Two divergent views on Ron Wyden & Iraq

The discussion about Ron Wyden's town halls on Iraq continues across the Oregon blogosphere. Here's two alternate views -- Darrel Plant writing at DarrelPlant.com, and T.A. Barnhart writing at Tin Cup Chalice.

First, Darrel, who is disappointed in Senator Wyden's "naive" approach to the Bush Adminstration:

Smack Me Upside the Head With a 2x4, Or Maybe Just Start With Ron Wyden --- Just got back from the two-hour exercise in futility that was Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) Portland Town Hall on Iraq at the near-capacity (about 400) Hoffman Hall at Portland State. ...

It was a rowdy crowd, and while Wyden got kudos from a number of people for his votes against the Iraq AUMF and war funding, he was jeered a number of times for statements on impeachment.

I had the misfortune of accidentally sitting in the middle of a bunch of 9/11 conspiracy theorists who were pretty vocal (although I have to admit I joined the general mob on a couple of points) so I may have been more in the thick of things than most. ...

[I] asked him the question I'd settled on. "Senator, do you really trust these guys?"

He grinned at me and said "I believe in the Reagan Rule: Trust but verify." Then he went on to explain how he was my guy in Washington to provide verification, but I have to admit I was a little stunned, well, no, really stunned, because after the past seven years of lies, evasions, and degradation this country has been subjected to by the Bush administration, I just wanted to say "Are you fucking kidding, Senator?" I'm nothing if not polite. I didn't say that. But I have to believe that anyone who thinks that they can start from a position of trust with the Bush administration at this point is incredibly naive.

And now, T.A., who praises Senator Wyden's "absolutely steadfast" opposition to the war:

Morality and stupidity both make bad politics --- This is a good idea: Attack Ron Wyden, one of the few consistent opponents to the war in the Senate.

What's really going on, of course, is an extention of Karl Rove's particular brand of divide-and-conquer. Nothing new with that, and the Dems and other lefties make it so easy. We all have our particular issues and our own form of morality, and most of us are pretty adamant about those things we know to be True. We get offended easily when someone violates our Truth. ...

There have been a few people who've stood tall, and Ron Wyden is among them. Unfortunately, he's not been able to turn his single vote into the 60 needed to end the war, impeach Bush or perform the other works of magic demanded by people as rightfully angry as they are politically stupid. Taking out their anger on Wyden is just daft. It's not like he's been mealy-mouthed in this opposition to the war. He's been absolutely steadfast. But until January, he was in the minority, and even today, there are not enough Democrats, not to mention Republicans, who will stand with him to end the war.

Politics is not about morality, not in the way many people want it to be. Conservatives want government to be a branch of the church, and liberals want it to be the living embodiment of Jefferson's soul.

And that's another reason why impeachment is the wrong approach. The calls for impeachment are ones that come from a moral perspective: What Bush has done is wrong. It's being couched in legal language, but the anger that flows demonstrates that this is anything but legal. It's a righteous anger driving the demand for impeachment, not a legal or political anger. Because seen politically, impeachment is a non-starter — and those who are demanding impeachment are quick to attack anyone trying to pose a political objection.

I don't care for anyone's morality being shoved down my throat, and I really dislike stupid politics that attacks our best friends in Congress.

Read the rest of Darrel's post. Read the rest of T.A.'s post.

And since neither blog has wide-open comments, feel free to discuss here.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Bush/Cheney deserve impeachment to restore accountability to the people, not just as "punishment".

    But the math doesn't work on impeachment of Bush or Cheney until more Republicans are replaced, but that is over a year a way, and too late. The House and Senate Republicans have demonstrated they will vote by party affiliation. (Gonzales is another matter, and he should be prevented from ever holding an office of the public trust again so he doesn't pop up in some future Republican administration in 20 years.)

    What we should consider is a sort of American "truth and reconciliation" after Bush is gone. We need to roll back the transgressions. We need ask: how can we pull back the secrecy veil and learn who did what ... and to whom? And what do we do to prevent this from happening again (a new president rescinding previous executive orders doesn't prevent a future president from doing it again)?

  • (Show?)

    WARING: This is going to get ugly.

    TA's commentary is not only bullshit and dismissive, but fundamentally wrong. Impeachment is not just politically sound, but ethically, principally and legally as well.

    As I have said numerous times in these threads, it is a Constitutional imperative to hold this administration to account for its actions. TA talks out of multiple sides of his mouth. He castigates those who want accountability of this out-of-control administration on justified moral outrage as if holding moral and ethical principles at the core of our social contract has no business in governance. From his bit over on his blog:

    I don't care for anyone's morality being shoved down my throat, and I really dislike stupid politics that attacks our best friends in Congress.

    This is some bemusing bullshit on his part.

    But to fund the change here in Oregon through cigarettes? I find that morally, and personally, repugnant.

    That is from his completely schizophrenic article front and center yesterday evening here at BlueOregon about opposing funding children's healthcare on moral grounds that the revenue comes from smoking (never mind that is part of the point, to diminish the single largest source of healthcare problems i.e. smoking).

    So when it comes to the justified moral and ethical outrage against the criminality of this administrations actions and holding said actions to account through the Constitutional mechanism of impeachment, is is suddenly beyond the pale because it is morality based outrage?

    Sorry, but that is rank hypocrisy on his part.

    He derisively dismisses Constitutional principles as a form Jefforsonian idolatry, then ignores that there is a legal case to be made. What next, the "la la la I can't hear you" argument?

    So what is the enterprise of our society or our government if violations of ethics, principles and the law are not legitimate reasons to impeach in TA's eyes?

    What exactly IS an impeachable offense in TA's world?

    If Bush had conspired to kill a person for illegitimate and fraudulent reasons, say someone he hated personally and then lied about why he had this guy killed by fraudulently claiming he was threatening to rape Laura would that be an impeachable offense?

    But somehow doing the same when it involves killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying a country (not too mention killing over 3,700 of our own troops) and maiming hundreds of thousands more isn't?

    To underscore this, he then goes on and claims it is politically a nonstarter. An position which as I pointed out yesterday is total malarky. From a purely political point of view, NOT holding this administration to account is actually hemorrhaging political capital on the Democratic side (witness the slide in Congressional approval ratings for both Democrats and the GOP members). Actually taking action to hold this overwhelmingly unpopular administration to account will gain Democrats political capital and muscle.

    From a purely electoral position, impeachment would be a political albatross for the REPUBLICANS, not the Democrats. The move for impeachment in say late fall early winter impeachment comes up and gets into the Senate.

    You're Gordon Smith, do you defend Bush/Cheney and hand your seat over to the Democratic nominee because you are wrapping your arms around an administration that is at approval ratings in the same area as Nixon's was the week before he resigned?

    Or do you vote for impeachment to try and solidify your moderate image with swing voter suburban voters and piss off your dwindling base?

    Furthermore, impeachment would earn Wyden and the caucus the political muscle to not just address the egregious actions of this administration, but actually put them in a position to address the substantive legislative issues on the agenda which Wyden wants to accomplish, healthcare reform, etc.

    Sorry, but TA's "argument" is a total bust on every level.

  • (Show?)

    T.A. seems not to have read my piece.

    I know Ron Wyden opposed the war. I went there intending to praise him for that stand and ask him an entirely different question than the one I ended up asking because time at the mics ran out.

    I settled on asking whether he trusted the administration because I figured the answer would be short (like, "no") and encourage him to actively support impeachment because we can't afford to have an administration in place for the next 15 months if it can't be trusted. Instead, for whatever reason, he used the "trust but verify" line.

    This administration requires a little tougher control than that implies. Every move they make needs to be examined for loopholes ahead of time. Trust but verify isn't a philosophy that is suspicious, it's one that assumes "trust" and "verifies" that nothing untoward is taking place after the fact.

    Maybe he didn't mean to imply that was the way he was going to approach the rest of the Bush years, but his words about waiting for the Petraeus report during the meeting certainly seemed as if it was in line with his thinking.

    I fail to understand how I'm shoving my morality down anyone's throat simply by criticizing a statement by Ron Wyden. I thought that was my right as an American citizen, a lifelong Oregonian, and a constituent of Senator Wyden. Don't we usually hear this stuff about throat-shoving from people on FOX News? Are they writing for Blue Oregon now?

    Democratic Party. Love it or leave it.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    T.A. wrote:

    "The calls for impeachment are ones that come from a moral perspective: What Bush has done is wrong. It's being couched in legal language, but the anger that flows demonstrates that this is anything but legal. It's a righteous anger driving the demand for impeachment, not a legal or political anger."

    Most of the calls for impeachment I have heard are based on protecting what is left of the US Constitution, not on morality. But if morality is part of the impetus, then does this somehow discredit the call?

    Murder of innocents, for instance, inevitably raises moral indignation. Is murder, then, never a good reason for impeachment? Let me be more outrageous, since murder seems to be accepted practice if committed by government. Suppose it were discovered that Shrub kept children in the basement of the White House for his sexual enjoyment. The moral outrage at this would sweep the nation. Would this, therefore, not be grounds for impeachment?

    It seems T.A. is grasping at any rationalization for his opposition to impeachment. He is coming up empty.

  • Becky (unverified)
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    I don't believe Wyden actually trusts the Bush Administration, but he understands that to get anything done in politics you must speak politically and politely. I think (and hope) that he is refraining from saying things that will embarrass the President and result in having his access blocked. Personally, I find it refreshing that someone behaves civilly in even the toughest of circumstances. Wyden should be judged by his actions, not by such statements as this. He is doing a damned good job as far as I can see and demonstrating a strong spine, a good heart, and a quick mind. We ordinary people have the luxury of being rude and calling a spade a spade, but when you're in a delicate situation like the one in DC right now, and you really want to be productive, you have to know how to mind your "p"s and "q"s.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    "There have been a few people who've stood tall, and Ron Wyden is among them."

    T.A. must be referring to Ron Wyden's bold vote for George Bush's trade agreement with Central America (CAFTA). Wyden certainly stood tall by ignoring the concerns of the Freightliner workers in Portland, or the beet farmers in Nyssa, to instead stand tall with big business and the Bush administration.

  • (Show?)
    < blockquote >Posted by: Becky | Aug 16, 2007 1:19:27 PM I think (and hope) that he is refraining from saying things that will embarrass the President and result in having his access blocked.

