Pelosi is in for a November Surprise

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and House Minority Leader who would likely replace Rep. Dennis Hastert in November if Democrats succeed in taking over the House of Representatives, made a snarky comment on NBC over the weekend when asked about impeachment and about Rep. John Conyers, who would head the Judiciary Committee in a Democratic House.

Asked by “Meet the Press’s” Tim Russert about impeachment talk, Pelosi reportedly said, “Democrats are not about impeachment–Democrats are about bringing the country together.”

Reminded that Conyers has all but invited submission of a bill of impeachment on his watch, having already filed his own bill calling for a select committee to investigate possible impeachable acts by the president, Pelosi said the Judiciary Committee is “not where the [impeachment] decision would be made” and added (sounding an awful lot like the Great Decider himself), “I am the leader. Our caucus will decide where we’re goingI don’t see us going to a place of impeachment.”

Pelosi is in for a big surprise.

She and the rest of the Democratic leadership (if they can really even be called such), are so scared of their shadows, so scared of challenging Republicans on anything but stem cells and Social Security, that impeachment has them cowering under rocks. The public is way out front on this, however, and if the party, despite its seeming death-wish desire to nominate Hillary Clinton for the presidency, somehow manages to win the House in November, there will be a clamor for Bush’s head which will drag them along behind it.

All it takes is one rogue member of the House submitting a bill of impeachment to initiate the process in the Judiciary Committee, and if enough red-blooded Democrats come out and vote to oust Republicans this November, it would be political suicide for Pelosi and her spineless compatriots to try to kill that bill.

Several polls have made it clear that a majority of Americans, and even a fair number of Republicans, think that President Bush should face impeachment if he lied about the reasons for going to war in Iraq (as he indeed did) or if he broke the law in ordering the National Security Agency to spy on Americans (which he admits he did).

Most Democrats, and I dare say most independents, aren’t in a mood for conciliation with this president. They certainly aren’t going to be electing Democrats in hopes that a new Democratic Congress will start compromising with Bush.

If voters do turn out the Republicans in Congress this fall, it will be because they are in the mood for reversing five years of corruption, war-mongering, nation-wrecking, lying, Constitution trashing, abuse of power and religious posing.

Impeachment will be red meat for these voters; compromise a red flag.

Besides, if Pelosi thinks she and her accommodationist minions–after all the abuse that has been heaped on them by Republicans since 2000–will be able to accomplish anything by cozying up to the president and his party, they are delusional.

The president has made his utter contempt for Congress and the legislative process abundantly clear by issuing an astonishing 750 “signing statements” even as he has signed that many acts of Congress into law, declaring in each case that as “commander in chief” he is not bound to enforce or obey those laws. What this means is that Democrats can pass all the bills they want after they win control of Congress, but unless they remove or neuter this president via impeachment hearings, they’re wasting their time.

Pelosi may be uncomfortable with the role of oppositionist, but an increasingly restive electorate looks increasingly likely to force her hand.



CounterPunch contributor DAVE LINDORFF is a producer along with MARK MITTEN on a forthcoming feature-length documentary film on the life of Ted Hall and his wife of 51 years, Joan Hall. A Participant Film, “A Compassionate Spy” is directed by STEVE JAMES and will be released in theaters this coming summer. Lindorff has finished a book on Ted Hall titled “A Spy for No Country,” to be published this Fall by Prometheus Press.