opposing views who are given equal access and time? (I doubt it).

    Interesting question, though. Almost as interesting as the seminal question which asked if trying to impeach Bush and Cheney in 2006 is a waste of time.

    • Wes
  • Chris (unverified)
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    As long as GW can get a pardon from Cheney, impeachment is just a waste of time.

    I think GW should be sued in civil court instead.

  • Concerned Citizen (unverified)
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    I find it odd that most of the comments here fail to focus on the issues, or rather the crimes, of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The crimes are clear and ongoing.

    1) illegal domestic spying in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the 4th Amendment; 2) misleading the country into a war of aggression in Iraq based on fraudulent claims; 3) indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition, and torture; 4) abuse of executive authority and subversion of the Constitution.

    To fail to speak against these crimes, when their intent is to subvert our democracy to advance the idea of the "unitary executive," would be disastrous. Speaking of impeachment need not be partisan, it is seeking to use the constitutional safeguard to advocate for the investigation and prosecution of a crime. Citizens or politicians who avoid impeachment for their wrongfully conceived tactical benefit let our democracy, our Constitution, and the rule of law continue to slip away.

  • Chuck Paugh (unverified)
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    With the growing Republican contingent in Portland and the growing list of Portland area Democrats more concerned with their own political careers than the future of the city, this resolution will not pass the Portland city council.

    These politicians fear their names being attached to such a resolution and the resulting investigation by the FBI with results leaked to local Republicans to use against these Democrats in future elections.

  • Dean (unverified)
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    Not long ago, very few people would even utter the word "impeachment". Bush/Cheney got a free ride and remained unaccountable for a long time while they trashed this country. But gradually more and more people began to realize how corrupt, criminal, and unaccountable BushCo is. Every time another group calls for impeachment it encourages others to break through their denial and admit to themselves that our leaders lie to us, the war is wrong, and that the administration is subverting the constitution. Someone has to shout "The emperor has no clothes!" We can do that by advocating fearlessly for impeachment. BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. This is no time to be timid.

  • dyspeptic (unverified)
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    Even if there is no hope of getting it through Congress, I believe that it is vitally important for us to record for history Bush's gross and shameless violations of his oath to obey the law and defend the Constitution, and to record our indictments of his assaults on the Bill of Rights. We have an obligation to future Americans to breathe as best we can on the coals of the Framers' vision. Elsewise, we have nothing to leave to future generations but our impotent sorrow.

  • Mister T (unverified)
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    An IRS challenge to their non-profit status would be a badge of honor for the First Unitarian Church. Can you imagine a better fundraising letter?

    "The Bush IRS has threatened our non-profit status for witnessing the truth"

    "Free Speech protections don't apply to members of this congregation"

    "If the IRS has let Jerry Falwell pursue his agenda beyond the pulpit, why can't First Church?"

  • Dan (unverified)
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    No way should Bush be impeached. Impeachment proceedings should only be reserved for REALLY grievous misdeeds...like getting a blow job in the Oval Office... :/

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)
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    I couldn't agree with Concerned Citizen, Dean and Dyspeptic more. Whether we can successfully bring about impeachment now is not as important as the constantly growing demand that they (Bush and Cheney) be held accountable and tried for their "high crimes and misdemeanors".

    These guys have no respect for the constitution, democracy, freedom or the value of human life (other that their own). We need a groundswell of public awareness and outcry to influence congress and throw them out or put them away. If we keep hammering, more people will jump on the bandwagon and congress will respond and so will the voters in November.

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    I don't doubt both of them deserved to be tossed on their heads for what they've done. However, realistically I don't believe impeachment is possible. Since the Democrats do not control either the House or the Senate, it's pretty much moot point.

    What we should focus on is:

    1) An investigation and holding them responsible

    2) The general election this fall

    Right now we are stuck with a long term strategy of trying to make things right. In the short term I can't see things changing.

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)
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    I've got plenty of focus to do all those things at once. I don't think we need an investigation to keep the ball rolling. They've done almost all their crimes blatantly , IN OUR FACE.

  • goptroller (unverified)
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    You moonbats are freakin hillarious! Okay... here's your recipe for impeaching Bush:

    1) Depose Lieberman 2) Win back Congress. Pretty tall order... GOP controls 30 more seats in House, 11 more in Senate.

    So long as the GOP owns Congress all your fuming, ranting and raving is for naught. Put all that energy into generating ideas that will cause people to vote for your party. Short of that, you'd be better off humping a tree than trying to impeach Bush. Majority rules.. ain't it a bee-YACH! Don't you just love Flyover Country????!!!!