    That is precisely the bullshit way of thinking and operating which has cowed the media and rendered the Democrats eunuchs. A more pathetic statement in politics is hard to come by.

    He is doing a damned good job as far as I can see and demonstrating a strong spine, a good heart, and a quick mind.
    Name one substantive strong position on anything that Wyden and the Democratic has gotten through the 110th Congress. Are we going to hang our hats on folding min. wage into a "must pass" military budget authorization bill? The scramble before the recess to make legal the illegal wiretapping programs by re-writing the laws to make the illegal violation of the 4th amendment legal? The capitulation on CAFTA, the FISA bill... what? Some strong spine. I WANT to trust Wyden, I WANT to trust our caucus. I WANT them being strong, but I don't see any sign of it occurring.
  • (Show?)

    Ugh:

    Posted by: Becky | Aug 16, 2007 1:19:27 PM I think (and hope) that he is refraining from saying things that will embarrass the President and result in having his access blocked.

    That is precisely the bullshit way of thinking and operating which has cowed the media and rendered the Democrats eunuchs. A more pathetic statement in politics is hard to come by.

    He is doing a damned good job as far as I can see and demonstrating a strong spine, a good heart, and a quick mind.

    Name one substantive strong position on anything that Wyden and the Democratic have gotten through the 110th Congress. Are we going to hang our hats on folding min. wage into a "must pass" military budget authorization bill? The scramble before the recess to make legal the illegal wiretapping programs by re-writing the laws to make the illegal violation of the 4th amendment legal?

    The capitulation on CAFTA, the FISA bill... what?

    Why no filibuster on the Military Commisons Act of 2006?

    Some strong spine.

    I WANT to trust Wyden, I WANT to trust our caucus. I WANT them being strong, but I don't see any sign of it occurring.

  • (Show?)
    I think (and hope) that he is refraining from saying things that will embarrass the President and result in having his access blocked.

    That's fine if you actually think that access to the president will get you somewhere, i.e. if you trust them to do the right thing given time and pressure. That's the kind of trust I'm talking about.

    But that gets back to my question of whether the administration can be trusted to respond in a positive manner to anything Wyden does. You think it's possible. Wyden apparently believes the same thing.

    My own viewpoint is that they have not proven trustworthy and that if Sen. Wyden truly believes that they can't be trusted he needs to begin to at the very least start to work to constrain the damage the administration can do over the next 15 months. I don't think he can advocate for that and simultaneously say he can work with the administration.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    If Bush had conspired to kill a person for illegitimate and fraudulent reasons. . . would that be an impeachable offense? But somehow doing the same when it involves killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying a country . . . isn't?

    If you can prove that Bush was engaged in a conspiracy to manufacture intelligence about Iraq with the intent of using that intelligence to start a war, you have an impeachable offense. But while I hear speculation about that, I've never seen any hard evidence. Have you? Simply assuming that such a conspiracy took place is not enough. [It's also worth pointing out that disagreeing with the intelligence he was receiving is not impeachable. That's the president's right, as leader of the executive branch. It's why elections are so important.]

    You're Gordon Smith, do you defend Bush/Cheney and hand your seat over to the Democratic nominee. . . .

    No, you stand up and give a solemn speech about how the Democrats are using impeachment as a political tool to get what they want, since they haven't been successful through the regular political process. You talk about how dangerous and irresponsible it is to impeach the commander-in-chief during wartime. You talk about the importance of bipartisanship, of how we'll only solve the Iraq quagmire and pressing domestic issues by working together to a common solution. And you coast to reelection.

  • (Show?)

    Man. What T.A. said. Word.

    Whenever I read circular-firing squad attacks like this (usually on the same handful of sites, commondreams, democraticunderound, etc) I always end up asking myself the same question. Who are these people? And how the hell can they be so self-delusional?

    I've decided that it simply must have something to do with the political bifurcation of America. Liberals and conservatives used to be far more mixed in their neighborhoods. Now it's possible to live your entire life without ever seeing someone in person who disagrees with you, except on T.V.

    That makes it possible to -in your own mind- reduce the opposition to a crude political cartoon, and dramatically underestimate the appeal their ideology has to the public at large. It also allows for extremist expectations in representation, where seeing even the slightest deviation from the litmus test of party orthodoxy causes people to viciously attack the country's best political leaders.

    This pains me greatly, because by and large I agree with the moral stances of progressive protesters. In a fair and just world, Bush wouldn't have the support he does from the Republican party, and it would be possible to not only impeach him, but convict him.

    The problem is, that this isn't a fair or just world. And you can do much harm to the cause of good by pretending it is. Nor will telling people to (or making in-your-face demonstrations) "wake up" voters change that; they're often a lot less nice than you think.

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    But somehow doing the same when it involves killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying a country (not too mention killing over 3,700 of our own troops) and maiming hundreds of thousands more isn't?

    He did all that before the American people reelected him. Its not like they didn't know we had invaded Iraq. Or that they didn't know there were no weapons. So why wouldn't they conclude the Democrats were simply trying to reverse that election because they disagreed with its results?

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    He did all that before the American people reelected him. Its not like they didn't know we had invaded Iraq. Or that they didn't know there were no weapons.

    Go talk with Tim Hibbitts. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WERE STILL IDIOTS AND THE MAJORITY STILL BELIEVED THERE WERE WMD. A huge percentage of people STILL believe it.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    senator wyden seems to me to be a prime example of the glass half full vs. glass half empty paradox, which i think is really what provides the fuel for this debate. if he were perfectly & utterly reprehensible, like for example a santorum or a lieberman, it would be simple on a site like this. but he's not - he's done some things wrong, and not done some things right, or that we think he should done, and yet, he HAS done quite a few things that are right.

    so does a good progressive look at him and see all the things he hasn't done, the half empty part of the equation, or see what he has done, and realise that the sad reality of the political world we live in is that half full is still a heck of a lot more full than a lot of senators, and be glad we've at least got that much.

    any person who posts anything that ron wyden has voted for that he shoudln't have, or anything that they think he should have introduced or said or speechified, or backboned, or whatever, i won't argue with necessarily.

    but i still see a half-full glass in front of me, and am not going to spend a whole of energy railing that's in not more full than it is.

    as far as impeachment goes: i'm not going to dispute the case for why bush and cheney should be impeached. instead, i'm looking at the political reality, and that is that we don't have the votes.

    and i don't believe for an instance we'd have the votes, no matter what the hearings brought out into the light. and the reason for this can be summed up in two words:

    PRESIDENT PELOSI!!!!!!!

    the republicans will cling to the sinking ship that is the bush administration before they will vote for president pelosi. period. and politically, that may not be a bad move for them. the call for impeachment by the public isn't strong enough to overwhelm the damage that would be done to them by their base if they put nancy pelosi in the white house.

    end of story.

    so i'm not sure i want my democratic leaders putting a lot of energy into a fight they won't win. i think that WOULD shed political capital, and do more damage in the long run (once again looking like inefectual losers) than what would be gained by going after the impeachment.

    impeachment is the right thing to do. it's not going to happen. i'm happy to move on and look at how else to spend our energy productively.

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    A huge percentage of people STILL believe it.

    OK. So why wouldn't they conclude that the Democrats are just trying to reverse the last election?

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    OK. So why wouldn't they conclude that the Democrats are just trying to reverse the last election? There is no reasoning with the 23-27% wacko fundies. I don't give a damn what they think. The majority of Americans have finally woken up and are on our side.

  • (Show?)
    Whenever I read circular-firing squad attacks like this

    What's sort of funny is that you say you see a circular firing squad but you don't realize that you're filling your place on one arc of the circle. And you're the one who's shooting.

    I directed my criticism at Sen. Wyden. He's a big boy, he can take it from the likes of me. I haven't accused you or any of Wyden's supporters of ramming your morality down my throat, or jamming your rationales into some other of my orifices. I haven't questioned anyone's motives.

    I did criticize Kari's use of "lynchmob", "shrieking" and "screaming" and Jeff's categorization of my argument as "crap". I did suggest that it was condescending of Adrian to assume that people at the meeting needed to get out of their "liberal comfort zone" without having any idea who she was talking to. I did corect some factual errors people made.

    If you feel that is evidence of a circular firing squad, that's fine, but if anyone in this conversation is throwing invective at other commenters it sure isn't me.

  • (Show?)

    The capitulation on CAFTA, the FISA bill... what?

    For the record, every single Democrat in Congress from Oregon - Wyden, Wu, Blumnauer, DeFazio, and Hooley - voted against the FISA bill.

    Gordon Smith and Greg Walden voted for it. Say what you want about the Democratic leadership in D.C., but let's give credit where it's due.

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    I don't see where Darrelplant is not giving credit where it is due. He has been respectful of Wyden and has complimented him. Our delegation of Democrats have been pretty good overall. But of course we're frustrated.....outraged.

    We've marched by the tens of thousands, unseen by the corporate media. We've written letters, made phone calls, put up freeway signs, all to no avail. Now they're talking about the draft. I don't want to be the next mother crying at the mic about my sons participating in an illegal, unjust "war."

    The only evidence you need for impeachment is right in the "war" resolution, and in the statement bush sent to congress the night he attacked. They were filled with lies and that is impeachable. RULE OF LAW, RULE OF LAW, RULE OF LAW.

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    I don't give a damn what they think. The majority of Americans have finally woken up and are on our side.

    In other words, the Democrats are just reversing the last election because they didn't like the outcome and now they have the votes? I think that is a fast way to lose that majority than impeaching Bush and Cheney and replacing them with Democrats. Because, no matter what they might think about Bush, the American people want to be the ones to decide who is President.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Miles | Aug 16, 2007 2:06:07 PM If you can prove that Bush was engaged in a conspiracy to manufacture intelligence about Iraq with the intent of using that intelligence to start a war, you have an impeachable offense. But while I hear speculation about that, I've never seen any hard evidence. Have you? Simply assuming that such a conspiracy took place is not enough. [It's also worth pointing out that disagreeing with the intelligence he was receiving is not impeachable. That's the president's right, as leader of the executive branch. It's why elections are so important.]

    Manufacturing intelligence is not the hurdle to clear. Was knowingly false information given as to Saddam's WMDs? Yes. We know that for a fact. Cheney himself said we know he had a reconstituted nuclear capability. That is factually false and Cheney knew it was false when he said it publicly.

