Turning Tides

I gotta say, this post yesterday from Josh Marshall,

As regular readers of this site know, I’ve always been against themovement to impeach President Bush. I take this position not because hehasn’t done plenty to merit it. My reasons are practical. Minor reasonsare that it’s late in the president’s term and that I think impeachmentitself is toxic to our political system — though it can be less toxicthan the high officials thrown from office. My key reason, though, isthat Congress at present can’t even get to the relatively low thresholdof votes required to force the president’s hand on Iraq. So to use ananalogy which for whatever reason springs readily to my mind at thispoint in my life, coming out for impeachment under presentcircumstances is like being so frustrated that you can’t crawl that youcome out for walking. In various ways it seems to elevate psychicsatisfactions above progress on changing a series of policies that aredoing daily and almost vast damage to our country. Find me seventeenRepublican senators who are going to convict President Bush in a senatetrial.

On balance, this is still my position. But in recent days, for thefirst time I think, I’ve seen new facts that make me wonder whether thecalculus has changed. Or to put it another way, to question whether myposition is still justifiable in the face of what’s happening in frontof our eyes.

[snip]

Whether because of prudence and pragmatism or mere intellectualinertia, I still have the same opinion on the big question:impeachment. But I think we’re moving on to dangerous ground right now,more so than some of us realize. And I’m less sure now under thesecircumstances that operating by rules of ‘normal politics’ isjustifiable or acquits us of our duty to our country.

Reminds me a lot of the posts he was writing in Fall 2002, such as this post, written on September 20, 2002.

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  1. azportsider says:

    My definition of ’Liberal’ has always included the willingness to observe all points of view, and then selecting the best from among them. The constant reevaluation and reprocessing of new knowledge is part and parcel of this process. In my book, that makes Josh Marshall pretty liberal.

    That said, I disagree wth him on this issue. First of all, he’s conflating the impeachment process with the subsequent trial–sloppy reasoning, by his usual standards. It makes absolutely no difference how many Senators vote to convict; impeachment depends solely on the action of the House. Remember: both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, though neither was convicted.

    Second, impeachment–at least of Gonzales, Cheney and Bush–is essential to the continued well-being of our form of government, not only in the short term, but also as a warning to future office-holders who might be tempted to even greater excesses. The Founders understood this all too well, and supplied the remedy right in the Constitution. Sure, in a rational world conviction of these three would follow the bill of particulars as surely as day follows night; but even if it turns out that too many Republican Senators love their party more than they do their country the impeachments would stand.

  2. azportsider says:

    My definition of ’Liberal’ has always included the willingness to observe all points of view, and then selecting the best from among them. The constant reevaluation and reprocessing of new knowledge is part and parcel of this process. In my book, that makes Josh Marshall pretty liberal.

    That said, I disagree wth him on this issue. First of all, he’s conflating the impeachment process with the subsequent trial–sloppy reasoning, by his usual standards. It makes absolutely no difference how many Senators vote to convict; impeachment depends solely on the action of the House. Remember: both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, though neither was convicted.

    Second, impeachment–at least of Gonzales, Cheney and Bush–is essential to the continued well-being of our form of government, not only in the short term, but also as a warning to future office-holders who might be tempted to even greater excesses. The Founders understood this all too well, and supplied the remedy right in the Constitution. Sure, in a rational world conviction of these three would follow the bill of particulars as surely as day follows night; but even if it turns out that too many Republican Senators love their party more than they do their country the impeachments would stand.

  3. dougR says:

    I see Josh’s old passages a little differently. What strikes ME is how much we’ve lost since those comparatively innocent times, and TNR readers perfectly well know the laundry list of Bush/Cheney/Republican-created destruction I have in mind.

    It’s also kind of quaint how difficult it was, back then, for Josh to bring himself to use the word â€lie.†For me, too–I figured there must be some gulf of misunderstanding I couldn’t quite comprehend, because they’d never just LIE, would they? I think the progressive movement did a lot of wheel-spinning trying to bridge that gap of comprehension, because under it all, we had an assumption of good faith, even if of a kind we disagreed with, on the part of Repubs.

