FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush Dodges a Constitutional Bullet in New Mexico

 

President Bush dodged a Constitutional bullet in New Mexico Thursday, when nine Democrats in the state senate joined all 17 Republicans to prevent a proposed joint resolution calling for the US House to begin impeachment hearings to come to a floor vote. Supporters of the measure said it appeared that the Democrats in question mostly came from Republican districts and were worried about electoral repercussions of a pro-impeachment vote.

There is reason to suspect, however, that there was some arm-twisting from national Democratic leaders, who appear dead set on avoiding impeachment hearings, whatever the public sentiment on impeachment (Newsweek reported last fall that 51 percent of Americans favor impeachment) and whatever Bush’s crimes, Constitutional violations and abuses of power.

In the state of Washington, where another such effort is being made in that state’s senate, the state’s senior Senator, Pat Murray, and one of its senior representatives, Jay Inslee, both Democrats, have been lobbying state senate leaders behind the scenes urging them to prevent Sen. Eric Oemig’s proposed joint resolution on impeachment, as well as another senator’s bill calling for an end to the Iraq war, from getting a floor vote. A decision there is expected before March 14. Supporters of Sen. Oemig’s bill say they think the votes are there to pass his measure in the full Senate, if they can get it past the procedural hurdles. It would then go to the state’s house of representatives. (One reason leading Democrats want to prevent a floor vote is that impeachment advocates could then rebut their claims that impeachment would be “divisive” and that it “detracts from the Democratic agenda.”)

Perhaps the best chance for passage of a state impeachment joint resolution is in Vermont. There impeachment activists have made it through committee in the House. Meanwhile, a grassroots effort has been underway to get towns across the state, most of which operate under a town-meeting form of democratic governance, to pass impeachment resolutions at their annual town meeting. In nearly a third of the state’s towns, 48, residents agreed to put the issue on the agenda of their meeting, and of those, 36 passed the resolution. Only one town voted the resolution down.

That kind of public expression of support for putting Bush in the dock in Congress could help convince wavering Democrats in the state’s legislature to vote for impeachment whatever national Democratic leaders may say.

Other efforts to pass state resolutions on impeachment are reportedly underway in Maine, California, New Jersey and elsewhere.

The Constitution lays out a process for initiating impeachment which begins with the filing of a bill of impeachment by a member of the House of Representatives, but Thomas Jefferson, recognizing that Congress in some cases might be too cowed by a powerful president or to removed from public sentiment, established, in his Manual of Rules for the House, a second route to impeachment–a joint resolution by a state legislature–on the theory that state legislators are much closer to the people.

Indeed in modern times, with members of Congress earning six-figure incomes, traveling in chauffeured limousines, and living most of the time in Washington, inside the sterile Beltway, this is even more so that it was back in Jefferson’s day. In many states, state legislators are part-time government officials, earning modest salaries and living for the most part in their home districts, where they drive their own cars, shop with voters, and send their kids to the local schools.

This probably explains why so many states are seeing impeachment resolutions while House Democrats maintain a stony silence in the face of Bush’s ongoing rape of the Constitution.

The Democratic Leadership, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) in particular, clearly have decided that the only issue for Democrats is winning the presidency and more seats in Congress in 2008, and that the way to do that is to lie low, avoid controversy, and go to voters hoping that disgust with Republicans will win the day for them.

Although they are all sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic, and although they all know that this President is a clear domestic enemy of the Constitution who has broken laws, obstructed justice, abused power, violated international law and established international treaties, shredded the Bill of Rights, and displayed extraordinary criminal negligence as a leader, they are refusing to act on their oaths of office.

If no member of Congress will show the courage to stand up to this shameful failure of leadership, it is up to the people, through their state legislators, to make Congress act.

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: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail