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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rep. McDermott Calls for Impeachment of the Vice President

posted by on June 28 at 17:25 PM

Seattle’s Congressman joins Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who filed articles of impeachment against the vice president back in April.

Mr. Speaker:

It is time for a new exit strategy, one that removes the Vice President of the United States from office- voluntarily if he chooses, but by impeachment if he stonewalls.

The time has come for the Vice President to go. Our nation and our national security interests at home and abroad cannot afford to have this Vice President one heartbeat away from the presidency.

As it stands now, the Vice President’s damage to U.S. interests, security, system of government, and our position at home and abroad will take years to overcome.

As my constituents in the State of Washington’s 7th Congressional District know, I have struggled mightily with this matter for a long time. In grave matters facing our nation, I believe conscience and a deep respect for our system of government should guide our actions and words.

I didn’t hesitate to speak truth to power before the invasion of Iraq, despite the bitter partisan attacks that I knew would follow.

I have no doubt that I’ll be targeted for a new round of shelling after these remarks…

(The rest of the remarks are in the jump.)

The intent of this Administration, and this Vice President, has been to silence all dissent, and it always happens the same way...relentless attacks until people ask themselves--- do I want to subject myself to that kind of hell if I speak out?

Fear is what kept this Administration in office in 2004, and fear is the only public discourse this Administration understands- and practices.

Why debate when you can dictate?
Why follow the law when you act like you are above the law?

For months I have believed that impeachment was a dire course of action. Over these same months, I have seen the Vice President repeatedly drive our nation into increasingly dire situations, in Iraq, in Iran, and within our own country as he tramples over the Constitution like it is a doormat.

For months, I have considered if America would best be served by bringing forth articles of impeachment against the Vice President. I kept asking myself: Is the Vice President's conduct that dire, because impeachment is the closest thing there is to internment on political death row.

The Founders intended impeachment to be used when those running the government forgot they worked for the people. And, the Founders intended impeachment to be used when those running government acted as if they were above the law.

When you look at the record you have to conclude that the Vice President has placed himself above the law.

He holds himself accountable only to special interests, who meet with him in secret, with no record kept of who was there, what was discussed or what promises the Vice President made.

For the last four years, the Vice President has refused to allow routine office inspections by a federal agency regarding the safe handling of America's secrets. The Vice President defies the Information Security Oversight Agency claiming that he is not part of the executive branch of government.

When a sitting Vice President claims that he is not part of the executive branch of government to which he was elected, it is time to remove him from office.

The Vice President holds himself accountable to no one. He ordered the Secret Service to destroy visitor logs. As we have learned in the Washington Post, the Vice President has circumvented every check and balance inside the White House to force through his own agenda: to spy on Americans through illegal wiretaps, creating the Gulag Guantanamo, and subverting civil liberties and free speech at every turn.

Since the President permits this flagrant disregard for the Constitution, it is up to the Congress to act and defend the American people.

With each new revelation, America has seen only glints of what has been happening in total secrecy.

For all that we don't know, this much we do know: the Vice President holds himself above the law. And, it is time for the Congress to enforce the law. I believe the evidence is overwhelming and articles of impeachment against the Vice President should be drawn up.

The Vice President likes to say the military option is on the table. Tonight it is time to say the impeachment option is on the table. I'm adding my name to H.R. 333, calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

For the good of the nation, the Vice President could leave office immediately. Call it a medical condition; call it a political condition; call it what it is- the departure of a person who forgot that he works for the American people.

Mr. Vice President, resign or face impeachment.

Thank you.

RSS icon Comments

1

It's a nice sentiment, but replacing Cheney (or his puppet, Bush) allows the Republicans to claim they have at least some sanity and credibility when in reality they don't.

They've become an institutionally corrupt, incompetent and criminally irresponsible party who do the opposite of what they claim to stand for. Best to let them go down in flames, so voters remember next time.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 28, 2007 5:32 PM
2

sweeeet

Posted by Phenics | June 28, 2007 5:40 PM
3

I think I had a dream about this once...

Posted by Dianna | June 28, 2007 6:41 PM
4

Since I am a progressive talk junkie I was listening to Randi Rhodes and she had an idea. EVERYONE needs to have 10 of their friends send letters to all of their house reps to impeach the President and VP. I sent my 10 letters and mailed the letter out to my congressman. Have you done it? Yeah, mine already supports impeachment but we need to even let the pro-impeachment reps we are fully behind them.

JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!

Posted by Andrew | June 28, 2007 6:49 PM
5

Well, at least he has the order right. Impeach Cheney first, then Bush.

On a more serious note, I have to wonder if this wouldn't be a huge waste of time. A year ago, I would have agreed. But now? Bush/Cheney are gone in less than 19 months. If Congress were to seriously try to impeach either of them, the process would probably drag out for the entire remainder of their term.

Don't get me wrong. I would like nothing better than to see Bush/Cheney get the slapdown they so rightfully deserve. But isn't it too late in the game? If they started impeachment proceedings tomorrow, would it have any chance of getting either of them out of office before January 20, 2009, when they leave anyway?

Posted by SDA in SEA | June 28, 2007 6:50 PM
6

About Frickin Time!

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 28, 2007 6:55 PM
7

A little quibble with the end there where he writes that Cheney has forgotten he works for the American people. I don't remember him ever acting as if he did.

Posted by Andy | June 28, 2007 6:59 PM
8

@ original Andrew, I respectfully disagree with you. This is a fight and a fight we have to win. The administration needs to be held to account. No one is above the law and once we allow even one person to be above the law the path we head down is a path to quick destruction.

A book I would recommend everyone to read is "The Third Reich in Power" by Richard Evans. It is flatly terrifying how the National Socilaists did consolidate power once Hitler became Chancelor in 1932. It did not suddenly happen. They consolidated power in a series of legal manipulation of the system that was in place while at the same time appealing to Germany's prosperity and safety.

No, we are not Germany but there are elements that are here now. Think of it as an embryonic form of that same totalitarianism. We can not just let this pass and think it will all be better on 1-20-2009. A line has been crossed and there must be a penalty for the administration crossing that line. If we fail then Ben Franklin's prophecy will have come true when asked about the republic "Yes you have a republic, if you can keep it"

Posted by Andrew | June 28, 2007 7:00 PM
9

I love a progressive politician (male or female) with balls.

19 months is a loooong time, especially with this administration. Now is a great time for impeachment. The best time, since before now is no longer an option.

Posted by bitch on heels | June 28, 2007 7:16 PM
10

@ Bitch on heels, if I was not gay I would so be hot for you!!!! :)

Posted by Andrew | June 28, 2007 7:20 PM
11

If you DON'T impeach ... you are acquiescing & saying what they did is OKAY.

Courrupting aand twisting intel to start a war.....invading where there is no real threat and no traditional self defense justification under international law and saying this is our policy now (the 1% doctrine)....wiretapping Americans without court oder ........lying to Congress about it.....instituting policies of torture........

what, we are too busy to hold them accountable? Why do Democrats simply fail to assert the truth that this crowd has hijacked out constitution?
We should start impeachment hearings asap.
And BTW include Gonzalez.

Posted by Cleve | June 28, 2007 7:23 PM
12

In 19 months, another SC Justice could die. Another professional beauracracy could be politicized. Another gigantic hurricane could destroy another American city full of Democratic voters. It's a long, long time with this administration, and the sooner they're gone, the sooner we can begin repairing the damage.

@1 Dick Cheney is so far beyond mere politics that I don't care if the GOP gets a bump in the polls. If we don't get rid of him now and hold him to account, there may not be an election next November.

Posted by Gitai | June 28, 2007 7:51 PM
13

I'm far from the reflexively Bush-bashing Stranger stereotype, but it's about time.

The more I find out, the more it's evident that Cheney is the focus of evil in this administration. Virtually every disaster of the past 6 1/2 years is traceable to his office.

It'd be nice if there was a way to prosecute him for war crimes, too. It would be a good way to break with the legacy of torture he's associated our country with.

Posted by MHD | June 28, 2007 8:03 PM
14

Good luck, Rep. McDermott; and yes, the whole Bush mob needs to be hauled off to Gitmo. Alas, I'm not holding my breath at this point that any of those slimy slugs will be held accountable for their actions anytime soon...sigh...sorry for the cynicism, gang! 8-(

Posted by Karen | June 28, 2007 8:04 PM
15

This needs to happen, but Jim McDermott is the wrong person to do it. This needs to be done with absolute sobriety and JM and DK are both too dramatic; voters in the Midwest and the Rust Belt need to believe that the politician who undertakes this impeachment-- and impeachment is appropriate only due to the procedural failures of the Bush administration with regard to refusing to submit to subpoenas and so on --the voters need to believe that the person who does this is doing it with no malice of any kind, but only a firm resolve to protect the Constitution.

