Sunday, August 19, 2007


More on Impeaching Gonzales

Looks like the move to impeach Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (the subject of my last Politico column) is gaining currency. Today's New York Times carries an insightful commentary by Adam Scott arguing that Gonzales's many offenses are "just the sort" of malfeasance the Founders had in mind when they gave Congress the power to remove executive branch officials.
Congress has heard extensive testimony about how Mr. Gonzales’s Justice Department has become an arm of a political party, choosing lawyers for nonpartisan positions based on politics, and bringing cases — including prosecutions that have put people in jail — to help Republicans win elections.

Mr. Gonzales’s repeated false and misleading statements to Congress are also impeachable conduct. James Iredell, whom George Washington would later appoint to the Supreme Court, told North Carolina’s ratification convention that “giving false information to the Senate” was the sort of act “of great injury to the community” that warranted impeachment.

The United States attorneys scandal is also the sort of abuse the founders worried about. Top prosecutors, most with sterling records, were apparently fired because they refused to let partisan politics guide their decisions about whether to prosecute. Madison, the father of the Constitution, noted in a speech to the first Congress that “wanton removal of meritorious officers would subject” an official to impeachment.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Impeachment, Part II

My follow-up column on impeachment is now up on Politico. In it, I make the case that regardless of the relative merits of the case against Bush, it would be a colossal strategic mistake to try to evict him from office. Instead, fed-up Democrats would be wise to channel their frustration into impeaching the President's incompetent and uncredible Attorney General.

A few other points I wanted to add (which I could not fit into the piece):

First, as you may notice, I left out an obvious and compelling argument that many Democrats make against impeaching Bush -- it would lead to President Dick Cheney.

I did so mostly because my argument is premised on the assumption that the President would never be convicted and removed from office in the current climate, which makes the point about Cheney essentially moot.

Second, I anticipate some impeachment activists will questions my point about public opinion because I failed to reference a much-touted American Research Group poll from early July. That survey showed that 45 percent of the American people -- and 50 percent of independents -- supported impeachment proceedings against Bush.

I chose not to cite the ARG numbers because I have found their polling to be unreliable -- just this week they put out a poll showing Hillary Clinton winning in Iowa, when most every poll including the Des Moines Register's has consistently shown John Edwards soundly beating Hillary. And in this case, ARG's number on impeachment was nine points higher than a USA Today/Gallup Poll (which I put a lot more faith in) that was released right at the same time.

Third, it seems the case for impeaching Attorney General Gonzales is picking up more currency in the House. As the Politico reported yesterday, Pelosi suggested on Tuesday that she is open to the idea, saying of impeachment proceedings against Gonzales "of course it's merited," and that there are "certainly grounds" for the resolution that Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) introduced calling for a Gonzales impeachment inquiry. Will be interesting to see where the House leadership goes with that in the fall.

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