Be Careful What You Wish For

Republicans must think they are ever so cute. Really, that is the only way to explain their performance today in the House.

For a little background, Dennis Kucinich has been among the stalwart in impeaching President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. In fact, he’s even got the right idea in that you impeach the veep first because impeaching the President would most definitely equate to letting the monster out of the box (in this case, these are only just barely metaphors).

The motion to impeach Cheney came up today, and from the onset it was believed the motion would swiftly get tabled, primarily by soft spine Democrats who don’t think they could survive the political aftermath of impeaching the Vice President of the United States. But if they thought they were going to make this attempt at impeachment quietly go away, they were sorely mistaken.

In an odd, for lack of a better word, move, it was the Republicans who voted en masse to keep the motion alive, sending it to committee as opposed to the legislative graveyard. The undertone for the vote was unmistakable; ‘we’re going to make you eat this motion.’

The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb is having himself a good chuckle over the entire thing, claiming that the Dem’s have been outmaneuvered by those clever clever Republicans. But what Goldfarb, the 200 plus Republicans who voted to keep the motion alive, and the 150 Democrats who tried to table it don’t seem to understand is that impeachment of Cheney is not nearly the act of political suicide that so many beltway faithfuls seem to think it is.

It’s hard to imagine there could be much backlash from attempting to impeach a man who has a lower approval rating than the President himself. I mean, you might lose Wyoming, but other than that, you’re pretty safe. Indeed, there is little to be lost in at least attempting to oust the Vice President from office; those few people who would be enraged at such an action are the same people who wouldn’t vote Democrat if Democratict Senators and Congressmen cooked them breakfast in bed every morning before going off to do whatever it is that legislators do on a daily basis. The rest of America, the same America that actually does see Cheney as a crook, would at worst be ambivalent.

While technically alive, it is true that the bill is little more than that. Under the increasingly questionable leadership of Nancy Pelosi, it is hard to imagine a scenario where there would be a strong enough effort to get the votes necessary to bring impeachment about, but still, it would be false to think the Republicans pulled a fast one over Kucinich and those who who are standing behind this motion.

I don’t think America will mind an impeachment, and would be largely supportive if the House went through with it. Further, it’s not even hard to explain away the hundred and fifty who initially voted to table the motion considering that we already know their story. What will become significant, however, and has the potential for backfire, is if this motion does manage to get out of committee against all odds and come up for a vote and all the Republicans who initially voted to keep it alive are going to have to explain why they all of a sudden flopped around and are voting against impeachment.

And that explanation is going to have to deal with the same kind of bitter partisan politics as usual that have got the electorate about disgusted with Congress in the first place.

Also, while the odds against Kucinich’s motion are astronomical, they aren’t as bad as one would think. Keep in mind, the chairman of the committee to which this motion is now heading is none other than John Conyers, and if the near weekly emails I get from his office are true, there are few other congressmen in the House quite as supportive of impeachment as Mr. Conyers.

What the Republicans did today was sophomoric, I just hope they get it thrown back in their faces.

5 Responses to “Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    I think money should flood into Kucinich’s campaign in the next 24 hours to SHOW the Dem leadership how much America wants this.

    And I say this, even though I plan to vote for Edwards.

  2. Mark says:

    I lack the patience to look it up again, but I just wanted to throw in that one or two polls this summer showed that far more people would support impeachment of Cheney- or, for that matter, Bush- than ever supported impeachment of Clinton. Yet impeaching Clinton was somehow not political suicide, while impeaching Bush/Cheney is?

  3. Kevin: I concur wholeheartedly and the last thing I do before calling it a night is to do a post on this.

    Mark: I dug around trying to find one of those polls for a while, but alas, even my favorite polling site doesn’t really cover such things, sticking primarily to horse race and presidential approval.

  4. Mark says:

    Here’s one of the references I was thinking of:

    There was somewhere else that compared those numbers with the peak numbers for the Clinton impeachment, but I can’t remember where.

  5. xranger says:

    From what I’ve seen, the impeachment was based upon the fact that Cheney lied to Congress about Iraq’s WMD’s, and the fact that they had them.

    From my point of view, I’d like to see the Dems make their case – get this into a full-scale Congressional debate.

    At the end of the day, if the Dems make a persuasive and factual case, impeach him.

    If not, then they should SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.

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