    But, no. Those days are gone. Now I see Republicanism as some kind of implacable, flesh-devouring bacteria: you don’t reason with it, you don’t try to understand it, you don’t look for â€good faith†among the bacilli. You just eradicate it (politically speaking, of course)–as efficiently and totally as possible. You do it by public trials, putting people in the dock, bringing their crimes into the light, making sure they finally, definitively get neutralized (e.g. the Iran-Contra pardoned felons, who keep coming back like dormant bacteria awakened by new flesh to feed on–and who will continue to do so unless we stop them). You do not play nice with lethal bacteria, you cannot be ’bipartisan’ with lethal bacteria, and we’ve seen what THESE bacteria do, over and over again.

  4. dougR says:

    Excuse me. I meant â€TNH Readers,†not TNR Readers!! 1,000 apologies, all! (bacteria must have got my brain!)

  5. *xyz says:

    I think Josh’s process of reevaluation of any issue is stunted and delayed by the fact that he doesn’t allow comments on his posts. It would be to his benefit to open things up. His site is otherwise quite excellent.

    It is interesting that Josh posts selected readers’ letters of at his discretion, but doesn’t allow readers to communicate about the subject of his post amongst themselves on his site.

    I realize that Josh allows comments elsewhere on his site, but he sure doesn’t seem to want to provide a forum for direct feedback and discussion of his own posts.

  6. Boston1775 says:

    Josh’s line of reasoning might be enlightened by the results of the Libby trial. Sure, he got off. So if that’s the only reason to go to trial, it was pointless.

    But why would Patrick Fitzgerald work against odds we now see were astronomically against him? Sheerly to imprison Libby? I think not. Just as the four words of Hillary – vast right wing conspiracy – are of enormous value today, Fitzgerald’s five words – cloud over the vice presidency – are historic.

    This has become a war for democracy in the United States. Each of these steps is a battle. And the genius of the founding fathers is that we are waging this war peacefully.

  7. margaret says:

    Josh is doing a great service and is what a real news service should do. He presents the snippets of information, the exposes of malfeascence, and leaves it to the intelligent reader to make up his own mind. I have wanted to respond to him, at times, and did once, by email, from which I received an email in return, but, since that one time, no response. Prehaps my thoughts just don’t rise to the level he can be bothered with, but I don’t respect him any the less. We should be grateful to the service he provides, overall.

  8. *xyz says:

    Boston1775 – Here are six more historic words from the Libby trial – never to be forgotten:

    â€guilty, guilty, guilty, not guilty, guiltyâ€

  9. *xyz says:

    Margaret – I agree overall. TPM is great and I appreciate it. I just think Josh would benefit from having a comments section. There’s always room for improvement.

  10. Neil says:

    I’d say you’ve got something there. He’s deliberate, cautious and slow in changing his opinion on the big questions. By the same measure, he is so good at getting the stories right along the way.

    I don’t understand the rationale that impeachment – unless it delivers a conviction and removal from office – would be disasterous. I think Nichols and Fein are right. If the articles are well researched, well defined and restrained, and the majority party makes it its business to frame the proceedings in the public discourse fairly and accurately, then no other course of action would serve our constitutional democracy better, and no less is required of congressmen and other officials who swore to uphold the Constitution.

    HJC has started the ball moving with contempt of congress. It’s an important element in the overall necesity of bringing the public up to speed. It says Bush has stuff to hide, illegal stuff, and it can;t be allowed to stand. Inherent contempt as opposed to referring it to the DC USA under the control of AG AG will keep Bush from snuffing it out like a pond frog.

    Gonzalez impeachment will put the focus exactly where it needs to be, on the rule of law. Cheney and Bush will follow unless the clock runs out.

  11. KdmFromPhila says:

    It is time either to impeach Gonzalez or to have him tried for perjury. It probably won’t lead to imprisonment or AG’s dismissal. But it still has to happen for these reasons:

    1.Congress cannot let the imperial (=lawless) presidency unchallenged;

    2. Congress could unearth facts about the other rightwing operatives in the government who have enabled AG and Bush/Cheney to put the Constitution on the endangered species list. Those operatives should never be permitted to work for the government again.

  12. Albert Fall says:

    The left is not lockstep. It operates more like a free market of ideas, with individual participants placing individual values on ideas constantly.

    Within the Republicans in Congress when they are voting, there is no free market of ideas, just the Bush command economy of uniformly recited talking points, and votes adherent to the party line.

    Not all loyal Republicans outside of Congress are loyal Bushies, and Bush is losing many of them. Come election 2008, the Dems need to get them to switch parties, or at least stay home, and October impeachment hearings on Gonzo, detailing administration crimes two months ahead of the first primaries (when Republicans are presumably splitting off on Iraq anyway), just might do the trick.

