Friday, July 06, 2007

How the Good Guys Finally Won

While Woodward and Bernstein were getting the glory and sales after Nixon took the hint, the book that really explained how RMN's near-impeachment happened was written by Jimmy Breslin--How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer. The rope and scaffold for Nixon weren't initially prepared for him. They were prepared for Vice-President Spiro Agnew, who eventually resigned for heavy duty bribery while governor of MD before he could be impeached. But, as Breslin noted, Tip O'Neill, in getting the machinery ready for Agnew, got people used to the idea of impeachment, past all the hand-wringing and "oh, no, it won't work" and "what will it do to the country?" that similar hand-wringers are now going through. So, when the time came for Nixon to face the Congressional music, the legislators and the public, and Nixon, were psychologically prepped and the possibility was real. A masterful bit of politicking by O'Neill, who knew how the game was played and, imagine this, was willing and ready to play it.

Clearly, Breslin's book has relevancy now. I'm not going to rehash and get in the mud with the arguments that claim "we can't win so let's not do it" and "it'll divert us from other things" and, my favorite at a time when laws and the Constitution are what Bushnev lines the bird cage with, "defund him" (as if the Busheviks and the Supreme Court will buy that). If impeachment weren't meant for exactly this, Congress' one power not subject to reversal by the other two branches, then let's instead get rid of the damn clause altogether because its only use will be for the right-wingers to fraud up another prosecution and coup in case of blow-job or littering. If we really want to stop an Iran war, then make President Cheney play defense.

And I mean President Cheney. We don't need any more proof that he's the driving force of the worst (and it's all terrible) of this administration so go after him. The latest polls show majority support for it, and an investigation would allow all the necessary questions from the beginning of this administration to be explored EVEN IF THE CHARGES NEVER BRING IMPEACHMENT OR GET ACCEPTED BY THE SENATE. He needs to be crippled as severely and quickly as possible and the magical defunding won't do that. The Dems can demonstrate the testosterone that Digby (surprisingly ineffectual on this question) always advocates, show they stand for making the government responsible again, and shoot holes in anyone who tries to defend Cheney and the rest of the apparatchik in the 2008 elections. As well as put everyone on notice that there are criminals setting up that election. And the downside? "We might lose?" "All the Dems have to do is defund the administration WHICH THEY KEEP REFUSING TO DO???" It would contribute to impeachment as a political mechanism rather than one that should only be used when . . . an intern flashes a thong???

We know how to do it. O'Neill showed us. The pluses far outweigh the minuses, in fact, provide the weapons that the Dems have been lacking. Leadership there? Maybe not. But the other choices (waiting for a 2008 election that will likely have more than a few fears led by Cheney and manipulations foisted by Rove? expecting Bushnev and his "unitary executive" Supreme Court to give in to legislative supremacy?) are worse. Oh, and there's that explicit statement and precedent that no other option provides--WHAT THESE GUYS HAVE DONE IS NOT ONLY WRONG, IT CAN NEVER BE PERMITTED AGAIN. Go send a copy of Breslin's book to every Congresscritter who's demonstrated even an ounce of guts and start the scaffold.

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