The drums of impeachment have been echoing for a while now where the current White House administration is concerned.  In case you haven’t noticed, people REALLY don’t like the power grab the White House has been engaging in for this past seven years, nor do they care for the wholesale shredding of our Constitution.  The list of suspected high crimes and misdemeanors this White House has been involved with is long.  (It’s so long that Keith Olbermann has started a series called Bushed! devoted to it on his MSNBC program Countdown.)  I say suspected because no one seems willing to make this White House answer for itself and dig into what’s really been going on behind the scenes.  Not truly.  We were all ready to skewer a president for sexual impropriety, but when it comes to the fundamental way our government has been wrested from the hands of citizens, we’re all throwing up our hands and saying, “That’s okay.”

Take Jim Oberstar’s response to impeaching Dick Cheney, for example.  Oberstar, who represents Minnesota’s 8th District and is Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is a good guy.  He thinks things through and is generally responsive to his district and the state; however, I have to disagree with his reaction to impeaching Cheney.  Reprinted here is a letter from his office on the matter:

“Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts concerning congressional action to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.  I appreciate hearing from you concerning this important issue.

“On November 6, 2007, Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced a privileged resolution (H. Res. 799) to circumvent the committee process and immediately begin consideration of his impeachment measure in the House of Representatives.

“The motion to table the resolution, meaning to cut off debate, failed by a vote of 162-251.  A motion was then made to refer the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  The motion was agreed to by a vote of 218-194.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have made it clear that the Democratically controlled 110th Congress is not going to proceed with impeachment.  The 110th Congress will instead continue to focus on critical issues facing our nation such as health care for children and the war in Iraq, and will push for more government reform and oversight.  Oversight, traditionally the responsibility of Congress, is about making government better.  Unfortunately, this responsibility was largely ignored when Republicans were in control of Congress.

“Rest assured that I, along with my Democratic colleagues, will make government more responsive, more efficient and more transparent.”

If that’s truly the case, that Democrats want to make government more responsive, then why take impeachment off the table? If Congress is supposed to be about oversight, then why take impeachment off the table?  At this point, this is Congress’s only option in effectively checking this White House.  If the problem is that there are still too many Republicans in Congress for the Democrats to go forward with impeachment, then tell us that.

I’m not buying the argument that we should simply let this presidency run its course, that there’s only a year left anyway and what more damage could this White House do.  By not making a serious effort toward impeachment, Congress is setting a nasty precedent.  Now, no matter what a future White House administration wants to do, it’s got a free pass, because we haven’t held the Bush White House responsible for its actions.

It’s never too late to hold someone accountable for their past misdeeds, if only we can muster the will to do so.

And, Representative Oberstar?  You don’t represent Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer.  You represent me and the other citizens of Minnesota’s 8th District.

With gills flapping furiously,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

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