Impeachment: a duty, not a choice

David Swanson already took on Michael Tomasky's anti-Impeachment op-ed in the Post, but allow me a crack.

For starters, Tomasky acknowledges that Bush has committed impeachable offenses.

There's little disagreement among liberals about the substance. If any administration since President Richard M. Nixon's has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, surely it's this one; if lying about consensual sexual activity fit the bill, then surely lying about the reason for a war does, too.

So it is not substance that bothers the liberal Tomasky, but politics. He writes: The political case, though, is another question entirely." Now I disagree with Tomasky's assertion that impeachment will be a bad political move for Democrats and have, in fact, argued that it could be a smart political maneuver.

Impeachment is not merely your Constitutional duty, but also a tactically wise political move. There is far more to gain by trying, even if it ends in failure, then by “running out the clock” and waiting for the nightmare to come to a painful conclusion. Impeachment will strengthen the party and its prospects for the future, rather than diminish it.

But even if I am wrong, even if the Democrats stand to lose politically by trying, that is hardly justification for ignoring your constitutional duty. The Constitution is more important than politics. The rule of law is more important than politics. And when Congressional Democrats, like Pelosi, decide to take part of the Constitution "off the table" they are neglecting their oath.

As John Nichols noted:

On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any president has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools. They don't give them up. The only way we take tools out of that box is if we sanction George Bush and Dick Cheney now and say the next president cannot govern as these men have.

Bush is unambiguously guilty of impeachable offenses. Of lying us into war; of excessive use of signing statements; of spying on Americans and on and on and on. Impeachment is a duty, not a choice. And if Democrats fail to see that, and allow the Constitution to be defecated on in the name of political gain, they fail the country.