22 Dec 2005

Impeachable Offenses

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Editor & Publisher notes the appearance of impeachment talk recently in connection with the NASA flap all over the outposts of the leftwing commentariat:

NEW YORK Suddenly this week, scattered outposts in the media have started mentioning the “I” word, or at least the “IO” phrase: impeach or impeachable offense.

The sudden outbreak of anger or candor has been sparked by the uproar over revelations of a White House approved domestic spying program, with some conservatives joining in the shouting.

Ron Hutcheson, White House correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers (known as “Hutch” to the president), observed that “some legal experts asserted that Bush broke the law on a scale that could warrant his impeachment.” Indeed such talk from legal experts was common in print or on cable news.

Newsweek online noted a “chorus” of impeachment chat, and its Washington reporter, Howard Fineman, declared that Bush opponents are “calling him Nixon 2.0 and have already hauled forth no less an authority than John Dean to testify to the president’s dictatorial perfidy. The ‘I-word’ is out there, and, I predict, you are going to hear more of it next year — much more.”

Make no mistake. The level of the tactics of opposition the left is willing to resort to has increased continually over the last few decades with their ever growing frustration at political losses. These days, we see the Senate filibuster applied not just for the kind of primal confrontations which used to lead opponents in the major parties to die in the last ditch efforts. Today every significant mildly controversial bill, every tax cut, every presidential legislative initiative will reliably be filibustered.

We have reached a point of political opposition in which, if the weapon is available, the democrat opposition will use it.

The Bush Administration had better realize that it has only to lose control of the House of Representative in 2006, and they can bet that the NASA Flap or any later equivalent issue which can be inflated into a major scandal by the loving attentions of the democrat party’s MSM allies will be employed as a pretext for the Impeachment card to be played. The Left still believes it deserves revenge for the Clinton Impeachment, and for what it insists on looking upon as two “stolen” elections. The actual facts, fair play and intellectual honesty will have nothing to do with it. Lose the House and it will be Sauve qui peut! for the Bush Administration.

Since we could very well lose the House, if I were advising George W. Bush, I would tell him to fire that wimp Karl Rove, and get himself what is referred to in The Godfather as a war-time consigliere. The Bush Administration is being gradually brought down by the political equivalent of the death of a thousand cuts, by an endless succession of leaks and accusations. The opponents of the administration just keep throwing this one at the wall, and that one, to see which one is going to stick, and serve as the basis for a good old-fashioned Watergate-style scandal which can bring down the Administration.

Over four years, any endlessly repeated political initiative has a pretty decent probability of bearing fruit. As we have editorialized before, just like a football team, either an Administration is on the offensive or it is on the defensive. The only effective response to the calculated politics of scandal is to retaliate in kind more effectively. It’s not as if the opportunity does not exist. You have an active conspiracy of disgrunted former, and still active, Intelligence Community personnel leaking the most sensitive kinds of intelligence information for political purposes on time of war. A really aggressive Administration could be indicting people for treason. In this case, it should be entirely adequate to identify, prosecute, and punish some of the principal guilty parties on less extravagant charges.

The Bush Administration could take a leaf from the democrat party’s book, and learn how to use the politics of scandal to its own advantage. Only the politics of mutually assured destruction via scandal is likely to persuade democrats to relinquish ambitions of removing this president from office by impeachment.

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