A lot of my friends, the ones who are Democrats and Greens, want Congress to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Now that there is a Democratic Party majority in Congress they are pushing this line of reasoning really hard. Wikipedia has a good description of the basic argument.
Well, I don't like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney one bit. They represent interests opposed to my interests; they are War Criminals; like the Clinton administration before them, they have done nothing about global warming. They are from the rape-and-pillage class.
But you could say that about just about any past President and Vice-President of the United States. It is hard to find a president who did not invade a native American Indian nation or some other county; they were almost all war criminals. Most of the early ones were slave owners and after Ulysses S. Grant none of them could be bothered with civil rights for African-Americans until Eisenhower came along. They certainly all lied to Congress and to the rest of us whenever it seemed convenient. During the 20th century most of them where happy to preside over a system of spying on, and sometimes murdering, dissidents.
Okay, you can argue they should have all been impeached. Clinton and Gore should have been impeached for their real crimes, not for the bologna the Republicans went after them for.
But who is going to impeach them? Congress? The likes of Diane (subsidize the machine-gunning of Palestinian children) Feinstein, my own Representative Mike Thompson (a war criminal from the Vietnam era), and the others who are against war once it becomes unpopular and hence a way to extend their own political careers.
Bush lied to Congress? And they are so used to being honest with their constituencies, they just naturally never considered at the time that George might be lying. And what about the American people? Did they vote out of office all the people in Congress who voted to invade Afghanistan? No. I recall Democrats telling me this was different, we had been attacked. All the Trade Center terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, but why not mow down civilians in Afghanistan to send the people of the world a message that American Democrats are sacred? I recall Democrats who are now demanding that Bush be impeached telling me how they supported invading Iraq.
How about leaving the war crimes parties. That would be the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. When you join (register for) a war-crimes organization (and what is a war-crimes organization other than one that has a history of committing war crimes?) you are aiding and abetting war crimes. It does not matter if one war-crimes organization is pro-Choice and the other is anti-abortion. If your ethics allow for large-scale murder, what does that make you?
Impeachment should be reserved for situations where the President is in clear defiance of the people, as expressed by clear legislation by Congress, or is in clear violation of the Constitution, as voted upon by the Supreme Court.
There is also a tactical political down side to demands for impeachment. To those citizens not infected with partisan fever, the Republicans looked like lunatics for trying to impeach Bill Clinton. The same is true of impeaching Bush. The man is out of office soon, and for the most part had the support of a majority of Americans when he invade Afghanistan and Iraq, no matter how wrong those policies were. Impeachment is overkill. When he first took office many lefties I know said he would establish a dictatorship. That he has not done.
The office of President was not meant to be a policy-making office. Congress is supposed to make policy; the Executive Branch, managed by the President, is supposed to carry out policy.
But the real problem is not the politicians, slimeballs and liars though they may be. The real problem is with the American people. We elect the politicians. We could elect good ones. But we never will when party insiders determine who will win primaries. We never will elect good politicians as long as the choices are between Democrats and Republicans.