    As darrelplant posted yesterday, Officers of the United States can be impeached for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to criminal acts. That case is stated very specifically in any of the number of books that came out on impeachment last year (and in previous years) as well as the section in the February 1974 House Judiciary report on impeachment titled "The Criminality Issue". As the report points out, nobody passes laws to specifically govern the use of power of people like presidents and attorney generals. Impeachment isn't even a punishment. It's an act of the representatives of the people retaking power from someone who has abused their authority and has shown that they cannot be trusted with the power that comes with that authority.

    Cheney asserted unequivocally that there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda in order to push the Iraq war. That in itself is an impeachable offense.

    It doesn't even matter whether he believed it or not (not that I think he did). He helped to involve the nation in a war based on false information. Now, if he lied about that information, that's malfeasance and abuse of his position as vice president to promulgate false information with the authority of his office (abuse of power). If he did not know that the information was false, that's incompetence, which is another ground for impeachment.

    No, you stand up and give a solemn speech about how the Democrats are using impeachment as a political tool to get what they want, since they haven't been successful through the regular political process. You talk about how dangerous and irresponsible it is to impeach the commander-in-chief during wartime. You talk about the importance of bipartisanship, of how we'll only solve the Iraq quagmire and pressing domestic issues by working together to a common solution. And you coast to reelection.

    Bah... what blather. He either votes for it or he doesn't. His floor speech will mean next to nothing, and his using said speech you hypothesis is what, defending not voting to impeach, or defended why he voted to impeach?

    If You think Smith defending Bush is a winner for him electorally? I have a bridge in New York I can sell you. Smith from December 2006 until election Day 2008 will be putting as much distance as he can afford to in order to get re-elected. Look at what his tortured defense of his and Cheney/Rove's actions on the Klamath fish-kill are producing. We have the Register Guard basically saying Smith is a liar, and that is nothing compared to defending Bush were the full airing that an impeachment hearings would bring.

    What do you think happens to Smith's numbers if he is forced to publicly defend Cheney/Bush and not vote to impeach if it came to a vote?

    Already the majority in the country want Cheney impeached and that is before we even have a single hearing on it. You think defending impeaching Mr. 19% approval is a winner for him?

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    I'll let the "great" Senator Smith speak for me:

    "But we have to decide on the evidence today, and the evidence to me is clear. Soldiers and sailors are discharged and punished for far less than what the President did. And judges are impeached by the House and removed by the Senate for far less than this. Indeed, we have to ask, is the President to be held to a lower standard than those he sends to war or those he appoints to dispense justice? I cannot and I never will agree to such a low standard for the Presidency of the United States.

    Pollsters tell me how strongly Americans and Oregonians feel about this case and how conflicted their feelings. Large majorities have concluded that the President is guilty of the felonies charged. Yet, large majorities have also concluded that they do not want him to be removed from office. These numbers remind me that the demands of justice are sometimes hard. I hope, however, that we remember obedience to the law will protect our liberties as nothing else can.

    You see, political prisoners around the world look to the United States for hope, not because we have a popular President, but because we have laws to protect us from a popular President. If the President of the United States is allowed to break our laws when they prove embarrassing to him or conflict with his political interests, then truly some public trust has been violated, a trust which, as Hamilton says, `relates chiefly to injuries done immediately to society itself.'

    These felonies are impeachable offenses, and the Constitution makes our duty clear, even though it appears harsh and difficult. When the Chief Justice calls my name, `Senator, how say ye?' I will say guilty twice, because I refuse to say that high political polls and soaring Wall Street indexes give license to those in high places to act in low and illegal ways. Perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes, and they are utterly inconsistent with any Federal office--ours as well, but especially with the office of the President of the United States.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Aug 16, 2007 2:37:10 PM The capitulation on CAFTA, the FISA bill... what? For the record, every single Democrat in Congress from Oregon - Wyden, Wu, Blumnauer, DeFazio, and Hooley - voted against the FISA bill.

    There was no reason for Reid to have even brought the FISA bill to the floor. It should never have even gotten to a vote.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: PeachIm | Aug 16, 2007 2:43:47 PM In other words, the Democrats are just reversing the last election because they didn't like the outcome and now they have the votes?

    No. It's an act of the representatives of the people retaking power from someone who has abused their authority and has shown that they cannot be trusted with the power that comes with that authority.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Good post, ErinPDX, except...

    Nearly half of the US public wants President George W. Bush to face impeachment, and even more favor that fate for Vice President Dick Cheney.

    The survey by the American Research Group found that 45 percent support the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Bush, with 46 percent opposed, and a 54-40 split in favor when it comes to Cheney.

    This is before the facts are exposed on the floor of the House and Senate.

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    Tom, exactly!! Get some ovaries, Dems! The public is on your side!

  • trishka (unverified)
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    erinpdx, do you have a citation for that quote from senator smith? this is the first i've heard of it.

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    It's an act of the representatives of the people retaking power from someone who has abused their authority and has shown that they cannot be trusted with the power that comes with that authority.

    You can call it anything you want. Its not an election, which is the way the American people expect to choose a President.

    I can hear the message now: "Send the Democrats in congress a message: We, the people, get to choose the President, not them."

    And Gordon Smith: "I voted against impeachment because I think its up to the people to change the administration if they don't like its policies, not a partisan congress."

    I think anyone who thinks the polls will defend against that is naive. I am willing to bet most of the people here arguing against impeachment would tell a pollster they support it. "Do you support impeaching the President?" Yes. "Do you think the Democrats in congress should impeach the President?" No.

    Do you think congress should make the Democratic Speaker of the House President by impeaching the President and Vice-President?

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    triska, I copied it into my computer from google about 4 years ago so that I could use it in letters to Smith. It is his floor speech on the clinton trial. More of his hypocrisy. Here is a link from Australia of all places:

  • ErinPDX (unverified)
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    darn, don't know how to tag it correctly. here is the link: http://australianpolitics.com/usa/clinton/trial/statements/smith.shtml

  • (Show?)
    I think anyone who thinks the polls will defend against that is naive. I am willing to bet most of the people here arguing against impeachment would tell a pollster they support it. "Do you support impeaching the President?" Yes. "Do you think the Democrats in congress should impeach the President?" No.

    Start with Gonzo, then Cheney...and THEN Bush. Problem solved.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    PeachIm,

    Your predictions find little support in the history of the last impeachment, one based on comparatively trivial misdeeds.

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    Your predictions find little support in the history of the last impeachment, one based on comparatively trivial misdeeds.

    That was clearly a personal attack on Clinton not his administration. There was no effort to impeach Gore and the basis of his impeachment wasn't his unpopular policies.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    PeachIm,

    So, in your opinion, the more trivial the reason for impeachment, the more the US people will support it.

    Correct? I can see no other way to characterize your response.

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    Posted by: PeachIm | Aug 16, 2007 3:07:27 PM

    You can call it anything you want. Its not an election, which is the way the American people expect to choose a President.

    Funny, Gerald Ford was president and never elected yet I didn't hear there was a backlash against Congress for removing Agnew and Nixon.

    I can hear the message now: "Send the Democrats in congress a message: We, the people, get to choose the President, not them."

    History rpoves that isn't liekly.

    And Gordon Smith: "I voted against impeachment because I think its up to the people to change the administration if they don't like its policies, not a partisan congress."

    Agian, history proves that talking point doesn't hold, and as I explain below, that scenario isn't even likely were covnictiosn to occur (which isn't likely).

    Do you think congress should make the Democratic Speaker of the House President by impeaching the President and Vice-President?

    Impeaching first Gonzales then Cheney before you turn to Bush is what I am talking about. By the time consideration of removing Bush comes Smith will have had to make his choice, defend Gonzales or vote to impeach, Defend Cheney or vote to impeach. He either permanently wraps himself in Bush or he pisses of the GOP core voter. It is a lose/lose proposition for him. Then Cheney, same thing. At that point The House can nominate a token GOP as vice-president and the entire Pelosi voting in herself as President canard is moot. Though a "Pelosi '07" bumper sticker is a great idea. (grin)

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    Posted by: torridjoe | Aug 16, 2007 3:16:19 PM Start with Gonzo, then Cheney...and THEN Bush. Problem solved.

    Exactly. Long before you get to Bush Smith will have screwed himself. Not just Smith, but torn apart the GOP and put Coleman, Collins and a raft of others in the same disastrous choice politically.

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    So, in your opinion, the more trivial the reason for impeachment, the more the US people will support it.

    Correct?

    Yes. Is there some reason to think that the US people are deeply thoughtful?

    And is your argument that replacing the elected Republican President and Vice President with an unelected democrat is going to be taken no more seriously by the American public than Bill Clinton's blow job?

    Smith: "My opponent says he would have voted to replace the President and Vice-President elected by the people with someone of his own party chosen by partisan members of congress. I can't think of anything more divisive of the country. We need to find ways to pull the country together, not apart."

  • trishka (unverified)
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    and then president pelosi takes the oval office?

    while you're at it, can you get me world peace? and a pony?

    not to be snide, but i just don't think we can make comparisons to either clinton or nixon. we live in a different world politically now.

    the republicans will go down with the sinking bush administration before they will put nancy pelosi in the white house. i'm as convinced of that as i am of anything in politics.

    of course, would love nothing better than to be proved wrong, and on the day pelosi gets sworn in, i'll be happy to come to this blog to get served a piling heap of barbecued crow.

    but. i just don't see it happening. sorry. :(

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    PeachIm,

    So, since you believe Americans prefer trivial reasons for impeachment, you'd prefer that Congress impeach Cheney for doing a bad Darth Vader impression and Shrub for his poor use of English.

    As more than one person has suggested, Cheney should go first. Then we'd get a Ford to follow an Agnew.

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    darrelplant What's sort of funny is that you say you see a circular firing squad but you don't realize that you're filling your place on one arc of the circle. And you're the one who's shooting.

    No, I'm watching you and the DLC in that circular firing squad both go out of your way to publicly declare how absolutely awful Democrats are. And, I wonder, how either of you can imagine that that is good for your own goals. Since, at least as far as you are concerned, they're mine too.

    Consider me to be the guy standing outside the circle on your side, tapping you on the shoulder, saying "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

  • PeachIm (unverified)
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    Then we'd get a Ford to follow an Agnew.

