The immediate reaction of realists when they consider that statement is to dismiss it outright. Simple math makes the idea that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney could be impeached and removed from office absurd. In the first place- the numbers aren't there for a conviction in the Senate. The whole thing would be an exercise in futility from the start.
It seems to me that this unfortunate reaction to my oft-repeated quip that if congress was doing their job Pelosi would be the president is based on the idea that I am attacking our Democratic leadership in congress in making that statement. In fact - I'm only partly attacking our Democratic leadership. I'm also attacking every other warm body in a suit on capitol hill, Democrats and Republicans, who refuse to accept their constitutionally mandated role in our federal government. Those that put the needs of their party or, more often, their own political careers ahead of the need of their country.
It also seems to me that the assertion of powerlessness of congressional Democrats in the face of a slim majority in the Senate as an excuse (and let's be honest an excuse is exactly what it is) towards inaction is also a tacit admission of the of the real problem facing us. Think about the above calculation on conviction and see if you can determine anything other than our leaders will not push for impeachment because, regardless of evidence, facts or public sentiment, Senate Republicans (and Lieberman) will vote in a block against conviction. Recognition of this reality may be rational, but acceptance of it is as a simple fact of life is beyond absurd.
This collective acquiescence to the true partisans in our government is what drives progressives like myself absolutely nuts. For over thirty years now we've watched as Democrats have continued to meet vicious attacks from Republicans by effectively rolling over and tucking their tail between their legs. We've watched as our constitution was subverted through Iran Contra or abused as it was through the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. Probably the worst thing we've had to endure is to watch that constitution be simply ignored as this President used a horrible tragedy as an excuse to consolidate power in the Executive not granted to it under our constitutional framework. Again and again our elected representatives in congress refused to acknowledge what
I would ask the realists to consider this mathematical formulation: 61-39. That is the absolute minimum margin the next Democratic president will have to have in the Senate in order to get anything done. It doesn't matter if it's president Clinton II or Obama. NOTHING of any consequence will make it through the Senate without a Democratic majority of at least 61 Senators. Not health care reform. Not tax reform. Certainly not any progressive Supreme Court Judges. Republican Senators will block it all. They'll do it because they can.
God forbid the Democrats don't lose the House and/ or Senate while a Democratic president is in office, because that day in January that they swear that new congress in will be the day impeachment proceedings begin against that man or woman. They'll do it because they can.
Because they can. Because Democrats don't fight. Because Democrats continue to try and get along with these people or meet them half-way when all they'd rather do to the Democrats in return is put 'em in a bus and drive 'em off a cliff.
I understand the question of what impeachment would accomplish (and it it's really a moot question this late in Bush's term.) My honest answer is that I just don't know.
But I also know what NOT impeaching Bush has gotten us. Not to mention NOT forcing Senators to filibuster or NOT using the congressional powers of Inherent Contempt to really bring the hammer down on John Bolton and Harriet Meiers and a whole list of powers inherent to, but unused by, congressional Democrats which are too numerous to list here. It hasn't led to victory, legislative success or even compromise. It's led to one big GOP middle-finger in our direction.
If we're truly serious about the kind of country we want this to be then we need to bend that finger back until in breaks.