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Groundswell for Impeachment

A majority of Americans?a majority!?say they think President Bush should be impeached on at least two grounds, lying about Iraq's alleged WMD threat and alleged links to Al Qaeda to justify an invasion, and NSA spying on Americans without getting a court warrant, but the media and Democratic Party leaders don't want to admit it.

The prevailing "wisdom" of our corporate media is that impeachment of President Bush is a left-wing fantasy. As a result, there is virtually no coverage in the media of either the majority sentiment for removing Bush from office or even of the key issues that make this president a poster child for impeachment.

Take the several polls by Zogby International on the impeachment issue. Last June, Zogby polled Americans across the country and found that some 42 percent favored impeaching the president if it were found that he had lied about the threat posed by Iraq in order to justify an invasion. That is a higher percentage of people in favor of impeachment than there ever was for the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton during his entire impeachment ordeal. Yet the poll was not mentioned by any major media news organization.

In November, Zogby repeated the poll. This time, 53 percent of respondents from all over the nation said they thought the president should be impeached and removed from office if he lied about the war. That poll to was totally blacked out.

A third poll early this year found 52 percent of Americans saying Bush should be removed from office if he broke the law and had the National Security Agency spy on American citizens without court warrants. Well, of course he did do that?the president has admitted he did so and says he will continue to do it--so the latest poll was really saying that 52 percent of Americans think he should be sent packing.

That poll too was largely ignored by the major corporate media.

Left-wing fantasy? Are we saying that the majority of Americans are left-wingers?

I don't think so.

But the media are not the only ones who are trying to dismiss popular sentiment for impeachment.

The leadership of the Democratic Party is doing the same thing.

While researching our book on impeachment (The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office, St. Martin's Press, due out in late April), my co-author Barbara Olshanshky and I have found that members of Congress?even firebrands like Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)?have been strong-armed behind the scenes by the Democratic National Committee not to introduce an impeachment bill in the House. Rep. John Conyers, the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, where such a bill would be considered, has submitted three bills that relate to impeachment?a proposal for a special committee to investigate possible impeachable crimes by the administration and bills to censure both the president and the vice president for refusing to answer questions from Congress on impeachment-related issues--but that's as far as the Democratic congressional leadership is willing to go.

As the Wall Streeet Journal reported in a March 6 article on the impeachment issue, Democratic Party leaders fear that party support for impeachment could lead to a backlash as happened to Republicans who supported Clinton's impeachment.

This is of course nonsense. The effort to impeach Clinton over his sexual escapades was always viewed by the majority of Americans, Democratic and Republican alike, as a farce and an embarrassment. As the Wall Street Journal notes, support for Clinton's impeachment never rose much above a quarter of the electorate--the hard right element of the Republican Party.

The issues that are driving popular sentiment for Bush's impeachment are much more serious:

* The conspiracy of lies that got the country into a war in Iraq that has already cost some $400 billion and that ultimately may end up costing over $2 trillion, and that has cost the lives of 2300 Americans and over 100,000 Iraqis.

* Obstruction of investigations into what the administration knew about the 9-11 attacks before they happened, and why nothing was done to prevent them.

* Undermining of basic Constitutional freedoms, from First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly, press and religion to Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure and Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial, to the even more basic rights of citizenship.

* Abuses of power, including the blatant violation of the law in the case of the president's violation of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, the use of over 500 "signing statements" to simply ignore laws passed by Congress, and the ignoring of court orders, as well as the use of government power to attack individuals, as in the case of the outing of underecover CIA agent Valerie Plame in order to publish her whistle-blowing husband, ambassador Joe Wilson.

* Trampling of international law through the authorization of policies of torture of captives and the rounding up and deporting of law-abiding residents based solely upon their ethnicity and religion, all of which have made America a pariah in the international community and needlessly inflamed hatred of America across the Muslim world.

* A criminally negligent attitude towards governing that has brought us the disaster and needless death of hundreds of people in New Orleans, the fiasco of the Medicare drug "program" for seniors, and the chaos of post-war Iraq.