    Is there anyone who thinks having a Republican incumbent will help the Democrats chances in 2008? I doubt Bush would appoint McCain, but Giuliani? Romney?

    But isn't the far more likely scenario that Cheney is impeached and found not guilty by the Senate? What do you do about Bush at that point, let him off? How does that make him accountable? How do Democrats gain anything?

    As for Gonzalez, be careful what you wish for. Its perfectly possible the Republicans will all vote to impeach him but not Cheney and Bush. Thus demonstrating their objective, thoughtful, balanced natures in contrast to those partisan democrats.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Riddle me this. How is it that a single senator can put the kaibash on such sensible legislation as giving troops as much time home as they are deployed, but not a single Democrat was able to stop the last round of funding that's continuing Bush's escalation?

    Can someone explain this to me like i'm a, well, like i'm not a complete idiot. 'Cause i honestly don't get it.

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    Posted by: PeachIm | Aug 16, 2007 4:23:08 PM But isn't the far more likely scenario that Cheney is impeached and found not guilty by the Senate?
    No. I don't think in such a scenario, if it made to the Senate, that Cheney would not get convicted. And if he did, it would take people like SMith voting to not convict which kills Smith in distancing himself from Bush and kills his fake-moderate schtick.
    As for Gonzalez, be careful what you wish for. Its perfectly possible the Republicans will all vote to impeach him but not Cheney and Bush.
    If the GOP moves with the Dems to impeach and convict Gonzales, then all hell breaks loose. Gonzales is the finger in the damn that is the lynch-pin for keeping Bush out of jail, let alne simply removal from office.
    Thus demonstrating their objective, thoughtful, balanced natures in contrast to those partisan democrats.

    The bloodbath within the GOP over impeachment of the AG or the VP alone would shred the GOP base eight-ways from Sunday.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    PeachIm,

    And if a Republican made the argument that winning the next election is more important than the Constitution, what would you retort?

    But then again, you are ignoring history. Carter won after Nixon. Bush won after Clinton. Grant won after Johnson. Impeachment [or serious threat of it] hurts the president's party, not the other way around.

    There may be good arguments against impeachment, but all I've seen have been excuses and unsupported predictions.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    so, those of you who think the numbers for impeachment could be reached in the senate, who are the sixty?

    are you assuming that all 51 democrats would vote in favor, when the 51 dems haven't been united on anything yet?

    and which 9 republicans could we reasonably expect to abandon their party?

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    No, I'm watching you and the DLC in that circular firing squad both go out of your way to publicly declare how absolutely awful Democrats are.

    So your criticism of me isn't criticism of a Democrat? Hmmm. I'll have to check my voter registration again.

    I didn't realize I was in a fight with the DLC. Do they even know who I am? I thought I was more along the lines of a gnat avoiding the tail of an elephant dressed up as a donkey.

    Or are you saying that Senator Wyden is a member of the DLC?

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    And Steve, I'd like to add that "standing outside the circle on your side, tapping you on the shoulder" isn't a particularly safe position to take up if people are shooting at me. Why don't you go tap on the other side of the circle for a while?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    triska,

    And why should bringing impeachment to the floor of the House depend on 60 Senators prepared to convict in advance? This is much more about defending the Constitution than about "getting" Cheney and Shrub, though I'd love to see them get what they deserve.

    Do you think presidents will not be dissuaded for a long time from having sex with interns in the oval office because Clinton was not convicted?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    another reason for impeachment:

    Kucinich Sounds the Alarm

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    Tap on the other side? Hmmm.... Do you really think the DLC and the Blue Dogs will listen to me?

    I mean, let's be fair. If you were attacking the DLC, I probably wouldn't even mention this whole idea that attacking your friends isn't very smart, since I'm not always convinced that the DLC are our friends. But look, my friend, that gun you got pointed isn't going across, you're shooting at Ron Wyden, who's facing almost exactly the same way you are.

    And hell, compared to the neo-nazi GOP (yes, yes, Kari, I know that's bad rhetoric - but what else do you call torturers?) even Lieberman isn't the worst. If he wasn't caucusing with us, Senator Wyden wouldn't even be in a position to even consider doing what you're asking of him.

    I dunno. I just think, as they say, that honey attracts a lot more flies than vinegar. Think about that next time before ignoring Republicans to get in the fact of a guy who agrees with you more than just about any other elected representative.

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    Posted by: trishka | Aug 16, 2007 4:38:10 PM so, those of you who think the numbers for impeachment could be reached in the senate, who are the sixty?

    Actually it takes 2/3rds, or 67 votes to convict.

    In Clinton's trial, the perjury charge was defeated with 45 votes for conviction and 55 against. The obstruction of justice charge was defeated with 50 for conviction and 50 against.

    The 60 vote threshold is for cloture on a bill (i.e. ending debate) not conviction in an impeachment trial or overriding a veto.

  • LT (unverified)
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    In this, I agree with TA:

    I don't care for anyone's morality being shoved down my throat, and I really dislike stupid politics that attacks our best friends in Congress.<<

    Along the way in 30 years as an activist Democrat, I have seen this time after time. People who hadn't been involved in long term political activism get angry because someone isn't doing exactly what they expect.

    I recall a county party meeting decades ago a year after a Democrat had been elected Governor. A group of people who never showed up at the meeting before and never would again flooded our meeting and told us we should forget our hard work electing the governor because they were angry about one of his actions and therefore we should be to.

    I took one of these guys outside the meeting room and said I had been a volunteer coordinator. I wanted his promise that he and all his friends would commit a certain number of volunteer hours to Democratic candidates in the next election before they started telling us that we were supposed to do what they told us to do just because they told us to do it. His face just looked blank as if he saw no connection between volunteer work and electing good politicians.

    The best way to channel that anger expressed above is into action. Talk to someone you know who is not political and ask them to think about the issues involved. Write letters to the editor. Call elected officials, and if you are sassed by a staffer of any kind, ask to speak to their supervisor.

    But please, don't try to tell us that Congress can finish the farm bill, all the other budget bills, get the troops on the road to returning home AND do impeachment all in the next 4 months before the election year starts.

    There is an excellent book about the Nixon impeachment process which has a great writing style as well as content. Jimmy Breslin was given a small desk in Tip O'Neill's office so he could write about impeachment from the inside. Many agree that Nixon's impeachment was a model for the right way to handle it, just as the Clinton impeachment was a case study on how to rush to judgement before having concrete evidence, thus alienating ordinary folks (one bakery assistant I knew thought it was a waste of resources) and hurting the political futures of those involved. (Aside from Lindsey Graham, which of the "House managers of impeachment" is still in public office?)

    The book goes into great behind the scenes detail--and that is just the point. For those who have ever been a witness in a court proceeding (as I was once with a hit and run case), there usually isn't a lot of publicity about the course of the grand jury proceedings and trial unless it is a famous case. Took a year and a half of my life from the time I witnessed the hit and run and gave my report to law enforcement until the last time I appeared in court.

    Anyone who has every been involved in legislation which took years to pass (as happened in the 2007 session, as I recall) or an "impossible" campaign which either wins or comes very close, knows there is a lot of hard work behind the scenes which never gets any publicity.

    Those of you who are so impatient and angry, please answer 2 questions:

    1) Were you part of the campaign which elected Ron Wyden the first Democrat to hold that Senate seat since Wayne Morse? Are you sure another Senator would be doing a better job, and if so why? And who would it be?

    2) How do you know there isn't anything going on behind the scenes? There was a small item on an inside page of our local paper with some general in Iraq saying that the surge is over and "the geometry of moving troops" (or some such quote) is what they are working on now. Do you think people can just snap their fingers and resolve complex situations?

    Personally, I would rather all angry energy be aimed at winning the next election rather than forcing people in elective office to do what you want them to do, hang the details.

    If Democrats manage leaving Iraq better than the invasion was managed, then competence could be a major selling point for quite a while into the future.

    But if people get so angry they want impeachment and withdrawal from Iraq in the worst way, that may end up being what they get.

    And is it worth a decade of Republican talking points that Democrats "lost Iraq" (just like all that "McGovernik liberal" historical revisionism which ignores the role of Pres. Ford and his Sec. of Defense in ending the Vietnam War), and the potential for Republican victories in 2008, just so that by golly the Democrats got their impeachment in the last 12-14 months before the next presidential election, and the troops started coming home but ended up leaving equipment behind or some logistical problem like that?

    For all of those who would rather just vent your anger than do something constructive, be aware that I've been burned out on politics so many times--but come back--that this is the last straw. I have better things to do with my time than be yelled at. I would rather see things done well than done quickly (a lesson the TV networks could have learned in 2000) and will drop out of politics before I have to spend time with people who stamp their feet and want all politicians to be perfect, even though very few people are perfect.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    LT,

    You have joined the chorus of impeachment opposition who accuse those who want impeachment of being motivated by anger and/or morality, even though the predominant issue raised here and in most other venues has been protection of the Constitution and preservation of the republic.

    And, like you, opposers of impeachment stress partisan political calculus, even though history suggests that impeachment hurts the party of the president, not the other way around.

    You can, of course, hold whatever opinion you like, but why do you insist on mischaracterizing the arguments of those with whom you disagree and why do you ignore historical precedent?

  • (Show?)
    Think about that next time before ignoring Republicans to get in the fact of a guy who agrees with you more than just about any other elected representative.

    Who got in anyone's face? I shook Wyden's hand, passed him my business card, and spoke to him very calmly. I was too shocked by his answer to really react at the time. Are you really paying so little attention that you think was "in his face" yelling at him?

    If you think the DLC and the Blue Dogs aren't going to listen to you, why would you expect Republicans to listen to me? That just doesn't make any sense. And it's not as if I haven't ever criticized Republicans. I helped push a story about Gordon Smith calling John Kerry a socialist in 2004 by pointing out to WW that the Oregonian had missed that little item although it had shown up in another paper ("If it Matters to Oregonians, it's in the LA Times").

    So spare me the sanctimony about how the angry bloggers bringing down the tone of the conversation and not understanding the realities of the "real world". Ron Wyden was just a few years older than I am when he was elected to the Senate. Of course things don't happen overnight. Nobody's expecting that. But people like Wyden need to start the ball rolling at some point.

