Last Straws

The Scooter Libby decision seems to have driven a few people over the impeachment edge, for the moment at least. Because they’re so mad about it. I just have to think, that of all the things you could be mad about, of all the things this administration has done that overreach authority and abuse power, Scooter Libby’s commutation is about the most piss-poor excuse for impeachment I can think of. This was my response to one “last straw” rant.

You know, while I respect the urge to impeach, I really don’t think it should be done because Bush and his buddies are smug, or that you or someone in Congress has finally reached the breaking point. Impeachment isn’t a tool for retribution or payback. It actually has no penalty. It is not a replacement for criminal or civil trials. What it does is remove the reins of power from someone Congress deems unfit to hold them. That’s not punishment. The power belongs to the people of the United States, and if their representatives decide to remove an officer of the United States, that is entirely within their rights and obligations.

It’s the Constitutionally-prescribed method for preserving the democratic form of government in the United States of America. It’s the bulwark that’s supposed to shield the country from rule by fiat (small “f”, not the Italian car company).

Which is why I — as a long-standing advocate of impeachment — have been wondering at the attitude of a lot of people on and on the other side of the fence for a long time now. Because for quite a while we’ve been derided as the crazies, the irrational fringe Bush-hating leftists who didn’t have a lick of sense about the “reality” of impeachment. Sure, there are some nutjobs on the impeachment train, just as there were nutjobs against the Iraq war. David Duke was against the Iraq war. That didn’t make the position inherently wrong any more than people who thought Bush was the Anti-Christ made impeachment wrong.

So I have to shake my head a bit that your anger is what drives you into the arms of the impeachment crazies. It should be common sense. It should be a rational decision, based on a knowledge of the facts and the realization that another eighteen months of this administration could be very, very ugly for America and the world.

It’s irresponsible not to support a move to make the administration accountable. It might not work. But there’s no reason to think that things are going to get any better in 2009, or that the Democrats have a lock on the White House, or that they’ll continue to hold majorities in the Congress. A lot can happen between now and November 2008.