For Freedom's Sake, Make the President Fear Impeachment

Monday, July 09, 2007 at 11:21 AM

Even with my low opinion of President Bush, I did not expect him to give Lewis Libby a get-out-of-jail free card. The constitutional implications of the president freeing a White House official from the sentence doled out in a criminal case, when the crime involves the vice president and possibly even the president himself, couldn't be more clear.

When the Senate failed to impeach President Clinton in 1999, falling 22 votes short of the 67 needed to remove him from office, I thought it was a great outcome to an overblown offense (hubba hubba).

Today, I'm much more in agreement with what David Broder argued in 1993 after another President Bush helped his officials escape legal culpability for crimes against the nation -- we have to find a way to prove that the president is not above the law:

... we have not found any effective method to instruct White House and executive branch officials on their duty to obey the law, because we have failed as a society to express our contempt and disgust for those who violate their oaths of office with such impunity.

The record is depressing. All those top White House and Justice Department officials in the Nixon administration went to jail for their parts in planning, or covering up, Watergate. You would have thought that would send a message clear enough for anyone to grasp. But the U.S. attorneys and special prosecutors have been kept busy by successor administrations. The crimes and the coverups go right on.

The best thing we could do for our country is to impeach one or two presidents as a lesson to the others.

The rapacious growth of federal power in the hands of a single politician-in-chief is the biggest threat to our form of government, especially when you consider the likelihood of future terror attacks that will bring more efforts to trade liberty for security.

The leading candidates for the next president disagree on what they would do with power, but they don't seem to disagree at all about accumulating it, aside from Republican gadfly Ron Paul. I expect the next president to eagerly embrace Vice President Cheney's seven-year campaign to expand executive power and marginalize Congress and the courts. It would be karmic retribution for Republicans to be helpless to stop a President Hillary Clinton, say, from taking Cheney's extraconstitutional superpowers for a spin, as long as you forget Benjamin Franklin's famous warning when asked what form of government we've created here: "A republic, if you can keep it."

Our government was designed to function under a president who feared impeachment the way other democratic leaders in the West fear votes of no confidence or the calling of new elections. President Bush would never have dared commute Libby's sentence if he had a realistic chance of being removed from office.



The indictment says Libby illegally obstructed the investigation into the White House outing of an undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame Wilson. He also was charged with perjury and making false statements to FBI agents.

The ongoing investigation of Karl Rove revolves around the same issues, among possible others.

Former President George H. W. Bush was right in 1999 when he said, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors."

Former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie was right when he said, "I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative--it's abhorrent, and it should be a crime, and it is a crime."

The American people must know this important truth: This indictment is about a cover-up of the lies that led our nation to war in Iraq.

What would it take to impeach Nancy Pelosi? Seems to me that at this point she is one of the reasons that Impeachment hasn't been placed"on the table". If she isn't part of the solution....

Cheney and Bush are both guilty of malfeasance of Office. Neither should be kept. Thing is I'm not sure that I want to see President Pelosi either....