The above came from a recent episode of Bill Moyers Journal on the nature of impeachment. I recommend watching the episode or reading the entire transcript.
"The founding fathers expected an executive who tried to overreach and expected the executive would be hampered and curtailed by the legislative branch... They [Congress] have basically renounced — walked away from their responsibility to oversee and check." — Bruce Fein"On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this Administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any President has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools." — John Nichols
Unlike Nancy Pelosi I think impeachment should be on the table and should be on the way to the executive branch. To suggest otherwise is not only a flagrant denial of high crimes but in fact goes against the very oath that a Congress person takes. The number one job of a representative is to uphold and protect the Constitution so that all generations to follow will have a living document to guide a just society based on law and a government beholden to the wisdom of checks and balances. The impeachment process is designed not as a punishment to an executive, but is intended to be a cure for something diseased and compromised. It is meant to correct a constitutional crisis without having to raise an army and shed blood.
We all know that we have an over reaching executive branch, and we also seem to have a Congress that doesn't appear to actually understand the Constitution and fails to grasp its role within the document. They are supposed to do much more than simply establish budgets, set up earmarks for the home state and pass legislation. They are under order to protect the union, the very republic itself from individuals that seek to undermine the general rule of law. This seems to be lost on them, why else does Abu Gonzales get to keep his job as public servant? Why is Harriet Meyers answering to the President and not the Congress - even under subpoena? They have the power in each of these instances -not the executive branch. In short they are not holding the executive branch in check and failing the republic by doing so.
Unless Congress re-asserts itself, all White House administrations moving forward will have the same powers as Bush and very possibly more. Royalism is unacceptable. Only impeachment can correct our current course.
Here is a small refresher of the abuses in case you have overlooked them:
- According to Fein, Cheney has:
- Asserted Presidential power to create military commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes.
- Claimed authority to detain American citizens as enemy combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay on the President's say-so alone.
- Initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists.
- Championed a Presidential power to torture in contravention of federal statutes and treaties.
- Engineered the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program targeting American citizens on American soil in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
- Orchestrated the invocation of executive privilege to conceal from Congress secret spying programs to gather foreign intelligence, and their legal justifications.
- Summoned the privilege to refuse to disclose his consulting of business executives in conjunction with his Energy Task Force.
- Retaliated against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, through chief of staff Scooter Libby, for questioning the administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction as justification for invading Iraq.