Revolutionary Thinking: State Legislatures Push Impeachment

The ineffectiveness of the United States Congress is so pronounced at times it’s laughable. We are six years into a presidency that elevates graft, corruption, and criminal behavior to an artform and neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate have begun impeachment charges against the Bush Administration.

Perhaps they’re waiting for a stained dress to make its entrance?

Thirty-three Republican senators that voted guilty in the 1999 proceedings against Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice still remain in office. Not surprisingly, they now stand mute against President Bush’s wiretapping, treason, warmongering and profiteering. And why? Because of partisan politics? That’s shameful.

Forgive me if I find the idea of lying our nation into war distasteful; it is, after all, the worst form of treason imaginable. The loss of life, credibility, and wealth since we invaded Iraq in 2003 is incalculable. Intelligence was ignored or fabricated, dissenters were silenced, blood was spilled. When will the representatives we elect brush the cobwebs from their eyes and do their job? What else needs to happen before we can expect an honest-to-goodness inquiry into the White House’s crimes?

Some people are tired of waiting for Congress to stop dealing with minutae like honoring the Sons of the American Revolution to find out. That’s why two states — Illinois and California — have taken advantage of a never-used House rule this past week to demand impeachment proceedings themselves. An announcement like this could rock the insulated little world that exists on Capitol Hill.

Leave it to the states to do the government’s job.

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California Assemblyman Paul Koretz is livid.

“At both the state and national levels, we will be paying for the Bush Administration’s illegal actions and terrible lack of judgment and competence for decades,” he says. “Bush and Cheney must be impeached and removed from office before they undertake even deadlier misdeeds, such as the use of nuclear weapons. There are no bounds to their willingness to ignore the Constitution and world opinion — we can’t afford to wait for the next disaster and hope that we can survive it.”

Koretz is the sponsor of the California initiative to impeach the president and vice president. It’s inspired in part by his digust with the current regime and in part by similar legislation drafted by Karen Yarbrough of the Illinois General Assembly. Both items take advantage of Section 603 of Thomas Jefferson’s Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which “allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature.”

What would they impeach Bush for? All the right stuff, it appears:

  • Violating provisions of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony;
  • Violating provisions of the Geneva Convention by authorizing torture;
  • Holding American citizens without due process;
  • Initiating an illegal war against Iraq, resulting in loss of life and diminished security; and
  • Leaking classified information and exposing a covert operative — Valerie Plame — as means of silencing his critics.

When you read that list does your stomach turn? It’s not like the abovementioned talking points are still being disputed; Bush has defended his wiretapping, torture, and war and recent allegations have all but proven that the authorization to leak Plame’s identity came from the president himself. If these charges were levied against anyone else they’d stand in front of the International Criminal Court for war crimes charges.

The majority of the people in this country do not approve of the Bush Administration — 33% is the highest pollsters can skew the numbers. Even publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are talking about impeachment (if only in abstract terms). People are tired of the rising body count and lowering quality of life here in the United States. Bush’s lame duck presidency is one brave vote from becoming a statistic; all that stands in the way is the political process.

That’s why it’s so important to get the word out on these two pieces of legislation now while they’re still in the birthing stages. It’s received scant media attention (shocking, huh?) despite the revolutionary steps being taken. If you support what’s happening let your representatives know you support their actions (citizens of California and Illinois take note) or demand similar bills in your own home states.

This is not some partisan stab or revenge tactic. The crimes visited upon us by our head of state are pernicious and rise above the party one identifies themselves by. Any elected leader caught lying, no matter how trivial the issue, should be fired. The Constitution doesn’t allow for the president to lie to the people… but it does allow us to remove him from office.

So while Rep. Jim Conyers continues to investigate the possibility of starting impeachment proceedings (an investigation that has corralled just 29 members of the House), let’s look to the states for change. Let them use the law passed down by one of our greatest Founding Fathers to rid ourselves of the complete opposite of what he wished for this nation of ours. And while we’re at it, let’s rid ourselves of the weak and cowardly congressmen that refuse to stand by the guiding principles of our republic by endorsing Bush’s actions with their silence. They’ll only stand in the way when one of these state bills makes their way to Washington, DC.

Heck, if the impassioned rhetoric of two state officials and this columnist don’t sway you, maybe Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will: “George W. Bush should definitely be impeached, he is a liar and his lies have bought misery to millions of people and bought no good to anyone except for the corporate oil billionaires who are making huge profits.”