Dropping the First Shoe
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has dropped the first impeachment shoe, filing a bill calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.
Kucinich, defying the leadership of the Democratic Party, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who have been struggling mightily to prevent impeachment from occurring during the waning years of the Bush presidency, on Tuesday filed three articles of impeachment, claiming that Cheney violated his oath of office and the Constitution, for deceiving Congress and the American people about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about alleged but nonexistent links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and finally for making threats to invade Iran.
The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee, where Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and the rest of the committee’s members will have to decide whether go hold formal hearings on the charges.
The move by Kucinich comes as impeachment is gaining ground among the broader public. Today, the Vermont House of Representatives will hold a floor debate and vote on a resolution calling for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against both President Bush and Cheney. That measure would be a companion to a similar resolution passed last week by Vermont’s state Senate. If the state’s lower house passes its version, Vermont will be the first state in history to pass a bi-cameral resolution on impeachment.
Under Thomas Jefferson’s Manual for the Rules of the House, under which the US House of Representatives has operated for over 200 years, such a resolution would require the House to take up the impeachment issue, just as would a member’s bill of impeachment.
The speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, Lynn Symington, had strenuously opposed the resolution, and has been keeping it bottled up in the House Judiciary Committee, but following passage of the resolution in the state Senate, and a massive grassroots campaign by Vermont impeachment activists, she has been forced to relent and let the measure go forward. Passage is not a sure thing, however.
Similar measures are being pushed in at least 10 other state legislatures, while two such efforts, in New Mexico and Washington state, were killed thanks to pressure from the national Democratic Party leadership.
On April 28, demonstrations are planned in Washington, DC and all around the nation, calling for impeachment to begin against both Bush and Cheney. To find the location nearest you, click on the Impeachment banner to the right of this article.
The mainstream corporate media, which has so far been largely ignoring the issue of impeachment, will have to go to extra lengths of censorship to block out the popular movement now, with a bill on the floor of the House, and with impeachment resolutions passing in the Vermont state legislature. It will be interesting to see how the nation’s news gatekeepers handle the story now that it is breaking out into the open so forcefully.
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is "The Case for Impeachment",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org