  • (Show?)

    Would somebody please give Bush a blow job so we can impeach him.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with those who say investigation is more important than impeachment. Impeachment is too easy to spin and too handy a misdirection--get people to look over there at the political theater of the impeachment circus and maybe they won't notice the substance of the crimes committed.

    The truth, however, has a way of worming its way into people's mindsets if given enough opportunity. The most important thing we can do is help people to understand what has been done, what the consequences have been and what the consequences are likely to be for the future.

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)
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    Hey troll,

    This ain't about a party, it's about saving our democracy, and there's not much doubt that we've got the majority. If government ain't "of the people, by the people and for the people", our experiment in democracy has gone down in flames, hasn't it?

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)
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    Hey troll,

    This ain't about a party, it's about saving our democracy, and there's not much doubt that we've got the majority. If government ain't "of the people, by the people and for the people", our experiment in democracy has gone down in flames, hasn't it?

  • DeanOR (unverified)
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    People, a group pushing for impeachment is not mutually exclusive with investigations, which is not mutually exclusive with electing Democrats. What is NOT desirable is overly parsed, overly cautious strategizing. John Kerry, bless his heart, demonstrated that (well, except in the first debate where he trounced Junior quite passionately).

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Wesley -

    Actually you completely miss the point in this case. The best thing that could happen is for the scum in this evil, corrupt adminstration and their supporters have to defend a case in a court threatening a church congregation actually standing up against them in justified moral condemnation.

    The key to winning this fall's election is to make it a national referendum on the immorality of the right wing as they terrorize good Americans into a long dark march toward facism and repression. This can only be accomplished by overcoming the irrational fears the right has been stoking for political advantage since 2001 by instead getting the American people in touch in their gut with the quite rational fear of the debased world the right wing so eagerly desires. And attacking a church that standing up to them out of moral obligation would provoke exactly this kind of rational fear in average folks across the nation since it is not susceptible to attempts (frequently justifiable) to spin this as yet more foolishness by the provincial loopy left in Oregon.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    "Wesley -

    Actually you completely miss the point in this case."

    Not really. I was wondering out loud if this church risked its 501(c)(3) status by hosting? sponsoring?renting? ignoring? this event.

    Frankly, I doubt this one event would violate the "substantial means" test. But I don't know the full extent of the church in this self-described event that promotes the impeachment of Bush & Cheney.

    Besides, even if the Right were to go after the church's 501(c)(3) status, the nominal plaintiff(s) would be some local person(s) represented by one of the Right's public-interest law firms. It would all be done by and through surrogates.

    Finally, if the impeachment proponents fail to get traction with the Portland City Council, they should scoot across the Hawthorne Bridge and try Diane and the Mean Girls, some of whom survived impeachment attempts themselves.

    • Wes
  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Wes -

    Any real action on their 501(c)(3) status would be between the IRS and the church. A third party could make a lot of noise, but it is the IRS who would have to actually revoke the status and defend that revocation in court.

    I think it would be pretty easy to connect the dots between the right wing third party making the noise to an administration using the IRS to revoke the church's status in the minds of voters.

  • Tim (unverified)
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    Impeachment activity is generally considered neither an exempt function (a poorly worded legal term that in the (c)(3) context applies to lobbying limitations) nor intervention in an election. A (c)(3) like the church would, however, have to be able to defend whether getting in involved in the impeachment proceedings would fit in with it's charitable purpose.

    I suspect, however, that Kari is right... the church probably offers its space for rental to anyone who asks and pays. This is perfectly acceptable acitivity for a church (or, indeed any public charity), so long as there is an arms-length business transaction, and the space is rented for fair market value.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    Impeach? No, send them to The Hague.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    On the Unitarian Church stuff -

    First, the Church is not a 501-c3 organization, that is for non-profits, churchs have a different status.

    Non-profits can spend up to 10% of their revenue on "political" activities. If more of their activity is political, they should be organized as PAC's. By the way, PAC's aren't taxed either.

    Churches can do or say anything they want. When the Catholic Church preaches no abortion - that is "legislative", but it's also free speech.

    I am weary of a double standard where free speech is protected for the far-right, and frowned on for the left/moderate end of things, even by the left/moderate people. Very strange.

  • marcia (unverified)
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    It's not a waste of time. At least it's a way to vent some of the pent up frustration intelligent America is feeling with this lousy excuse for an administration. And I love how Bush is threatening to veto the stem cell bill, on an "ethical" stance, yet he has no remorse for the thousands he has maimed and killed in his so-called "war on terror." Fire the Liar!

