Monday, December 17, 2007

Our "Nothing To Lose" President Must Face Impeachment

Gail Russell Chaddock

Washington - Heading into the last days of the legislative session, Republicans in Congress and President Bush are chalking up some surprising victories on federal spending.

That has put Democrats on the defensive. From a campaign pledge to change the course of the war in Iraq to tax and spending plans, Democrats are now having to scuttle key elements of their agenda. The extent of their retrenchment will become clear this week as Congress moves to pass key spending bills.

The secret behind the GOP's success? A show of unity between the minority party on the Hill and the White House.

So here we are with a republican party in a death spiral dragging the country down with it. "A show of unity" with an approval at circa 30% which hasn't budged for nearly 2 years. It is a last big "fuck you" not only to the democrats but the country as well. After 2006, a sane party would reflect on why such sweeping losses in both chambers of congress and how to make the changes necessary to recover the respect of the American people. It should be obvious to every republican and democrat for that matter, that the public will not tolerate governance by rigid ideology. It is also obvious that congressional republicans have decided that belligerent unity will somehow save the day for 2008. Who knows, it might work, but I doubt it.

Then we have bewildered democrats who thought republicans would see the country clearly wanted the pendulum to swing back from the right wing governance of the past 7 years {12 years for congress} and moderate toward the middle. Problem is, nearly every moderate republican was purged and replaced with democrats in 2006, so what is left are mostly southern conservative ideologues who have broken all records for blocking almost every bill in the Senate with blanket filibusters across the board.

It has gotten so bad, that Majority Leader Harry Reid has capitulated by granting consent that every action taken in the Senate must have a 60 vote super majority to get passed. This applies not only to the final votes on the bills themselves but also to germaine amendments which appears to be unprecedented.
"My biggest fear is that our troops won't be funded and that the Pentagon will start pulling funds from other sources, such as the National Guard and our bases here at home," says Sen. Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Without a war-funding bill this week, the Pentagon says it will be necessary to send out furlough notices affecting some 100,000 civilian employees almost immediately.

"There's an interesting cultural argument to be made that Republicans as a party are simply more disciplined than Democrats," says Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. "There is also a very strong perception on the part of Republicans that the president is popular with the party base, and for that reason they don't want to desert him. The third factor is that you have a president with nothing to lose – and someone who has nothing to lose in this kind of showdown is going to win."

Senator Nelson sums up democrats problem in a word and that word is fear. Fear of a petulant immature president who has "nothing to lose" and will go to any length to remain relevant, including shutting down the government just to get his way. Combine that with 41 republican senators to willing sink the ship of state out of resentment flowing from their own failures, and you have a totally dysfunctional government.

So what should democrats do at this stage? It is clear they've brought rubber knives to a right wing gunfight. Should they continue to capitulate to the republican scorched earth politics or should they engage the republicans with equal veracity and tactics. It is what the democratic base wants but what would it solve, other than to show they possess a spine. That way would be justified as a matter of fair play, but the country would suffer and Americans would likely hold democrats in equal contempt as they do republicans. The only other option is to begin impeachment proceedings forthwith. I have been against this option up until now. When a president has so broken his oath to abide by the Constitution as has Bush on so many levels, it is the only avenue left to restore the peoples faith in their government. As things stand presently, Bush and republican lawmakers have, for all practical purposes, lost any semblance of cooperation in doing the peoples business and seem only to serve their misplaced anger toward democrats in particular and the country as a whole.

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