Saturday, December 09, 2006

How Impeachment Partisans Are Like Iraq War Partisans --
Posted to Daily Kos:

If you've ever wondered why we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway, I'm the kind of guy who wonders instead why liberals opposed to Wal-Mart complain about the decline of traditional mom-and-pop stores while conservatives opposed to gay marriage complain about the decline of traditional moms and pops. So, is it any wonder that I turn my eye toward comparing supporters of impeaching that miserable failure George W. Bush to supporters of that miserable failure's miserable failure in Iraq?

Before you get your panties in a bunch and start throwing pie, this isn't a claim of moral equivalence between the aims of the two groups. I don't think that the validity of impeachment or the Iraq war is particularly relevant to this discussion. Rather, this is an example of my overarching social thesis that right and left ideologues think alike and differ mainly on their starting assumptions (with liberals having, on average, better starting assumptions than conservatives).

What is victory for the Democratic Party? Was it retaking Congress in 2006? Is it retaking the White House in 2008? For some on the left, it seems like the only true victory condition for Democrats is impeaching George W. Bush, that the top priority is the a complete and humiliating repudiation of this administration's failed foreign policy.

With tons of diaries about impeachment, the rhetoric has gone way up. Ironically, this call for impeachment reminds me of the conservative drum-beating for a war in Iraq. Just as some claimed that the so-called "War on Terror" and its faux extension into Iraq was absolutely necessary to save American civilization, so do others seem to claim that impeachment is absolutely necessary to preserve American government and the rule of law.

Just as some Iraq war supporters seemed to think that there are no lessons to be learned from Vietnam and harken back to the glories of World War II, so do some impeachment supporters seem to think that there are no lessons to be learned from the Clinton impeachment and harken back to the glories of taking down Richard Nixon.

Critics of the invasion and occupation of Iraq as well as critics of making impeachment the centerpiece of the Democratic agenda cite pragmatic concerns about whether or not the stated end goal (a happy, pro-U.S. Iraqi democracy, George W. Bush out of office) can even be reached. Critics of those critics pooh-pooh these concerns, saying that if enough people get on board , it's a slam-dunk and it will the fault of the spineless if things fall apart. I'm just waiting for a pro-impeachment diarist to claim that not impeaching Bush is un-American amd treasonous. You're getting there when you have people calling kos "disgusting"

Let's take a hypothetical. Let's assume that a serious drive toward impeachment occurs, spurred by the netroots. Then it stalls, and it becomes clearly obvious that impeachment isn't happening. Would impeachment partisans be willing to move on and accept defeat? Or would they be as petulant as Bush himself?

I recently returned from the Philippines, where the president there has faced continual attempts to remove her, both legal and extra-legal. On my last trip, I was told that some politicians had siezed upon the president's liver problems to claim that she was a drunk and should be impeached for that.

Would supporters of impeachment end up like this, grasping at whatever is possible, hoping that something sticks? Do they have a Bush-like belief in their own self-righteousness that will lead them to victory? If you lack the imagination to believe that failure is possible on impeachment, if you feel that impeachment is in your grasp because the march of history is on your side, then I would argue that you suffer from the same intellectual failures as neoconservative war planners.

My own feelings on impeachment are thus. It's shouldn't be "off the table," but it is also not a "slam dunk" where Democrats are dfinitely able to impeach Bush and probably remove him from office if they only try hard enough. Investigations should certainly be done, and the question of impeachment should be constantly re-evaluated based on what evaluations turn up, but we shouldn't try to misrepresent by too much what we learn in Congressional hearings. A "smoking gun" is no guarantee. "High crimes and misdemeanors" is the threshhold for impeachment. I would argue that mere stupidity and incompetence are not impeachable.
(7:59 PM)


Blogger Causal said...

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Be a part of history and have a merry impeachment this season!

2:18 AM  

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