  • goptroll (unverified)
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    Mr. Smiley,

    The Dems have a majority in Multnomah County and in Oregon (while it lasts), not in the US Congress. Bush is not the mayor of PDX, or the governor of Oregon, he is the President and only Congress can impeach. You need to face reality... reality bites... opinion polls mean little if your party doesn't have the votes in Congress. So again, I tell you... quit wasting your time with impeachment talk and focus on giving people a reason to vote for Democratic candidates this fall. I'm absolutely serious. Nothing is more entertaining and enjoyable than watching moonbats get in a tizzy over Dubya but you all continue to miss the boat and can't seem to see the real issues at hand. Just as the GOP had a hard on for Clinton's sex life in the 90s, you people can't turn off your "liar, liar, pants on fire" stuck button routine. Now back to your regularly scheduled bitchfest...

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    GOPTrollHappyGuy:Just as the GOP had a hard on for Clinton's sex life in the 90s, you people can't turn off your "liar, liar, pants on fire" stuck button routine.

    yeah, and it actually worked for the GOP. Everyone focused on the cigar. In this case, have a lying, theiving, dopefiend in the White House. I think it's entirely appropriate to mention that at every opportunity. It's pretty important.

  • paul (unverified)
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    A waste of time. There is no basis for articles of impeachment. We should not sink to the level of the Republican congress in 1998, using impeachment as a tool of political warfare.

    The problem with the list othat most come up with is that they have little basis as a basis for impeachment. Word: lying to the American public is not an impeachable offense.

    Most people here seem to forget that the bulk of the political establishment on both sides of the aisle believed that Iraq had WMD. You'd have to impeach the whole Congress if you pursued that angle.

    Democrats have to get their house in order and stop deceving themselves with sideshows like charges of a stolen 2004 election or fantasies of a Bush impeachment. These just distract from the real work of taking back the Congress and the White House.

  • Mo Bandy (unverified)
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    Makes sense to start now, and when we win in Nov we can get it going for real. But I doubt we will win both the House and the Senate, but we can dream can't we? We need Cindy Sheehan to lead this effort. Maybe we impeach him in Crawford, while at his ranch? Huh?

  • John (unverified)
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    Impeachment for both POTUS and VPOTUS?? NO! I am a lifelong Democrat and have lived through the impeachments of Richard Nixon and William Clinton. With the rise of the internet, blogs, IMs, religious right, can you imagine what this effort would do to the very fabric of our nation? That said....I totally agree that both of the hateful people should be investigated by either the House or the Senate should one flip control to the Democrats. Finally....an independent think tank should study the entire impeachment process at all levels of local, state and federal government and recommend changes (including constitutional amendments) to improve ways of ridding us of REAL (not perceived) horrors and criminals.

  • Rebel Dog (unverified)
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    Since Clinton's first term it has become obvious that anyone out of power will talk about impeaching the winner if they lose at the ballot box. We need to restore sanity to the process, first. Specifically, there were people involved in prosecuting the Clinton impeachment that knew that the charges did not rise to a level that would satisfy the definition of actionable crimes and misdemeanors. Pursuing impeachment, then, was an act of treason. Until Ken Starr is sitting in a docket, charged with treason and facing execution, the impeachment process will have no meaning. As that won't happen, I think this is a pointless discussion.

  • Steve Hill (unverified)
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    It is certainly worth discussing but probably shouldn't be something we focus on. First get control of the congress and then impeach the sob.

  • Steve Amy (unverified)
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    in response to goptroller: Hell, yes, LBJ & McNamara & Nixon & Kissinger all should've been indicted for war crimes committed against SE Asia.

    I believe Ho Chi Minh's faction won the majority in the N. Viet election in Jan. '46 and that that faction would've easily carried the '56 re-unification referendum, from which the mythical Republic of South Vietnam pulled its participation, in violation of the Geneva Treaty.

    Estimated deaths of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Lao, due to U.S. bombing and other military action: at least 2.5 million

    4x tonnage of all ordnance dropped by all sides in WW2 was dropped by the U.S. on Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia from 1964-73

    Overthrow of Sianhouk by U.S. ally Lon Nol lead directly to the Khmer Rouge genocide, which was finally put to end by the Vietnamese communist government.

    <h2>So the infamous Osama bin Laden has directed the murder of, say, 5,000 or so civilians. I'd say Kissinger is somewhere near 100x times that culpability. And McNamara not far behind.</h2>
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