  13. pol says:

    I agree with you, Margaret. I think Josh Marshall is the best blogger out there, and I wish he would write more. One advantage to his not allowing comments is that I can send his very reasonable, well-thought-out commentary to my on-the-fence, often religiously-oriented friends who aren’t as intuned to the political climate as I. I describe him as a very moderate, thoughtful blogger whose insights I truly respect. It’s hard to make a case that a blogger is â€moderate†when there are a bunch of put-down or troll-infected comments attached.

    When I find something on TPM that I feel strongly enough to comment about, I write an e-mail.

    However, I’m glad most other parts of TPM, as well as The Next Hurrah and most other blogs, allow comments. They give us a place to air our feelings.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

    Really, I don’t know what else to say. MSNBC just had a breaking news announcement that â€Senate Democrats are calling for a special counsel to investigate Alberto Gonzalesâ€. I am not particularly religious, but God help us. Why, just why, can’t the words be â€Senate Democrats call for the opening of an impeachment investigation of Alberto Gonzalesâ€? I don’t get it; I really don’t. And before someone takes the time to point out to me that the Senate cannot open an impeachment investigation; they sure as hell can call on the House to do so as long as all they are doing is â€calling†for things.

  15. says:

    bmaz, as a few of us have been saying for some time… democrats are lame. and to albert fall, if you think this is just about making sure the democrats get elected, you are missing some major issues that go beyond partisan politics… the whole system is presently screwed and those given to changing it are sitting on their hands doing close to nothing.

  16. Looking_for_a_way_Out says:

    I agree with Albert. The Dems need to initiate the process and make sure they play the politics of the investigation appropriately, like Neil suggests. Force the Republicans to hang themselves by continually defending the obviously indefensible. The number of voters identifying themselves as Republican is already shrinking, so give them another reason to stay home or even vote for a third party.

    I know that sounds overly political. What I actually would prefer is that the Republicans in the Senate come around and do the right thing. But they won’t do that unless they are forced, by political reality. Until there are at least 67 senators on record agreeing that Bush should be removed, there is no reason to rush the process. Playing it for maximum political benefit is the next best thing.

    I read TPM everyday. I don’t read too much into Josh’s opinions though, like EW, I do note their evolution. Josh has always seemed like a more cautious, conventional thinker than many other bloggers. I find his value greatest in his approach to journalism. TPM is better at context, and nuance than any of the MSM sources, probably because they have a tight focus. I read TNH and FDL and others for deeper analysis and better argument.

  17. Anonymous says:

    bmaz

    My biggest concern is the question of who the Special Counsel would be. It can’t be Fitz–he’s too close to Comey and would suffer from the lingering effects of Comstock’s propaganda. There are a number of great Republican Prosecutors who are available–folks by the name of Charlton, Lam, Bogden, Iglesias. Somehow, I think they’re not good options. We really can’t ask or expect a Democrat. So who?

    Which means, yes, it woudl be better to do the investigation in Congress. HJC needs a good deal of help before it runs a well-run investigation (maybe they could but Artur Davis in charge?)

  18. Anonymous says:

    Looking For A Way Out – I understand your position; however, a citizen’s first duty is to the Constitution, not their political party. At least that is my not particularly humble opinion. The founding fathers and framers anticipated situations like we currently stand in; in fact, if you read the Federalist Papers and other significant contemporaneous background the clarity with which they saw this type of situation is almost scary. It is absolutely critical that what has occurred be spelled out and put on public display, lest the actors and their actions become ingrained into the acceptable fabric of our democracy. Requiring a known 67 votes in the Senate before having the guts to act is insane and a dereliction of civic duty.

  19. stagemom says:

    yes, impeachment is ugly.
    but what is the alternative? these people will not RESIGN. they have no SHAME. they refuse to tell the TRUTH to save their own asses. we have never seen this kind of LOYALTY, ever before.
    can you put yourself in gonzo’s shoes? what would it be like to be him and give the kind of testimony that he’s given? what would it be like to day in and day out be such a tool, be such a buffoon, to have everyone make fun of you? it’s unimaginable. you or i would have cracked, been embarrassed and would have resigned long ago. but he remains LOYAL. why? there is something deep going on.

