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Do national and congressional Democrats have a death wish?
In the course of discussing Barbara Olshansky’s and my new book, "The Case for Impeachment," I’m coming to the conclusion that they must. And that’s even before they do something stupid like support the nomination of General Michael Hayden to head the CIA.
Rank-and-file Democrats want–badly want–to see President Bush get impeached. So do independents. I hear it from everyone I meet. It’s the rare Democrat or progressive or even independent who says she or he doesn’t agree with the idea of impeachment, and even then, it’s because such people are misinformed themselves and think that while they personally would love to see Bush get dragged into a big impeachment investigation, the rest of America wouldn’t like it to happen.
That seems to be the wrong-headed thinking of the Democratic Party leadership. Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have vowed that if Democrats retake the House and/or Senate, that there will be no impeachment of the president attempted. Both leaders of the House and Senate election campaigns, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) have actively worked to undermine the primary candidacies of aggressive candidates who favor impeachment. These political cowards and sell-outs claim that what the voters want is for Democrats to press ahead in a positive way with their "agenda," forgetting that they really don’t have an agenda, and that in any event, whatever bills they pass will simply be cancelled by the president, who will simply issue a "signing statement" invalidating their legislation.
The point, though, is that these sorry leaders are all wrong. The broad mass of the American public wants to be shed of this disastrous administration, and does not want to have to endure two more years of war, deceit, incompetence and politicization of every issue.
In a poll taken in January by the respected Zogby organization, 52 percent of Americans across the nation said they wanted to see President Bush impeached if he authorized the NSA domestic spying campaign. In all sectors of the country, red and blue, support for impeachment on the spying issue alone was 50 percent or higher. Among Democrats, support for impeachment was 60 percent, but interestingly, this was not statistically different from the 59 percent of independents who also favored impeachment.
Last November, Zogby did a similar nationwide poll, asking people if they thought that Bush should be impeached if he lied about the justification for invading Iraq. Again, 53 percent of Americans across the nation favored impeachment. That time, 70 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of independents, and even 29 percent of Republicans favored impeachment.
Clearly, if the Democrats want to take back Congress this November, they have a simple and gut-felt issue that will rally the voters and get them to the polls, and in numbers that would make theft of the election difficult.
So what are the Democratic strategists doing?
They’re throwing impeachment out the window.
Smart folks these Democratic leaders.
So what can those who want impeachment to be a priority after Election Day this coming November do?
Start donating money to impeachment groups like Impeachpac.com. Start contributing directly to the congressional campaigns of candidates like Charles Owens (New York), Tony Trupiano (Michigan) and Jeeni Criscenzo, who have annoyed the Democratic Party leadership by stating that they will promptly introduce bills of impeachment if elected this fall.
The Case for Impeachment, and maybe buy a second copy to send to their local member of Congress.
People could also start calling their own local members of Congress-Democrat or Republican-and urging them to support impeachment. Letters to the editor, calling for impeachment, and urging local papers to cover the growing impeachment movement, would also be useful.
The public clearly wants impeachment, but a DemocraticParty that has completely lost touch with its grass roots base needs to be put on notice that it is going to lose in November, yet again, if it doesn’t get behind this simple, straightforward issue.
The American people understand that this president is a danger to the country, and a threat to the Republic. The American people realize that this president and his administration have been a wrecking ball, destroying the military, America’s image abroad, the national economy, the education system, the healthcare system, pensions and the lives of ordinary working Americans. They want a real opposition party that will excise this cancer.
What kind of party leadership would ignore such an angry demand for action?
What kind of voters would stay loyal to a party that has such a pathetic excuse for leadership?
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book, "The Case for Impeachment",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is due out May 1.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org