* A criminal know-nothing obstructionism with regard to the urgent crisis of global warming, which even the Pentagon has concluded threatens the national security of the United States far more than any rag-tag band of terrorists.

* A culture of corruption in Washington that makes earlier epic scandals like Teapot Dome look penny-ante, with over 60 Republican members of Congress (that's better than one in four!) linked to just one bribing lobbyist and with war-profiteering by Republican-linked corporations running rampant.

These are all issues that cry out for action, and for saturation coverage in the nation's media.

The polls showing majority support for impeachment make it clear that the public knows all this intuitively, even though people have to get their information from personal observation, from the Internet, or by reading between the lines, because the media are more focused on the Oscars and the latest dramatic murder or kidnapping, and even though the supposed opposition party, for the most part, is afraid of its own shadow.

The prevailing wisdom is that all such talk about impeachment is fantasy, and yet out in the country, some candidates are finding that calling for impeachment brings down the house.

If those candidacies?and others that are being supported by groups like ImpeachPAC catch fire and start winning Democratic primaries in late spring, and if those candidates go on to win seats in Congress in November, I am predicting that their spineless colleagues will realize that the public wants action on all these issues, not just business as usual.

With the American public so on edge about so many issues, it might, in the end, not take that many radical upsets in November to create a whole new mood in Congress.

For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .

homepage: homepage: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

Fact Checking 07.Mar.2006 16:28


While I agree with your premises, attention to detail is important. Your claim that corporate media ignored the earlier Zogby polls is incorrect. It was covered in some detail by Dan Froomkin in his White House Briefing column on Washingtonpost.com. It was also discussed on NPR, which isn't corporate, but is certainly part of the mainstream media. I'm sure you could find coverage in other places if you looked.

My personal guess as to why there has been scant coverage of these polls is the hypothetical nature of the questions, they are all predicated by "if the president...". If someone put out a poll that asked about actual accepted facts and the numbers were high, I bet the press would be all over it.

I don't see a groundswell 07.Mar.2006 22:36

conservative peacenik

Very good stuff from both, Dave and Jason. However, I don't see a groundswell of support for impeachment. Most people I know in the "real" world seem to be more concerned with making mortgage payments, taking kids to athletics\activities, and other activities of life. I think part of the reason people aren't more interested in impeachment is a feeling that "we just did that". As you mentioned, most people feel that the Clinton impeachment was a farce. Even my conservative friends who say that there was grounds for impeachment based on the articles of impeachment drawn up against Nixon (lying to Congress, lying to the American People) think that it was a waste of time and resources. As an aside I actually supported Nixon until I heard some of the secret tapes of him and Henry Kissinger, now THAT was some scary stuff. Anyway, it just seems that most people aren't interested in going there again. After all, Bush's alleged criminal acts, though potentially much more serious, are not nearly as titillating.
Also, as they always say, it's not the act, it's the cover-up. One of trademarks of this administration is that they are so brazenly in-your-face about what they're doing, unless you by into all the conspiracy theories (where WERE those Roswell aliens on that fatefull day in Dallas?). They tend to say, "It's legal, we're doin' it", whether it is or not.
Finally, if Bush were to be impeached and removed, look what we'd get. Cheney. I don't know too many progressive types who think that would be much of an improvement.
Anyway, I think most people are just trying to get through this, and hoping for better candidates from both parties (yeah, right), or credible independents (H. Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, NOT), in the next presidential election.


50%+ groundswell even if "conserv. peacenik" asleep in backyard 07.Mar.2006 23:47

keeper of the statistical keys

I don't see a groundswell"

Well, gee, that's because you obviously aren't in it. You're a trollnik anyway.

not a lie if he's too stupid to know better 08.Mar.2006 03:14

not illegal if he gets away with it

> 52 percent of Americans saying Bush should be removed from office if he broke the law

They're waiting for their televisions to tell them that Bush is a criminal. Which won't happen. When the polls say "52 percent of Americans say Bush should be removed from office, period," then that'll mean something. Until then it's just word games.