    If you don’t impeach, how do you get the message out to future public servants that the PEOPLE will not tolerate the destruction of the rule of law?
    impeach cheney first. it’s the only way.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Bruce Fein is my off the cuff suggestion. The problem I see with a special counsel is exactly what we just went through on the Libby sentencing. If the special counsel has anything to do whatsoever with the DOJ, it just doesn’t work from an appearance of impropriety standpoint. And if you think there were questions about Fitz having to much independence and authority; jiminy can you imagine the screams that would be attendant to the authority and independence that would be necessary for a special counsel against Gonzales? I just don’t see how it could be run as an adjunct to the DOJ. The other option is having it run off a Congressional branch; either the House or Senate. But the Republicans have made clear they are for party over country and that few of them, if any, will splinter off to side with common sense, reality and constitutional justice. The net result then is that it is a purely political exercise; but if that is the result anyway, why not go ahead and make it an impeachment investigation. Everybody is fearfully and cowardly tapdancing around the pinhead of timidity. I know I am a broken record (digital loop in this day and age I guess), but there is really only one thing that makes sense and, by chance, it is the age old remedy provided exactly for this.

  21. William Ockham says:

    I don’t see why we can’t ask for a Democrat. In fact, it is a huge tactical mistake not to have a bunch of people out clamoring that the Special Prosecutor has to be a Democrat. I think we all ought to be pushing for Jonathan Turley. Then we can â€compromise†on …. wait for it….

    John Dean (not a Democrat, familar with the issues)

  22. Kagro X says:

    This was the groaner for me:

    But I think we’re moving on to dangerous ground right now, more so than some of us realize.

    Oh, really?

  23. Mimikatz says:

    The thing that struck me with Josh’s column is that once we know that they will do anything they want, why should we just assume they will leave quietly on Jan 20, 2009? There is the boomlet (from Stephen hayes’ book) for Cheney for Pres. It can;t have escaped Rove that they have almost no chance of retaking the Congress and a vanishing chance of the Presidency with the current crop of candidates and Bush at 25%. Short of a true miracle, they aren’t going to have anything that remotely looks like victory in Iraq either.

    I think the Dems would be fools after what has gone down already to assume they will just step down in 2009. Impeachment, even if it is only Gonzales, would make that more likely.

  24. Anonymous says:

    WO – Boy that would drive them nuts eh? I wonder if Dean has had all his rights and professional licenses restored; I would surely hope so, but I have no specific recollection of hearing that they have been. As to my suggestion, if you get a principled person who really cares about the law and the Constitution, I don’t think it matters what their affiliation is, they will do the job. As a legal tactic, I have seen few stronger than turning an opponent’s devices right back on them and using them as the stake through the heart. That was, in an extremely small nutshell, my reason for suggesting Fein. That was just an initial suggestion, I am certainly open to all others; although, for the reasons stated above and for months now, I feel impeachment is the investigation that should be opened.

  25. Neil says:

    Kagro, You know from that quote Josh believes moving toward impeachment is a necessity, he just can’t get himself to that position. I wonder what’s holding him back.

  26. Davis X. Machina says:

    It has been my contention for years that the GOP Senators went through the motions on the Clinton trial, knowing it would be a disaster for the GOP-led house, precisely for this reason.

    They weren’t going to get Clinton — hell, that would have been lagniappe at best, and at worst, present them with an incumbent President Gore for 2000.

    Instead, the long game was to make impeachment itself look vaguely silly, or tacky.

    And they had good reason to want to blunt the impeachment weapon — it had at that point only been a real threat in modern times to Republican presidents. It drove Nixon from office, it could have, hell, should have, gotten Reagan, and Bush père as well.

    What odds the next President confronted with it would also be a Republican.

    So the farce went forward with impeachment itself, not Clinton, as a target.

    And so we got to where we are today.

  27. Boston1775 says:

    bmaz, I’ve thought a lot about the way this situation can be laid out to America and beyond. It is time for PBS to step up and do the job. Bill Moyers said in the impeachment discussion with Fein and Nichols that the Watergate hearings were instrumental in the formation of PBS. In this time of Constitutional crisis, it is time for PBS to carry the hearings (live and rebroadcast) and EDUCATE the people. It is in the public interest.

  28. Kagro X says:

    Neil, he says of course that it’s â€intellectual inertia.†I think that’s fancy-talk for, â€I’m not ready to admit I made a mistake yet.â€

    Davis, I’ve certainly thought so. In fact, my first ever posting on impeachment argued that it was more or less out of the question for precisely the reason you name.