We need a purist. Someone above reproach.

I can't think of a single politician who would fit the bill. Maybe Bob Dole, if he was still around. Robert Byrd has the right kind of GOB cred, but that thing with the Klan pretty much disqualifies him. And you never know when he might keel over.


Posted by Judah | June 28, 2007 8:11 PM
16

If only.

Posted by Sean | June 28, 2007 8:27 PM
17

I don't buy the "oh, it's only 19 months" nonsense. Dick Cheney is not just a run-of-the-mill bad public official; his presence in any position of power is truly toxic, and 19 months is plenty of time for him to damage this nation even more. Any political move that gets him out of power - or even anything that will simply occupy his office's time and energy, making him less effective at further ruining America - is warranted.

Posted by tsm | June 28, 2007 8:32 PM
18

I agree with all of you, and I think you're all right on so many levels, but we have to realize that our system of government simply no longer functions.

To expect the Democrats in office today to pull this off is unrealistic, and the party leadership has already stated as much.

If it were up to me, I'd pull the plug and hold new elections for Congress and President with total public financing and try to attract the most qualified candidates this country has to offer, but you have to remember that the American public put these bastards in office - twice! They elected Nixon twice, Reagan twice, would have elected Bush I twice if not for Ross Perot, and then elected Bush II twice.

Our political problems are way beyond one administration, and until our right-wing culture and system of legalized bribery called campaign finance changes, we're going to continue to have deeply corrupt and unethical leadership.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 28, 2007 8:44 PM
19

@ Andrew, you're making my wife jealous. (Don't stop, she's feisty when she's jealous.) :)

@18 (and the rest of you), I agree. Now what the hell do we do about it? I'll send some e-mails, but at this point my reps may have me spam blocked. Feels like pissing in the wind, honestly. Someone say something encouraging, please.

Posted by bitch on heels | June 28, 2007 9:46 PM
20

Maybe Dick Cheney's heart will give way before the summers over?

Posted by otla | June 28, 2007 11:28 PM
21

Someone should try to find a copy of his speech on C-Span or You-Tube.

I saw him give this live on the House floor two days ago and it was shocking and amazing.

Go McDermott !

Posted by dkstar | June 29, 2007 4:44 AM
22

@ Original Andrew: Your last comment begs me to ask you what your solution is? I know we live in a culture that feasts upon the notion of complaint but lives in perpetual famine of solutions. What do you propose to do? I can only point to history that when this sort of power is left unchecked and unpunished within the legal framework of the time it simply expands in future administrations. In our own country we have gone from the Tea Pot Dome scandle of the Harding Aministration, Vietnam of Johnson-Nixon, Watergate, Iran Contra and now the Bush Administration. Each time the executive power grab grows in reach. We have a method in the constitution to check this power and we need to support any house memeber that is willing to use it. And that is for the sake of what is left of our republic.

I have mentioned on Slog that perhaps we should go as far as to demand a Constitutional Convention so we as a nation can re-evalutate the executive branch of government and determine what is going wrong and how we can fix it. (Perhaps the Roman Republic's idea of a dual executive elected every year is a feasable idea. Not that we should do exactly what the Roman's did but maybe a variation of that) Yet, that idea was not even commented on. Maybe the idea is too hard to conjure up in our minds or we have no interest or time. In that case, we are in the final death throws of the republic and should simply enjoy to degradation into tyranny.

So Original Andrew, our Founding Fathers WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH OUR REINVENTING THE CONSTITUTION TO SAVE THE REPUPLIC IF WE HAD TO. (I would encourage everyone to read the Federalist Papers and Thomas Paine) But we are not willing to go that far. So, if there is even a chance that we could push through even part of impeachment our civic conscience demands of us that we do so. Even if there is only a few months left. Our failure to do so is a failure that we can not even fanthom.

Posted by Andrew | June 29, 2007 4:48 AM
23

If you donít think Cheney should be impeached, Google Ďimpeachmentí, read up on law, history, and this administration.


