Jim Freeman, Opinion-Columns.com
There are those, and I am among them, who are amazed that this administration has yet to run afoul of an impeachment effort in the House of Representatives. The difficulty is that we who are in favor see the issue as one of necessary justice and the absolutely critical defense of the Constitution, while Nancy Pelosi sees it in terms of what is possible.
Politics is the art of the possible and Pelosi, as long as she holds herself back from the occasional evening of scores, is a master of that black art. Conclusion; it ain’t gonna happen.
Nancy took impeachment ‘off the table’ prior to the mid-term elections for the best of political reasons. She wasn’t about to scare disaffected Republicans into sticking with their party for fear of watching George Bush impeached. Smart politics. It probably secured a few extra seats for the Democrats and every seat was a major accomplishment in an election no one could predict.
We have allowed (even encouraged) such political gerrymandering across the nation, that 95% of sitting Senators and Representatives, both Democrat and Republican, are essentially unassailable. That doesn’t give the party out of power much to play with, even in times of historic disaffection.
Pelosi has kept impeachment off her plate, since the elections, for three very practical reasons. Reason number one is that, while the House could no doubt impeach any number of senior administration members, beginning with Dick Cheney and following on through Rumsfeld, Gonzales and perhaps even Bush himself, that process would take a huge amount of time and energy that she desperately needs to accomplish legislation. What the electorate gave the Dems in 2006 they can easily give back to Republicans if they don’t feel they’re getting their money’s worth.
So far, they haven’t. Pelosi reads the polls as well as anyone and, while the country shakes its head at George Bush’s 29% approval and Dick Cheney’s 19%, the inescapable fact is that Congress itself is in a dead heat with the Vice President. Voters are hungry for change in Washington and they don’t feel they’re getting what was promised by Pelosi and Reid prior to the mid-term elections.
In their fantasy-world, they expect us to be
* Out of Iraq,
* Reversing the administration positions on global warming,
* Rescinding tax breaks for the rich,
* Cracking down on Wall Street shenanigans,
* Turning away from K-Street influence and
* Balancing of the budget.
They wouldn’t mind a Palestinian-Israeli solution for dessert. Are those expectations unreasonable? You bet. Can Pelosi ignore them because they’re unreasonable? At her peril, she can and that’s why you won’t see her pleasing the few to antagonize the many.
Reason number two is that, while a finding of impeachable offense requires no more than a simple majority in the House, conviction is not in their power. The trial of an impeached official takes place in the Senate and, in that testosterone-rich environment, it requires a two-thirds majority to convict. Sixty-seven votes. Holding a 51-49 majority in the Senate, Harry Reid and his fellow Dems haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of organizing a coalition to convict.