    Luckily, I didn’t suffer from as much intellectual inertia as Josh.

  29. Mimikatz says:

    I think Josh just can’t bring himself to believe that (1) they really, really are that bad and (2) we really, really do have to bite the bullet and go through that unpleasantness again. It’s like having a family member with a very serious problem, or being afraid you have something bad so you don’t go to the doctor.

    Once you do accept that things are bad and start to focus on how to cope, things do get better (psychologically, anyway) but it’s sometimes a hard place to get to.

  30. Kagro X says:

    It’s a widespread problem. It wasn’t that long ago that Glenn Greenwald was telling us that anyone who thought the Bush â€administration†would simply ignore a court ruling was embracing â€a cartoon super-villain version of the administration which is just not real.â€

  31. Anonymous says:

    Kagro

    Yeah, you almost convinced me with that post on impeachment. Luckily, you came around quickly…

  32. greenhouse says:

    Kagro, alls I can say is I’m so glad you posted on the more salient reasons as to why to impeach, conviction or not, as opposed to not.

  33. Steve Smith says:

    Just because the imbecile Republicans in the 90s made fools of themselves is all the more reason for today’s Democrats to show that it is important for such strong measures to be taken when the offenses are so serious.

    This is important for more than gaining some transient electoral advantage. It is important to reset the bar of what is acceptable in our political system, which is vulnerable to self-destruction without self-regulation. Hopefully it will act as a deterrent to future members of the Republican party, which has been allowed to get away with the most damaging criminal behavior twice before. There may be some dispute about whether they â€got away†with Watergate, but I think the fact that Nixon was allowed to escape without impeachment or prosecution is damning. Obviously the Republicans proceeded to engage in increasingly criminal behavior under Reagan, and were able to escape without harm with GHW Bush’s despicable pardons.

    Even if conviction in the Senate fails, it is important to have on the historical record that the political leadership of the Democratic party recognized the enormity of the crimes committed by the current administration. That’s why I would be in favor of proceeding with impeachment even after the administration’s term is over. Our political future is threatened if we continue to allow this mafia operation to go unchecked.

  34. Looking_for_a_way_Out says:

    bmaz,

    I agree that the situation calls for impeachment. I was worried when I posted that comment, that I didn’t make my point well. I think that if the Democrats can play their cards right, impeachment will not hurt their electoral prospects, in fact it may prove beneficial to those prosepcts. Above Neil writes:

    â€If the articles are well researched, well defined and restrained, and the majority party makes it its business to frame the proceedings in the public discourse fairly and accurately, then no other course of action would serve our constitutional democracy better, and no less is required of congressmen and other officials who swore to uphold the Constitution.â€

    I am assuming that to develop such well researched, defined and restrained articles some time and hearings will be required. During that time and those hearings Republicans will have numerous opportunities to object and go on record. The harder Republicans defend the administration in the face of ever more obvious corruption, the worse their fate in ’08. Pushing impeachment through too quickly might give them the opportunity to stop answering questions about Bush, Cheney, Gonzales and all of their wrongdoing by claiming its only a response to the Clinton impeachment. Cut off every avenue of escape first, then move in for the decisive blow. Force the Republicans to publicly place party loyalty above country and their electoral prospects will suffer for a long time. Leave them the ability to call the impeachment of Bush et al a response to the impeachment of Clinton and they won’t suffer much at all. If done well the Democrats can prevail in the the court of public opinion even if the Senate does not convict, if not done well there is a potential price for failure.

    If 67 senators go on record that they support removal, the political benefit to be achieved with a deliberate process is muted and something more immediate can be pursued.

  35. phred says:

    bmaz — Keep that broken record of yours spinning my friend, it’s the only way we will keep making headway. A few weeks ago those of us calling for Bush’s (along with Cheney’s) impeachment were getting pooh poohed by our liberal friends. Nonetheless they listened to what we had to say and are coming around to our way of thinking. We must keep it up as long as it takes because so much is at stake.

    Kagro — You and I had the same groan moment (along with the â€sloppy reasoning†— thanks for that azportsider – about the 67 votes).

    I, for one, am not impressed by Josh’s thinking from the snippets presented here, but I am still glad to see that he is reconsidering his position.