If you recognize that impeachment is warranted, but for some reason you donít want to act on your beliefs, pick your reasoning below (from afterdowningstreet.org)


If we kick Cheney out, theyíll just put another Republican in, and heíll be an incumbent.


Impeachment ainít Ďremoval from officeí. Itís like an indictment, and would simply compel future officeholders to operate within the limitations of the law. No president has ever been removed from office by impeachment. And if we don't impeach, we say it's OK for future elected officials to mislead Congress and the public into wars, spy in violation of the law, detain without charge, torture, operate in secrecy, and rewrite laws with signing statements.


Itís too late. Letís just wait for the next election.


Your daughter just got shot. Why arrest the guy? Letís just wait until he leaves the state.
Think thatís harsh? Read up on whatís happening in Iraq, and remember it was completely unnecessary. And while you're at it, read up on all the Americans have sacrificed to establish the democratic system that is being jeopardized by this administration. It doesnít matter if its January 2009, impeachment is the law, and it set standards for future administrations.


It will take too much time and distracts from other goals.


Both Nixon's and Clintonís impeachment took three months. Congress has wasted more than that amount of time already in avoiding impeachment, and has almost nothing to show for it. In fact, Congress just provided new funding for the war. On the contrary, the threat of impeachment on Nixon allowed Congress to raise the minimum wage, create the Endangered Species Act, and end a war.


Besides, what goal could be bigger than protecting the Bill of Frigginí Rights? The right to not be spied on, to not be locked away without charge and be tortured, with no access to a lawyer, a trial, or your family, not to be sent into an aggressive war for greed and power?


Finally, even if we wanted to pass legislation, Bush has made clear that he will either veto or signing statement any bill he disapproves of.


Itís more important to end the war.


Newsflash - The best way to end the war is for Congress to refuse funding, and we didnít do it. And Pelosi has sworn itís "off the tableĒ. The only thing that could move Congress to act would be impeachment: the same thing that helped Congress find the nerve to end the Vietnam War. Impeachment would drive the war debate in the right direction, because impeachment would be for offenses either directly connected to the war or offenses that have been justified by "war on terror" propaganda.


Even if Congress cut off funding, Bush/Cheney would misappropriate funds from the Pentagon to keep the occupation going (Thatís what they did to secretly begin the war, and were never held accountable).


Itís more important to win the next election.


No, it isn't. But even if it were, impeachment is the best strategy. Voters like bold action. When Dems held back from impeachment during Iran Contra, they lost the next elections. When Dems led the effort to investigate and impeach Nixon, they won big in the next election (even though Ford was running as an incumbent). When the Republicans started to impeach Truman, they got what they wanted out of the Supreme Court and won the next elections.


Articles of Impeachment have been filed against 10 presidents, and are usually followed by electoral success. When the Republicans impeached Clinton, impeachment was extremely unpopular with the American public. Yet Republicans lost far fewer seats than is the norm for a majority party at that point in its tenure. Two years later, they maintained their strength in the House, with representatives who had led the impeachment charge winning big.

There is no instance of voters responding to a significant impeachment effort by sweeping its advocates out of office. In fact, history points in a different direction -- suggesting that voters frequently reward parties for taking the Constitution and the rule of law seriously.


The question of who holds which office for the next few years is of very minor importance in comparison with the question of whether future administrations will be compelled to operate within the limitations of the law.


Impeachment might split the Democrats.


It's splitting them a bit now, but it won't as they unite behind it. Quite the opposite: 80% percent of all Dems want impeachment. If our representatives started pushing for impeachment, the Bush presidency would be over, and the party would be stronger than ever.


Letís just do investigations, and see where they lead.


They led to the Bush administration refusing to comply with subpoenas. A preliminary investigation is not possible when subpoenas are ignored, and not needed when indisputable evidence is already public knowledge.


Impeachment is too extreme. There has to be an actual crime. Like perjury.


There's nothing extreme about it. The authors of the Constitution expected it to be used frequently. The House has impeached 16 people. You want crimes? Read Congressman John Conyers' report. Incidentally, the Constitution says nothing about perjury as a ground for impeachment. And itís a crime to mislead or to defraud Congress, whether or not you do so under oath.


Secretly, almost everyone agrees that the Bush/Cheney Administration has committed impeachable offenses. Even pundits and Republicans are not arguing the case on its merits, but trying to scare the Democrats off based on strategy or politics.