    You people seem to have a real problem with anyone speaking out of turn. Is re-education camp open this late in the summer?

    If you guys think Ron Wyden has to worry about a guy with an English major, some research skill, a computer, and taste for sarcasm, then I wonder how you think he's up to the task of fighting the Bush administration. I think he's stronger than that, myself. But I don't think he should be saying or implying that he trusts the administration. I don't think he should be trusting the Bush administration whether he says it or not. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't.

    And keep up the "McGovernik" stuff, LT. I'm sure all the guys from the '72 Scoop Jackson camp who are now the neo-cons who got us into Iraq (Kristol, Perle, Wolfowitz) love that stuff too!

  • (Show?)
    Those of you who are so impatient and angry,

    I don't know what's impatient about suggesting that Wyden and the Democrats need to be more active about ending the war. It's been going on for four years and five months.

    Here's an angry man:

    Those who have had a chance for four years and could not produce peace should not be given another chance. --Richard Nixon, 9 October 1968
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    What is your evidence, Darrel, that they haven't been active? From where I stand, Ron Wyden was against the war from the start. If it was up to him, we would have never been there.

    You seem to confuse being outvoted with being lazy. Let me assure you, that isn't true.

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    jesus, i'm gonna have to start being careful if people are going to start reading TCC. i've been inconsistent there about posting (to say the least) and in trying to change that, i'm posting a bit more first-drafty stuff (what Anne Lamott calls "shitty first drafts" and i certainly fall into that school of thought). but one thing is true: my opinion of Wyden has changed a lot in the past few years. he's gone from being regularly disappointing (voting for the frikkin Trident sub back in the 80s) to who he now is. let's save our anger for Gordo, not Ron.

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    oh, Darrel - no i didn't read your piece. i've never been to your site. someone at BO put us together, and that's the first i've seen of your piece. and i can't get to your site, either. maybe it's a bad link? but i want to read it. so i can see if we're "divergent" or simply complementary.

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    Republicans everywhere hope the impeachment question will divide Democrats. Some Democrats are becoming overwhelmed by their own sense of infallibility about impeachment and about the consequences of the war in Iraq. Democrats who become intoxicated with a "holier-than-thou" attitude ignore the complexities involved in taking back our country in 2008. We are in for a very tough election in 2008, make no mistake about it, there will be no cakewalk.

    Some of these posts are stunning in their flip of the finger toward an Oregon Democratic Senator.

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    The moment Cheney is impeached, a replacement will be named. There is no possible way through impeachment to end up with a President Pelosi. This is a non-starter.

    Those who are comparing this to Watergate need to rewind the tape. Support for Nixon's removal built because of John Dean, because of 18 minute gaps, because of cash payoffs in dark parking lots, and of course the killer were the White House tapes.

    There is nothing NEW that will come out. There is no NEW support that will be gained on the pro-impeachment side.

    The impeachment chorus have not even won over one of the more liberal members of the Senate and one of the most liberal members of the House, Blumenauer. You will get

    Politically reality check, folks: impeachment wouldn't gain even 150 votes in the House. You are wasting time and energy.

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    If you guys think Ron Wyden has to worry about a guy with an English major, some research skill, a computer, and taste for sarcasm

    Is there any chance that his "trust but verify" quip was sarcasm-in-kind?

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    "Is there any chance that his "trust but verify" quip was sarcasm-in-kind?"

    Almost none, I would say. He's used it too many times before, as darrel documented in a followup post. In the cases I saw documented, they were not jovial rejoinders at a town hall; they appear to be statements from the floor or prepared comments for publishing.

    The obvious example that validates "trust but verify" is his apparent reliance on the White House report, which we're still wrongly calling the Petraeus report. Anyone who thinks it's going to be an honest and serious attempt to judge progress is really, really kidding themselves.

    It is LUDICROUS to suggest that because someone is otherwise a good to great representative, that they must be immune from any public censure. I think even the Senator would agree that his constituency has the right to hold him accountable--and find him wanting--on any subject, as long as the criticism is fair.

    I got told in no uncertain terms that Wyden does NOT trust the President on Iraq, Iran and civil liberties. I must surmise then that even if the White House Report on Iraq is presented positively, he will not trust that assessment. I hope so.

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    What is your evidence, Darrel, that they haven't been active? From where I stand, Ron Wyden was against the war from the start.

    Are you sure you want to open that can of worms, Steve? Because every time I have to do some research to bolster my point is going to mean picking at Wyden's record. I think some people might prefer that it would be enough for me to state my opinion that I don't think Wyden's been active enough in opposing the war, and you could disagree with me about how active he actually has been, but if you really want to challenge my opinion, I'll do some research.

    Wyden doesn't have his news releases from 2002 online, but his 2003 news releases with Iraq in the title consist solely of items related to wasteful spending on Iraq reconstruction projects. So far as I can tell, there's nothing there in something like 130 news releases expressing opposition to the war. He "SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ENERGY BILL" and he "urges BPA to Stop Rate Increase for Power Customers by Settling NW Utility Lawsuits" -- both good things -- but nothing in that first year calling for an end to the war.

    2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 will have to wait for another day.

    Or, take a look at the timeline he distributed at the meeting Tuesday. What's the first item on there about directly ending the war? April 8, 2006. Three years after the war began. Prior to that, he'd voted to prohibit excessive deployments, examine the Iraq intelligence, reqire the president to submit reports on his plans, investigate contracts (again), and call for 2006 to be the Year of Iraqi Sovereignty (and to set a timetable, although not mandating any dates), and not to establish permanent bases.

    He didn't introduce any of the items he voted on in those first three years. He didn't co-sponsor any of the amendments he voted on in 2003, 2004 or 2005. There's a hell of a big gap in the items between June 23, 2004 and November 10, 2005. Seventeen months with nothing. And that's Wyden's own timeline.

    So yeah, I think a more active opposition to the war may have been called for, particularly since the senator -- as a member of the intelligence committee who voted against the Iraq AUMF -- presumably knew that there was no credible evidence that Iraq had been a threat to the United States.

    Lazy's your term. My description was naive.

    oh, Darrel - no i didn't read your piece. i've never been to your site. someone at BO put us together, and that's the first i've seen of your piece. and i can't get to your site, either.

    t.a. It seems that Dreamhost decided to blow a digital switch -- good timing. Google has a cached version.

    Is there any chance that his "trust but verify" quip was sarcasm-in-kind?

    Kari, I've never spoken to or met Wyden before (I assume he doesn't know me). I had a serious question. Why would he have interpreted it as sarcasm? Does he usually treat constituents he doesn't know with sarcastic remarks? He responded with a phrase he's used numerous times in the past that appears in news stories and his own press releases. He followed Reagan's stolen Russian proverb with an explanation of how he was my guy in Washington to verify that the administration wasn't getting out of line. I didn't introduce myself or say the seven or eight words in my question in a funny voice; he seemed sincere in his reply. There was no "in-kind" sarcasm in that exchange. As I said in my piece, I'm nothing if not polite.

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    I got told in no uncertain terms that Wyden does NOT trust the President on Iraq, Iran and civil liberties.

    Um, then doesn't that seem to support the idea that he was responding to Darrel's sarcasm with sarcasm of his own?

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    Aha, just read your comment, Darrel. I'll take your word for it that you didn't intend to sound sarcastic.

    Of course, that's how I originally read it in your text... after all, in the context of multi-hour meeting about how untrustworthy the Bushies are, when someone asks, "Do you trust 'em?" that might likely come off as sarcasm.

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    Aha, just read your comment, Darrel. I'll take your word for it that you didn't intend to sound sarcastic.

    Let me get this straight, Kari.

    Your contention is that Wyden was being sarcastic when he was telling me that he was my representative in Washington and that he was protecting my interests? That he didn't really mean what he was saying?

    That he was, in effect, telling me that he was not my representative in Washington and that he was not protecting my interests.

    Frankly, I liked him better when he was just wrongly trusting the Bush administration. You make it sound like he actively despises the people who elected him senator.

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    "Um, then doesn't that seem to support the idea that he was responding to Darrel's sarcasm with sarcasm of his own?"

    Um, no--it supports the idea that his staff wanted to minimize any fallout from Wyden having repeated the "trust but verify" phrase for the umpteenth time. And doesn't his support of the White House Report as an honest tool for evaluating the war support the idea that he was serious?

  • trishka (unverified)
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    Actually it takes 2/3rds, or 67 votes to convict

    okay, thanks for the correction. so that means that in addition to getting all 51 democrats to vote as a bloc (something that hasn't happened yet, but who am i to reference AA's definition of insanity) - we need not 9 but 16 republican senators to abandon their party.

    can someone who is in favor of impeachment please give me the names of 16 republicans who we could reasonably expect to abandon their party and vote for impeachment?

    if noone can, than it is a pointless discussion. it doesn't matter if you (collective you) support impeachment because you're protecting the constitution or your angry or it's about morality or whatever. bring impeachment to the table without a reasonable expectation that the votes can be brought in would be an enormous political blunder for the democrats right now.

    and mea culpa about president pelosi, were cheney to be impeached first so that an interim veep would get appointed. however, hypothetically speaking, even if we succeeded in impeaching cheney, why do we think that the appointment of a successor would be a clean, simple, process with a desirable outcome?

    i don't know how the process works; would bush have to have his appointment confirmed by the senate? if so, i could imagine all manner of potential problems associated with that. but i don't know enough about the process to speak intelligently.

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    Your contention is that Wyden was being sarcastic when he was telling me that he was my representative in Washington and that he was protecting my interests? That he didn't really mean what he was saying?

    No, that's exactly NOT what I was saying. I was saying that I think Ron might have tried to be funny. Badly.

    But then, I wasn't there. I'll step away now.

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    "can someone who is in favor of impeachment please give me the names of 16 republicans who we could reasonably expect to abandon their party and vote for impeachment?"

    I'll give you 22:

    Jeff Sessions of Alabama Saxby Chambliss of Georgia Pat Roberts of Kansas Mitch McConnell of Kentucky Susan Collins of Maine Norm Coleman of Minnesota John Sununu of New Hampshire Pete Domenici of New Mexico Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma Gordon Smith of Oregon Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Lamar Alexander of Tennessee John Cornyn of Texas Michael Enzi of Wyoming

    They're all up for re-election in 2008. They like their jobs. Voting no on conviction would imperil those jobs.

    If you think a couple are so hard headed they'll stick with President 25%, substitute Senators like Snowe, Warner, Hagel and Voinovich.

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    Actually it takes 2/3rds, or 67 votes to convict

    It only takes a majority in the House to begin impeachment proceedings in the Judiciary committee. Those proceedings would normally include impeachment hearings which would publicly make the case for impeachment.

    It only takes a majority of House Judiciary committee members to pass articles of impeachment to the full House after hearings. By that time in the process in 1974 -- five months after the House had first approved consideration of impeachment and two months after the hearings had begun -- enough evidence had been presented that passage of the articles from the House was assured (although never voted on because Nixon resigned). Senate passage was still uncertain.

    Here's what TIME reported the week the House first formally considered whether to think about impeaching Nixon in February 1974:

    "At the moment," says one G.O.P. leader, "there are not more than one or two Republicans on that [House Judiciary] committee who are inclined to support an impeachment resolution." One or two are not enough. It is generally agreed that at least six of the 17 Republicans on the committee must endorse the resolution before the Democrats dare risk sending it to the floor. Otherwise, unless one or more charges are clear-cut and proved, the Democrats would leave themselves open to the accusation of partisanship. In that case, not enough Republicans would support impeachment in the final vote —though the Democrats could force it through by simple majority—to convince the American people that the Democrats were not simply voting to oust a Republican nemesis. And if a badly divided House sent charges against the President to the Senate, the leadership there might not be able to get the necessary support—two-thirds of the members present at the time of voting—to find Nixon guilty. As matters now stand, Republican leaders feel that no more than 44 Senators would favor conviction on the weight of the evidence available thus far.

    What's pointless is arguing that you need to know the results of a jury decision before you present evidence at a trial. That's what happens through an impeachment hearing and trial. You may prefer to know the outcome -- who doesn't like a sure thing? -- but to say that it's mandatory is before any evidence is publicly presented in a manner expressly designed to build a case for impeachment is antithetical to the whole process of American law. Why bother having a trial?

    And yes, a VP has to be approved by the Senate, just like Ford was.

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    whoops, I cut some names off, it seems. That's only 15, but I know there are 22 GOP up in 2008. A few will be retirements, however.

  • LT (unverified)
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    " why do we think that the appointment of a successor would be a clean, simple, process with a desirable outcome?

    i don't know how the process works; would bush have to have his appointment confirmed by the senate? if so, i could imagine all manner of potential problems associated with that. but i don't know enough about the process to speak intelligently."

    Study what happened with Gerald Ford becoming vice president.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    torridjoe, thanks for the list. out of those 22 incumbents up for re-election, how many (besides smith) are considered vulnerable at this point? i don't know, i'm still skeptical. even with an approval rating of 25%, i'm not sure that the voters in some of those states wouldn't have a problem with their republican incumbents voting to impeach, or that a vote to not impeach would imperil them that greatly. (i'm thinking of alabama, georgia, north & south carolina, wyoming, &c).

    i know dailykos has posted lists of the republican incumbents that they consider vulnerable, and that smith was at the top of the list, but i don't recall who else.

    LT, i thought someone here might know off the top of their heads what the process for appointment is. i don't recall what happened with ford; i was 5 years old at the time. if i have time today perhaps i'll do some googling.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    sorry to double post, but following up on my own question, dailykos discusses 15 of the above 22 senate republicans up for re-election as having varying degrees of vulnerability:

    1st tier: CO, ME, MN, NH, OR 2nd tier: NM, NC, VA Hon Mention: AL, GA, ID, KY, NE, OK, TX

    so five seriously contested seats, 3 somewhat, and 7 that dems have a shot of retaking.

    in the same article he says:

    "Of course, many of these races (and others not listed) may or may not be on this list in six months depending on the quality of the candidate recruitment, the money picture, and the political climate, but a Democratic pickup of 4-8 seats is not out of the realm of possibilities"

    not that markos is the be-all and end-all authority, but he's a pretty sharp guy on this stuff. i'm just not seeing that many republicans with their seats in that much jeopardy that it would call for them to break with party on the issue of impeachment.

    what can i say, i'm still skeptical.

    (the above from "http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/3/30/143815/621" posted on 30 March of this year.)

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    My skepticism about getting to 67 votes in the Senate to impeach Bush/Cheney isn't just that they aren't there now, but that this crop of Republicans has no demonstrated pattern of choosing to protect the constitution over protecting their party -- they've had lots of chances to stand up before now. The impeachable offenses aren't hidden somewhere to be exposed in the House impeachment and Senate trial. It boggles the mind to think that at least a third of Senate Republicans would suddenly change their stripes.

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    trishka, it's like any other executive branch appointment. The president gets to pick who they want and the senate votes on whether to confirm them or not.

    There's not a lot of legacy to it. The procedure was only put in place several years after the Kennedy assassination. It hasn't been used except for Agnew's replacement by Ford.

    If Cheney was impeached after, say, November 22, a good case could be made that no VP would need to be confirmed. Johnson made it without a VP through the end of 1963 and all of 1964 while running the country, spinning up the Vietnam War, and campaigning for re-election. Humphrey wasn't sworn in until January 1965, fourteen months after Johnson had to assume the presidency. The war president's not up for re-election.

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    not that markos is the be-all and end-all authority, but he's a pretty sharp guy on this stuff. i'm just not seeing that many republicans with their seats in that much jeopardy that it would call for them to break with party on the issue of impeachment.

    That's an analysis minus the issue of impeachment. I'm saying that after actual hearings put the actual abuses on display in that format, you will see a shift of public opinion and a rejiggering of the political calculus. Why am I saying that? Because that's exactly what happened in 1974. The story that brought down Nixon was a joke to mainstream America in 1972 and much of 1973. Once the hearings started, that changed.

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    My skepticism about getting to 67 votes in the Senate to impeach Bush/Cheney isn't just that they aren't there now, but that this crop of Republicans has no demonstrated pattern of choosing to protect the constitution over protecting their party

    It's not a matter of protecting the Constitution. It's protecting their jobs. Gordon Smith didn't start squealing about Iraq until after the 2006 elections made him realize he might have to back off from his unconditional support for Bush's war project. He knew that he was going to have to start establishing a paper trail of "opposition" that extended back more than a couple of months before the 2008 election if he was going to win.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    torridjoe, i hear what you are saying. i'm just not sure i agree. largely because the abuses ARE known, both to the senators and to the public. i'm not convinced that having them laid out in the impeachment hearing format would make that much difference, honestly. we may have to agree to disagree on this.

    darrelplant, well if the senate has to confirm the veep appointment, i can see all sorts of stalling or obstructionist tactics that bush might use, in order to forestall his own impeachment. if he doesn't appoint anyone, then, hello president pelosi, right? or he could appoint someone that the senate wouldn't approve (a la harriet meiers) stalling the process. or he could appoint someone that the senate would approve, but would be a strong incumbent (a la guliani). those are three different paths i could easily see bush taking, all of which would circumvent the democrats desired end.

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    "largely because the abuses ARE known, both to the senators and to the public."

    I really am not at all sure that's true. I don't think the majority of the American public grasps that the White House was told in no uncertain terms that there was no evidence of a nuclear program, yet that's exactly what Cheney claimed. I don't think they grasp that the President admitted he flouted FISA and said he would do it again if necessary. I think they DO get that Gonzo's a liar, though, and you can imagine 17 GOP Senators turning on him, can't you? I can.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    joe, how many republicans have stepped out of line on anything relating to the bush administration, to date? maybe some are willing to start, e.g. gordon smith, but i'm just not able to envision a mad stampede. as william neuhauser said above, this crop of republicans has time & time again chosen to toe party line rather than protect the constitution, regardless of bush's popularity in the polls. his lack of popularity didn't stop them from supporting the FISA bill, did it?

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    Posted by: darrelplant | Aug 17, 2007 10:07:20 AM It only takes a majority in the House to begin impeachment proceedings in the Judiciary committee.
    Never said otherwise. I was simply correcting trishka's earlier question about who the 60 in the Senate are who would vote to convict, since the threshold for conviction is 67, not 60. I am well aware that it takes just a simply majority to pass articles of impeachment out of the House to the Senate. Same with creating a committee to hold hearings on impeachment. Simple majority in the House, which the Speaker could call fro at any time if she wanted to.
    What's pointless is arguing that you need to know the results of a jury decision before you present evidence at a trial. That's what happens through an impeachment hearing and trial. You may prefer to know the outcome -- who doesn't like a sure thing? -- but to say that it's mandatory is before any evidence is publicly presented in a manner expressly designed to build a case for impeachment is antithetical to the whole process of American law. Why bother having a trial? And yes, a VP has to be approved by the Senate, just like Ford was.

    Don't disagree with any of that. In fact I have been arguing the same side of the issue as you have for quite some time now. Your posting yesterday with the link the the 1974 report about the "criminality issue" is crucial for people to read and understand. If anyone has not done so, particularly any staffers in our elected official offices who may be reading this, I strongly urge that they get up to speed on it. Wu, who is my rep and who I have supported, really seems to be out of touch if he things that impeachment is only for "high criminality against the state".

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    Posted by: torridjoe | Aug 17, 2007 11:00:19 AM not that markos is the be-all and end-all authority, but he's a pretty sharp guy on this stuff. i'm just not seeing that many republicans with their seats in that much jeopardy that it would call for them to break with party on the issue of impeachment. That's an analysis minus the issue of impeachment. I'm saying that after actual hearings put the actual abuses on display in that format, you will see a shift of public opinion and a rejiggering of the political calculus. Why am I saying that? Because that's exactly what happened in 1974. The story that brought down Nixon was a joke to mainstream America in 1972 and much of 1973. Once the hearings started, that changed.

    Exactly. And from a pure political/ electoral view, defending Mr. 19% Dick "Go Fuck Yourself" Cheney is an electoral third-rail. This forces any and all GOP members (particularly those seeking re-election) to make the lose/lose choice of defending Bush/Cheeny and getting killed at the polls or voting to impeach and pissing off their base. It is a lose/lose for them and win/win for us.

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    triska, I don't see how any of those things would forestall Bush's impeachment.