  36. adam says:

    wow. this strikes me as quite distinct from the war issue. back then, josh and others (yglesias, drum) were on the fence about the war and just not willing to admit that the administration could really be that evil (which, at the time, wasn’t an unreasonable position, naive though it seems now).

    here, though, it’s obvious that everyone has the same goal. there’s merely disagreement about the best means of getting from A to B, given the gordian knot the administration’s been weaving around the legal issues. –even Nixon didn’t have the gall to pardon his own operatives, claim a general executive privilege, or prohibit contempt prosecutions, all claims that the administration has made almost casually in the last week. josh is right that those moves, although they seem almost casual, completely alter the strategic landscape — and this has all happened in the last, what, month? we’re playing a new game here — we should make sure that we know the rules before we make a big move like impeachment. they’ve snookered us too many times — this one needs to stick.

    josh, like many of us, knows what’s going on here and is now merely waiting for the opportune moment. we might only get one shot at this, and the consequences if we miss would be fatal to the country. i’m open to the ’impeach now’ position, but only if it works — and the gonzales circus just might have opened the window that we need. but the way forward here is hardly clear, and that one shot *must count*. if gonzales can be removed or a special prosecutor appointed or some other crack made in the DoJ bulwark, our chances become much better.

    josh is more reluctant to pass judgment than some, but that’s part of the reason he’s effective (â€intellectual inertia†is exactly right term). it takes all types. josh isn’t a front-lines fighter; however, he’s very, very good at marshalling force and guiding it effectively. his performance on the social security issue was masterful, and appropriate — it demanded a fast response to prevent â€bamboozling†(also precisely the right term) and he acted accordingly. as such, i’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. his record is quite good.

    in order to cut this particular knot, we’re going to need a *lot* of â€intellectual inertia,†and it’s clear that josh is on board. this isn’t analogous to the iraq issue — we’re all in agreement here, so it hardly makes sense to be pointing fingers when our disagreement is about tactics rather than the strategic goal. josh isn’t a fool. it’s obvious to everyone what’s at stake here. just keep your eyes on the ball.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I think what’s holding Josh back is what he’s being told about the electoral drawbacks, by his friends on campaign and Congressional staffs.

    He’s smart enough to see that it’s the only weapon Congress can wield to bring anything like accountability — the court route is totally tainted and stymied and will take forever. But he’s worried that it will cost Democrats seats in Congress, and he hasn’t internalized the case for impeachment having a positive impact even without a conviction in the Senate.

    Patient, reasonable, continued making of the case will bring results.

    Kagro and others, I understand how you felt reading â€more so than some of us realizeâ€, but JMM was probably talking about those very same friends whose positions make it impossible for them to see anything as more important than the electoral implications.

  38. pseudonymous in nc says:

    I don’t mind that Josh doesn’t have comments at TPM Classic. It’s part of what it is.

    And I don’t mind too much that he’s late to smell the sulphur in the air. He’s broken enough news to be entitled to that. In short, when Josh sounds like Digby, it’s significant.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I don’t give a damn where they come from, or what party they belong to; the bandwagon need all the riders it can muster, and they are all welcome in my eyes. Get on and lets go!

  40. Thad Beier says:

    Josh Marshall’s sealed the fate of the Social Security destruction plan when he coined the term Bamboozapalooza to describe the â€60 cities in 60 days†tour that Bush was going to go on to push for it. Once you hear that word, you know everything you need to know.

  41. adam says:

    Kagro and others, I understand how you felt reading â€more so than some of us realizeâ€, but JMM was probably talking about those very same friends whose positions make it impossible for them to see anything as more important than the electoral implications.

    Given the next sentence, I find it hard to read that sentence in any other way. He’s saying that the rules of the game have been seriously changed in the last few weeks, and that, sadly, the nuclear option of impeachment may well be the only route remaining. Therefore, he thinks we need to start laying the groundwork for successful impeachment, rather than rejecting it out of hand.

    I dunno, his post felt like a sea change to me; this is not characteristic rhetoric for Josh Marshall at all. DC is gearing for war right now. That’s what’s under the surface here.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Sigh. So much for impeachment.

    Before the war started, I asked the promoters I know how many Iraqi civilians and American soldiers must die, and how many dollars must we spend, before they said, â€enoughâ€? I got no response.