Impeachment is so divisive / unpleasant / traumatic / partisan etc etc


Impeachment is the remedy for trauma. It the accountability Americans long for. If the cancer is making us sick, the removal of cancer is the thing to make us better.


And the polls actually say we are united on this.


Remember that voters in 2006 rejected Cheney's party overwhelmingly. Not a single new Republican was elected, and enough new Democrats won to achieve a majority in the House and Senate. But Republican Ron Paul of Texas, who had spoken in support of impeaching Bush, won.


And hearings that expose Bush and Cheney's abuses of power will serve to educate many of those who still support them, further bringing us together.


Impeachment could be depicted as revenge.


A small amount may say that, but a much louder chorus will be saying the truth. Even with insanely high approval rating, Clintonís impeachment was seen more as Clinton fucking up and getting busted than anything else. The coverage thus far of a Cheney impeachment does not depict it as revenge.


Impeachment is a national issue Ė thereís not much I can do.
Bullshit. Start writing. Starting reading. Start calling. Get Seattle city council to pass a resolution. Council members take an oath promising to "protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic." They don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger, then their primary duty is to defend it.


It will never happen / waste of time
It is completely feasible, and whether it happens it completely up to us. Either way, it is most certainly not a waste of time to fight for freedom and democracy. There is a very real momentum behind House Resolution 333. On June 12th, Congresswoman Maxine Waters signed on as a co-sponsor. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where the resolution awaits discussion.


Visit the site below, read up on the momentum, and take action today.


http://www.impeachcheney.org

Posted by Scott Kennedy | June 29, 2007 5:44 AM
24

it's about time someone started doing some work...
This is a job that has to be done, just like cleaning dog shit off the front lawn.

Posted by old timer | June 29, 2007 7:40 AM
25

way behind the curve, jim. calling for it the day the new congress was sworn in might have forced the debate a bit.

if it happens on january 19th, 2009, the day before Gore is inagurated, cheney &/or bush, that's still worth it.

it isn't just partisanship. this is a fight against fascism.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 29, 2007 8:33 AM
26
Posted by bokagsu | June 29, 2007 8:34 AM
27

Impeachment advocates, two questions:

Which 15 Republican Senators do you anticipate changing their minds during the impeachment proceeding enough to vote to convict?

And why do you continue to insist that "the polls support impeachment" when not a single poll has shown majority support for it? Sorry, polls with loaded questions and hypotheticals don't count.

Posted by Aexia | June 29, 2007 9:15 AM
28

Town Hall meeting on impeachment and driving out the Bush regime

Thursday, July 12, 2007, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

University Heights Community Center
5031 University Way NE
Seattle, WA, 98105

Sponsored by World Can't Wait Seattle

"Bring everyone you know who desperately wants to see the Bush regime driven out to this event. Hear expert testimony on the crimes of this regime. Hear the World Can't Wait plans for the summer and join to carry them out."

(I'm not involved, but was handed a flyer containing the above information, and will attend if I am able to.)

Posted by Phil M | June 29, 2007 9:18 AM
29

Andrew @ 22,

The solution is publicly financed elections and more strict election laws, like they have in other countries, which would hopefully allow decent, honest people to get into office.

But the fact is that Americans keep electing these deranged right-wingers and never expect any consequences for it. Our history seems to indicate that nothing is going to change until there's some kind of spectacular collapse. I read an interview with Matt Taibi the other day and he thinks that it would take a Great Depression style event to get most Americans engaged in changing our dysfunctional political process; it's terrible, but that's the way it is.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 29, 2007 9:26 AM
30

Nice work @scott kennedy! (23). I assume you have no day job :)


Read scott's entry again @aexia (27) It isn't about conviction. It is the act of bringing an impeachment to the floor for the investigation, the debate, for punishment, for accountability, and to increase leverage to get stuff done. It is the correct moral and legal remedy.


As far as polls, you may be right. Many are biased for or against. But again, it is irrelevant. Public sentiment was clearly against impeachment at the beginning of both Nixon and Clinton's impeachment process. And the main reason why many are not for impeachment today are because they haven't read and understood post (23) above.

Perhaps The Stranger should write a whole article addressing these misguided excuses for not impeaching - right next to a notice of the upcoming forum mentioned by (28).

Posted by Anthony Trollope | June 29, 2007 12:41 PM

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