    The GOP leadership would likely have some say in any choice for VP. I don't think Sen. Brownback or Sen. McCain would be particularly happy to have their campaigns derailed by having any of the other presidential candidates slotted into the VP seat and they would actually get to vote. There are four sitting Democratic senators in the running for the White House right now, as well, and I can't see them or their supporters confirming any of the GOP candidates as VP.

    Bush can be impeached without a VP in place. And yes, that would lead to the potential of a President Pelosi, and yes that might mean Bush wouldn't be convicted in the Senate, but it wouldn't stop hearings from taking place. Hearings on Bush and Cheney could take place simultaneously, just like their "talk" with the 9/11 Commission did. If he was convicted and removed from office, and Pelosi took charge, it wouldn't make any difference to the electoral camp because it's pretty late in the season even right now for someone to jump in, and I suspect she'd be pretty busy.

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    lestatdelc, I know where you've been standing, I quoted that line from a post by trishka not realizing that it was originally from one of your posts.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    lestatdelc, i'll say this one more time and then drop it:

    if supporting mr. 19% approval cheney is such a terrible third rail for republican senators, why have they all gone along with everything the bush administration has put in front of them to date? that's what noone has convinced me of, this leap from 100% total compliance to a stampede exodus, just because hearings are held.

    and darrellplant, i'm also still not envisioning how this appointment process would lead to a satisfactory outcome for the democrats. if bush wants to throw a monkey wrench in the works to keep from getting impeached, he could. and that monkey wrench comes in a variety of flavors. and there's no reason to think that he would cooperate, since he hasn't yet.

    and either the specter of president pelosi is on the table or it isn't. you all can't argue it both ways.

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    if supporting mr. 19% approval cheney is such a terrible third rail for republican senators, why have they all gone along with everything the bush administration has put in front of them to date?

    Because they weren't up for re-election, and there was no precedent for them losing in 2006, and no massively covered set of hearings? You have six GOP Senators from last year who are no longer on Capitol Hill, and 22 more coming up next year. Several are not considering retirement because they want more time with their families...they are worried about losing, or serving in a severely ugly situation for Republicans in 2009.

    Make some substitutions in your question: "If Republicans didn't realize Nixon was a warmonger in a failed war where opinion had turned against him, why would they vote for impeachment?"

  • trishka (unverified)
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    i think comparing nixon to bush is apples to oranges. i'm sorry, and this is the last i'll post on this subject, because i don't think we're doing much to change each other's minds on this, but:

    this whole conversation keeps bringing to my mind that old far side cartoon where the cows are standing around grazing in a pasture and one cow looks up and says "wait a minute, this is GRASS! we've been eating GRASS all this time."

    like, the republican senators are going to look up from their bovine grazing and say "wait a minute, they're CROOKS! these are CROOKS we've been supporting all this time."

  • clabber_grrl (unverified)
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    Wyden's Town Halls are just focus groups where he figures out how to spin what he's going to do anyway. Don't waste your time.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    clabber_grrl,

    I wouldn't diss an elected official for meeting with constituents not holding contribution checks. Wyden may not agree, but he hears.

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    "like, the republican senators are going to look up from their bovine grazing and say "wait a minute, they're CROOKS! these are CROOKS we've been supporting all this time.""

    Yeah, I don't think you're getting it. It has little to do with realizing that the administration is crooked, and much to do with realizing that the crooked administration threatens to cost them their parking spot at National Airport, and those cool golf trips to Scotland.

    I fully expect Republicans to stand closely by the President...right until it becomes clear that doing so is toxic to them. Although I don't put any stock in the artificial timeline set up by the "Petraeus" report, their mere return from a month's worth of angry town halls may have a softening effect. (If you don't believe Republican voters would slam Republican politicians over Iraq, think immigration.)

  • trishka (unverified)
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    but it's anyone's guess whether or not the President is that toxic to them. given kos's analysis of hopefully picking up 4-8 seats - without impeachment - i don't see impeachment as being something that would drive an additional 8-12 repub incumbents into fear for their seats. clearly you do, and we'll probably just have to agree to disagree on this.

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    trishka, there are a lot of Republicans (and even a good number of Democrats) who still think Nixon was railroaded out of office. Dick Cheney for instance. Trent Lott was a member of the House Judiciary committee who voted against all three of the impeachment articles. Nixon won something like 65% of the popular vote in the general election just about a year before the impeachment proceedings got under way. Democratic politicians rushed to embrace the guy whose attorney general and re-election campaign chief went to prison, whose VP had to resign, whose staff went to jail, and who was forced to resign himself because they were scared of that wacky George McGovern. Who knows what horrors he might have unleashed on the nation?!!

    So you're right, W is no Nixon. But the Republicans in 1974 didn't think Nixon did anything wrong then and they still don't. That's why they support Bush the way they do. The buckled when they came to the point wher ethey had to put their own careers ahead their loyalty to Nixon. Sure none of them want to see Nancy Pelosi in the White House, but if she was there they could sit and attack her all day long. If the alternative starts to look like they'd lose really, really big in 2008, then they'll put their own hides ahead of Bush's.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I agree with this, Tom, "I wouldn't diss an elected official for meeting with constituents not holding contribution checks. Wyden may not agree, but he hears."

    It is time to get real about this--how many of you Blue Oregonians know a registered Republican? Or someone registered outside a major party?

    As it happens I talked with a friend who is currently registered R but considering registering D for the primaries next year. He has been involved in a few campaigns (one statewide Dem., one friend who ran locally as an R in a primary which had something to do with his current registration). What with work and family concerns he hadn't been keeping up on much else lately ("Hey! I see from my answering machine that you called in July!"). He didn't know both Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley were actually running for US Senate.

    When I asked if he thought it was more important to start impeachment proceedings against President Bush, or the VP, or the AG----or work on putting an end to the Iraq War, he said "ending the war and getting some credible leadership in there!".

    For those who say his views don't match what polls say, I asked him about that. He reminded me of the time he worked for a major pollster, and his view that people don't always tell pollsters what they really believe. A measure everyone was sure would fail because of poll results actually passed, he reminded me.

    If you want to move opinion, then start talking to Republicans about your views and engage them in lively debate.

    But don't blame Ron Wyden for everything. This friend thought it was stupid for anyone to attack Wyden, as he has stood up for Oregonians and against Bush in a variety of areas.

    Darrel uses the operative 2 letter word:

    "IF the alternative starts to look like they'd lose really, really big in 2008" (my capitalization).

    There is no way of knowing how each and every voter feels on these issues (or if they are even paying attention such things as work and family concerns or being on vacation).

    As has been said many times before, there is Blue Oregon, and there is the big wide world out there. Don't confuse the 2. If you believe impeachment is the most important thing that can happen, engage your non-political friends in discussion and find out what they think on the subject.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    LT,

    If you read my comments here and in related posts, you will find that I do not attack Wyden, beyond noting that he adheres to the AIPAC line on Israel/Palestine - something that almost all members of Congress do. I'd like to see him out front on impeachment, but that is not an attack [Pelosi's another matter. I think Ron is one of the most progressive Senators across the spectrum of issues. He could be better though, IMHO.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Sorry you mistook my meaning, Tom. What I meant was "really like Tom's comment, really dislike those who claim the vast majority of Americans want impeachment based on poll results".

    I suspect there are lots of people who: a) are thinking about something else than politics in Aug.2007 b)are among the folks who do think about politics, and just might believe there are higher priorities than impeachment--such as ending the war and electing Democrats in 2008.

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    The Iraq occupation is not a war. Progressives understand this distinction and do not use the term "war" to describe the illegal and immoral invasion of a defenseless sovereign nation. (The Nazis invaded and occupied Holland; they said they were fighting a "war of liberation".)

    The framing of issues in right-wing terms is a serious matter. Far more people would be in favor of a withdrawal of all U.S. forces (not troops), to home (not re-deployment), where they could participate in the impeachment of those most responsible for their betrayal in an invasion and occupation of a defenseless sovereign nation if we would state it in these accurate and truthful terms. One wonders why Democrats would want to frame it otherwise.

  • Marcia (unverified)
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    Darrel: "Are you fucking kidding, Senator?" I'm nothing if not polite. I didn't say that.

    I'd say it's way past time for anyone to be polite. It's ok to say hogwash when that's what you're being fed.

    T.A.......And as for morality not being part of politics, I say loud and clear HOGWASH! Morality should guide every area of life, and that should include politics first and foremost. Double HOGWASH!

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Harry K makes an important point. We have imperial occupation in Iraq, and resistance to that. Some peace organizers seem to believe that the word "war" helps rally the protest movement. To the contrary, use of the term solidifies nationalistic tendencies among those not very informed and helps give this crime an aura of honor.

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    It is time to get real about this--how many of you Blue Oregonians know a registered Republican? Or someone registered outside a major party?

    When I read comments like this and people saying that people need to get out of their "liberal comfort zone" I wonder how much right-wing mythology you folks have bought into.

    Even in Multnomah County a quarter of the voters in 2004 voted for George W. Bush. Just under half of the registered voters in the county at the time were Democrats. About 20% were registered Republicans. Another 24% or so were registered independent.

    If one out of every five voters in the county -- the most Democratic county in the state by far -- is a Republican and one out of every four voters in the county voted for Bush, if you know ten random people who vote from around the county then you are likely to know a couple who voted for Bush and are Republicans. Neighbors, co-workers, etc. This idea that Democrats live in some sort of hermetic dome encapsulated in the hometown of Lars Larsen, where Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly have had devoted radio audiences for years is just bizarre.

    That's just Multnomah County. The odds are even higher in the rest of the state.

    Oh, and what about people's families? One of the quintessential stories of the '60s was the "generation gap" wasn't it? Long screaming matches over the dining room table over the Vietnam War and Nixon? Are all those parents dead already? Did all the kids from that generation turn into hippies? (The answer is "no"). You don't think people have siblings or uncles or cousins or some other family member whose politics don't agree with yours? There's a long tradition of jokes about households where spouses cancel out their votes, and I've known at least a couple of those couples personally.

    47% of the voters in the state voted for Bush in 2004. If you've got family in the rest of the state, there's an awfully good chance (if they voted) that some of them voted Republican. And if you've got family who voted in the rest of the country, since he presumably won the election with more than 50%, the odds are even higher.

    Why is it that the "clear thinkers" (just FYI, that's an example of sarcasm -- where words are used in an ironic manner to imply the opposite of their actual meaning) always think it's Democrats who live in a bubble and not the other way around?