    The real news is, Mimi got fixed today, and is named after your own Mimikatz.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I had the same thought, upon reading Marshall’s post. I can’t wait for September 2008, when all sides are attacking the Democratic candidate for not holding Bush to account for his crimes of office back in 2007, and the candidate can’t bring him/herself to repudiate the prior stance and embrace the liberal side. It’s going to be supremely awesome.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Destroying the Excuses

    The President Is Not Immune To Accountability

    Putting aside the fact that State AGs may prosecute a sitting President, and VP . . .I understand Josh’s argument, but have a problem with one of his premises:

    â€My key reason, though, is that Congress at present can’t even get to the relatively low threshold of votes required to force the president’s hand on Iraq.â€

    Utter, complete non-sense. Congress doesn’t need any vote–it only takes once Committee Chair to mark up the budget. The GOP is powerless to stop this. For the disbelievers, or those caught in the DNC-headlights, here is how it’s done: †rel=â€nofollowâ€>Murtha’s actions show the DNC has no excuse: There is a way for the DNC to force the President’s hand.

    The Iraq war budget can be cut; and the GOP and President cannot stop it. A Presidential veto â€stopping nothing†is still [wait for it] nothing. The burden would be on the GOP to pass an Amendment to add the money back. How is the GOP going to convince the DNC — supposedly with the â€mandate to end the war†— to keep supporting the war? Wouldn’t that be interesting: After Muthas budget cut, for the GOP to convince the DNC to add money back. Let’s make the GOP work for it, not just on the Iraq budget, but also on impeachment.

    Right Leadership Can Turn Voters Against GOP Senate

    If the right leadership rises in the DNC, perhaps they can organize a case: If the GOP Senators refuse to convict, then the GOP Senators will have something to worry about.

    There’s nothing saying that a President and VP cannot be impeached multiple times on different things. this is not an all or nothing. How many rounds would the GOP Senate like to go through? Murtha shows there’s a way to do this. Hopefully Americans will stop pretending that the minority in the GOP are anything but what they are: Alleged war criminals.

    I reject the argument that a case could not be built; or that the GOP Senate would be hard pressed to support conviction. With the right prosecutors and presentation, the GOP Senators could be inspired to break ranks and save themselves. We’ve seen amazing things before November 2006. With the right information, the voters can be inspired to force the GOP Senators to do the right thing.

    Who in the GOP thinks they can ignore We the People? Let them try. Press on with impeachment; and make the GOP Senators explain their votes. Multiple times.

    If the DNC will look at the options it has, it can cut the budget in Iraq, and turn the US voters against the GOP Senate, destroying the Republican Party. Either the President resigns; or the GOP loses big in 2008. Make it happen: Cut the budget, and lets use the power of the purse to find out what’s going on. If the President will not cooperate with fact finding, the DNC needs to cut the budget. Murtha knows how. Time for the American public to pressure the DNC leadership to start doing what is possible: Use the power of the purse to threaten the President: Cooperate with oversight, or you lose funding needed for Iraq, FISA violations, and other illegal activity.

    If the DNC and Congress refuse to assert all lawful options to end this illegal activity — including cutting budgets — then the Sate AGs need to be spun up to prosecute Members of Congress for being complicit with what they have the power to end, but refuse. There is no excuse for Congress to continue funding things the President will not provide information.

    Oath of Office: Prosecuting Members of Congress, VP, and EOP Staff Counsel

    No information, no funding: The â€if you give us no information, you get no fundingâ€-standard is one Members of Congress can be held to when reviewing 5 USC 3331: Did they or did they not use all lawful options to defend the Constitution; and use the power of the purse to compel the President to assent to the rule of law. A President that is denied funding for a staff, has no staff to support him in illegal activity.

    On the table: Member of Congress option to cut the Presidents Iraq funding; and State level prosecutions of Members of Congress who refuse to assert this option to defend the Constitution from this domestic enemy.

    Don’t want to hear this BS argument, â€Oh, the President will stop the US Arty’s from acting.†Hay, the State AGs are litigating issues against the US government on FISA violations. The courts have not dismissed the case. There are legal issues which the court finds the States can bring. Not buying that argument: State AGs, regardless the Congressional refusal to impeach, have the power and authority to prosecute a sitting President and VP.

    State AGs May Prosecute A Sitting President

    There is no excuse for someone saying, â€Wait until the 2008 election.†No, we can have budget cuts now; and prosecutions now. The issue is whether Members of Congress want to impeach, or whether they would like to join the President as criminal defendants. That is not a voting decision or something we need to wait until 2008. It is a matter of criminal law which attaches to GOP Senators. Let them refuse to convict. Dare them. Then follow up with criminal prosecutions.