Some time ago, I came across this poll, which I found quite interesting as it posed the following question to a mixed sample of Republicans, Democrats and Independents:
Which one of these four statements do you agree with about President Bush?Using weighted averages to combine Democrats and Independents, 43.6% think President Bush should be impeached (No. 4), and 31.0% think President Bush does not warrant impeachment (Numbers 1 and 2 combined). This leaves a striking 25.4% in the grey area of believing President Bush has abused his powers as president which rises to the level of being impeachable offenses under the Constitution, but he should not be impeached!
1. President Bush has not abused his powers as president.
2. President Bush has abused his powers as president, but the abuses are not serious enough to warrant impeachment under the Constitution.
3. President Bush has abused his powers as president which rises to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution, but he should not be impeached.
4. President Bush has abused his powers as president which rises to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution and he should be impeached and removed from office.
How can 25.4% think he’s committed impeachable offenses, but should not be impeached? While I suppose there are a few Democrats and Independents who would say the “War on Terror” justifies some unconstitutional and therefore technically “impeachable” acts, my theory is that the vast majority of Democrats and Independents in this category simply don’t want to go through the distraction of an impeachment process! In other words, it’s not that they don’t think Bush should be held accountable, they just don’t want to it to happen while he’s President!
Much of the growing sense of frustration among Democratic and Independent voters, I think, can be attributed to a Congress that seems to be slowly but surely covering the tracks of accountability for any illegal acts on the part of the Bush Administration.
Approving Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, after he refused to commit to labeling waterboarding as (illegal) torture while indicating he would enforce any future laws enacted against waterboarding, seems clearly calculated to “cover the ass” of those who have already authorized waterboarding!
Granting immunity to telecoms for assisting in illegal wiretapping, which unfortunately still seems to have the support of all but a few principled members of Congress, seems clearly calculated to “cover the ass” of those who have already authorized illegal wiretapping!
Clearly the Congress, although purportedly controlled by an “opposition” party, are largely willing to allow a slow, but inevitable, legal whitewashing of a Presidency that has led the country into disaster upon disaster upon disaster, using obvious lies and seemingly multiple illegal acts!
So why can’t one of the current Democratic contenders make a play for the real middle – those Democrats and Independents who want accountability, but without the sturm and drang of an impeachment process?
Why can’t one of the candidates simply promise that the first thing he will do as President, is to have his Attorney General appoint a Special Prosecutor to thoroughly investigate any potential crimes committed during the Bush Administration? The goal would be to restore faith in our own principles as a nation, and our moral authority in the World.
Up until now, I’ve been an uncommitted, but hopeful, supporter of Barack Obama. I’ve liked some things about John Edwards, but have often felt that his occasionally over-the-top lawyerly posturing undercuts his message, while Obama has a characteristic of openness and sincerity that would be desperately needed after eight years of George W. Bush.
However, Obama has campaigned on a promise to “turn the page” on the Bush Era, which doesn’t exactly telegraph the intention to “clean up the mess.” I don’t want someone promising to sweep it all under a rug or shove it in a closet before running a clean shop. I want someone who is going to clean out the closets and toss out all the dirt before running a clean shop!
And that’s where Edwards could get me to support him whole-heartedly – by promising to do what the current Democratic Congress won’t do, holding the Bush administration accountable for their illegal acts as soon as they leave office and can be prosecuted for crimes they may have committed!