  • Ted (unverified)
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    TRUST BUT VERIFY

    So when an event like 9-11 comes along and the opposition party is immediately shoving this prescripted document of draconian and potentially unConstitutional legislation in your face, you're going to TRUST and pass the legislation, then VERIFY after it's been passed? And then what, Ron? There have been many documented abuses of the PATRIOT Act, but I don't see where the Dems have been agressive about amending or repealing it.

    What if you TRUST the Bush Admin (which screwed up all national security response on 911 and turned Katrina into a nightmare) to handle the plans for martial law, but then as Rep DeFazio did, when you go to VERIFY, the White House says, "Sorry, no can do?"

    What if you TRUST attorney appointments, but then when you hold congressional investigations to VERIFY, they just don't turn over documents or respond to subpoenas to testify?

    What if you TRUST the President and give authorization to use force in Iraq, but then when you try to VERIFY the intelligence used for leading the US to war, they just classify it for national security reasons?

    Trust but verify? Can anybody provide a quote from Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, etc, where they implored future Americans to "trust then verify?" Quite the opposite, I think.

  • Dr. Feelgood (unverified)
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    "Even though Wyden has been named one of the dumbest members of Congress, he is something of an idiot savant when it comes to having his cake and eating it too. Wyden will go on to more timber PAC and other corporate money, yet he will enjoy high LCV ratings and Sierra Club endorsements. Gordon Smith should cry foul. They have nearly identical records on National Forest policy (log more), yet Wyden pockets money from both Big Timber and Big Green." (from: http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly11082003.html )

    Wyden's position on health care is equally corrupt. While worshipful Democrats believe the hype that he's too busy trying to bring health care to Oregonians to bring war criminals to justice, the insurance industry and Big Pharma rejoice at his corporatist "plan" to further enrich them at our expense.

    Single payer systems, as advocated by Michael Moore in "Sicko", can be set up to create policy boards that require outcome-based research, thereby continuously refining medical practice in ways that raise our incredibly poor current outcomes and decrease costs at the same time. The idea that insurance companies are necessary for this is as stupid as the belief that our current militarism is necessary because we would otherwise be unable to defend ourselves (probably also a Wydenist argument).

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Dr. Feelgood,

    If you would spend some time talking with Wyden, you would realize that he is an intelligent person.

    On the issues you mention, logging and health care, you and I likely have similar views. However, there are many decisions regarding many issues that face members of Congress, and Wyden has been good on most of them, and has been out front on several that do not have wealthy interests egging him on. There is no one in Congress that has a perfect voting record from my viewpoint [perhaps Kucinich does], but Wyden is not bad. Criticize him where you believe he is lacking, but please look at his record in total before judging him hopeless.

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    I don't support Mr. Feelgood's comments at all. I was convinced that Wyden's health care plan is a reasonable step, one that gives millions of people what they need in an equitable fashion. And he's certainly not stupid. He is very intelligent, thoughtful and strongly ethical.

    I've made my differences clear in no short measure here, but I have to strenuously disagree with some of the other characterizations of him.

  • Dr. Feelgood (unverified)
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    Tom, you're far too civil. We have to hold these corporatists' feet to the fire and resist the hillarization of the party.

    I don't pretend to be able to "judge him hopeless". If Wyden becomes re-born as a progressive, I'll support him, but until that day of redemption, I'll have to continue to prick the balloon of his pretense.

    You yourself link him to "the AIPAC line", as if that explains and exonerates him for his support of Israeli crimes. It is Wyden, not AIPAC, who is sworn to defend the Constitution and to represent the highest principles of the citizens of Oregon.

    What of the many times he voted for Iraq funding while he claimed to be against the "war"? How about CAFTA? What about his vote on the rights of detainees at GITMO (William Ansardi on Democracy Now: "The fifth vote was Ron Wyden. I'm not sure whether it's fair to make a joke about Wyden because I'm honestly not sure he knew what he was voting for.")

    Other posters on this thread have done a good job listing all the ways Wyden is failing us. The fact that he is better than many others in Congress is reason to mourn.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Dr. Feelgood,

    There is much reason to mourn, I agree. This nation is going to hell in a hand basket.

    I have been involved in politics closely enough and long enough to know the pressures that make elected officials into "corporatists". As we used to say in the sixties, "it's the system, man."

    Ron Wyden is part of it, to be sure, but so would anyone elected to replace him. That doesn't mean he should escape criticism for his failings, but we need to put matters in context. I don't see much chance, under the current system, of getting a US Senator from Oregon much more progressive than Wyden. I'd like a Senator who supports an end to corporate personhood, halving [for starters] the military budget, working toward the end of nuclear weapons, national health care, a living-wage minimum wage, a "moon project" plus for sustainable economy, a large increase in funding for public education at all levels, the diversification of media ownership, repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, and elimination of the CIA, NSA, and several other outlaw intelligence organizations. Without ending the present system of funding elections in this country, I doubt I will see any of these.

    I could condemn Ron Wyden for not meeting my idea of good governance, but what would I gain from that? I'd rather work toward improving his stance on as many issues as possible - even if that does take some screaming now and then.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I'd rather work toward improving his stance on as many issues as possible - even if that does take some screaming now and then.

    You're striking my tone, TC. I think Wyden was looking for a few more pats on the back, given his better than average stance on Iraq. The problem at the town hall was that most people there just weren't complacent enough. They want more action. As for me, I want Wyden to call his congressman and demand he support impeachment hearings.

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    Hey folks... this is a thread on Iraq, not on health care. Please stay on topic. There are plenty of other threads on health care -- and if none of 'em turn you on, post a guest column.

  • Dr. Feelgood (unverified)
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    "...an end to corporate personhood, halving [for starters] the military budget, working toward the end of nuclear weapons, national health care, a living-wage minimum wage, a "moon project" plus for sustainable economy, a large increase in funding for public education at all levels, the diversification of media ownership, repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, and elimination of the CIA, NSA, and several other outlaw intelligence organizations."

    I agree with all of that.

    And here's the thing, Tom: If you look at the PIPA/Knowledge Networks Poll (March 7, 2005) (http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/FP_MakingProcess/Consensus_Jan05/Consensus_Jan05_rpt.pdf) on the public's priorities for the federal budget, and if you research the polling data for the non-budget-related items on your list, I think you'll find that most people agree with us on most of this. We are mainstream. It's the parishiltonstream media and the corporate party leadership that insists that we're "far left" and should be marginalized.

    Most of us want the same things. The problem is that guys like Wyden fail to represent us, and our willingness to settle for their nonrepresentation threatens our survival and the survival of the planet.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Dr. Feelgood,

    I have seen several polls that suggest that Americans hold pretty progressive basic issue positions. So, it's natural to wonder why Wyden's mix of liberal and pro-business positions puts him on the progressive end of the congressional scale. It's really pretty straightforward.

    It's very difficult to get elected running on these popular progressive positions because elections are, for the most part, decided by the money candidates attract. This cannot be overemphasized. The correlation between money and electoral success if very, very high. The interests who give most of the money do not share the publics progressive views, and they are not going to support candidates who do. Add to this that the interests that control the media have lots in common with the interests who fund campaigns [media corps give big themselves], so the framework for viewing candidates tends to favor the same candidates that big contributors favor. It's a rigged game made to look like democracy.

    Completely progressive candidates don't win primaries so they don't get to the general for us to choose. If you don't play the contribution game, few people ever learn your name, let alone your platform. The media will either ignore you or suggest you are not a serious candidate. If Ron Wyden starting sounding and voting like a member of the Z Magazine editorial board, his contributions would dry up, and he would be vulnerable to a challenger who would attracts large amounts of money from those who want to keep Congress corporately oriented.

    Unfortunately, campaign finance reform is almost impossible to do well at the federal level, since the foxes are truly guarding the hen house. At least in Oregon we have the initiative process [for a while longer, at least], but even here, liberals join conservatives in protecting the status quo by opposing reform.

    The people with influence in politics are people who have a vested interest in maintaining the money game. It's like expecting leadership from arms manufacturers in the quest for world peace. It's like asking Rupert Murdoch how we should promote diversity in media ownership.

    Given all this, I don't see the sense of dismissing as worthless, a Senator who manages to be better than most. Criticize his votes, actions, and inactions, but realize that someone who unseats Wyden is likely to be less progressive than he is.

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    I'm a progressive Democrat and the more I hear the screams for impeachment by two or three people on Blue Oregon, I get sickened by it. I tend to agree with LT about impeachment that our energy is better spent on getting things done like ending the war, electing more Democrats in Congress and a Democrat in the White House.

    No matter how you look at it, the impeachment of Cheney and Bush is likely to cause a constitutional crisis despite how easy those who advocate impeachment make it sound.

    As I have said before, I believe no matter how much impeachment is suppose to be a constitutional check, it seen as a political one.

    I would however support the ousting of the Gonzo the Clown (Jeff Merkely sent an email earlier today if anyone didn't recieve it) which would essentially cut the Bush Administration off at the legs and force them to go through the confirmation process for a new AG.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    David, don't fret too much how "two or three" of us are spending our energy. You do your thing and wait until Bush leaves office for the war to end (snark ray set on "stun") I'm sure the Democrats will get right on it.) We'll just give a shot at ending the war sooner.

    It's week five of the protest in front of the Portland offices of Rep. Earl Blumenauer begun by Veterans for Peace calling for impeachment hearings. The action can boast some minor success. Already after week three, the congressman was promising to hold a public forum on the topic in the District before heading back to DC. As of today, Blumenauer's aides are confirming the plan to hold a forum at the end of the month. "It's just a matter of scheduling," said one constituent who has been in contact with the congressman. The official word is to keep an eye on Blumenauer.House.Gov.
  • Dr. Feelgood (unverified)
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    David English : "...the impeachment of Cheney and Bush is likely to cause a constitutional crisis..."

    What you fail to understand is that we NOW have a Constitutional crisis, and impeachment is the SOLUTION to it.

    Tom C: You seem to be an intelligent person, but you keep doing the same thing over and over (i.e., support hacks like Wyden). If Wyden is the best we can have under the present system, then we must destroy the present system.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Dr. Feelgood wrote:

    "...we must destroy the present system."

    It seems that may be necessary if profound reform is not possible.

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