In the State of Washington, it is the people versus Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership.
At issue is a bill, S8016, submitted in the state’s senate by freshman state Senator Eric Oemig, which would call on the U.S. Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against President George Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors against the Constitution and the people of the United States and of the State of Washington.
The measure, which would take the form of a joint resolution by the two houses of the Washington state legislature, accords with the instructions laid out by Founder Thomas Jefferson, who, in his Manual of the Rules of the House of Representatives laid out state joint resolutions as an alternative route for initiating presidential impeachment proceedings in the House in addition to the more usual route of a member submitting a bill of impeachment.
Jefferson’s prescient thinking was that if Congress, by reason of political cowardice or inattention, ever proved unwilling or unable to initiate impeachment when it was called for, state legislators, far from Washington and closer to the people, could do it for them.
But two unprincipled and devious Democratic members of Washington’s congressional delegation, Sen. Pat Murray and Rep. Jay Inslee, are undermining Jefferson’s carefully designed fail-safe system by pressuring Democratic state legislators to kill Sen. Oemig’s bill. The Seattle Times in a March 2 article, reports that Murray and Inslee are telling Democrats in the state senate to kill the impeachment bill on the grounds that it would lead to “divisiveness” in Washington, and that it would impede the “Democratic agenda” in Congress.
Forget grave spinning! This wholly inappropriate interference in state affairs by the state’s two leading national political figures must have Jefferson shitting in his mouldered pants!
Clearly, Murray and Inslee have decided to abandon their constituents in the state of Washington, a majority of whom want this criminal president impeached, and are instead doing the bidding of US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who have completely lost touch with the nation’s voters and with their own sense of principle.
But this battle is not over. The grassroots movement in Washington that has led to Sen. Oemig’s bill getting as far as a hearing in the Senate’s Government Operations and Elections Committee, is growing rapidly. The Citizens Committee for Impeachment in Olympia, with almost no money and no press coverage, brought 900 people to a rally a week before the committee hearing, and hundreds more to the capitol building on the day of the hearing. A massive phone and letter-writing campaign to committee members and state senators is now underway to insure that the bill goes to a vote in the full Senate.
If Democratic state legislators know what is good for them, they will send Murray and Inslee packing back to Washington and will vote to defend the Constitution and their constuents by approving Sen. Oemig’s bill in both houses and sending his resolution to the House, forcing Pelosi to put impeachment back on the House agenda where it belongs.
After all, what is this supposed concern about “divisiveness”? The nation is mired in a criminal war that has killed 3200 American troops and injured another 52,000, many of them from Washington state. The president has trashed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and is bankrupting the nation, wasting money that could be helping Washingtonians and other Americans. Washington today is not too divisive; it is not divisive enough!
As for that Democratic agenda, just how do Murray and Inslee expect anything passed by the current Congress to make its way into law if the President is free to continue, in direct violation of Article I and II of the Constitution, to invalidate the laws passed by the Congress through his use of what he calls “signing statements”?
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