Democratic Party Hiding Popularity of Demand to Impeach

Submitted by Bill Crosier on September 1, 2008 - 7:55pm. :: |

The following was written by Willie Simmons, a long-time member of the Progressive Action Alliance. If you are reading this on the PAA home page, click on the article title to read the entire entry.

Democratic Party Hiding Popularity of Demand to Impeach

A short time before the mid-term primaries in 2006, I wrote a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush. It was short and to the point. It argued that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) specifically declared the wire-tapping of American citizens without a warrant to be a felony; noted that President Bush had publicly acknowledged that he had instructed the National Security Agency (NSA) to do so without warrant; pointed out that the Constitution forbids a felon from holding the office of President; and called for the impeachment of Mr. Bush. It did not attempt to wade into other impeachable offenses such as lying to Congress and authorizing torture, because the FISA offense was legally so clear-cut.

This resolution was introduced and passed in all of the Democratic Senatorial District Conventions in Harris County. It passed in my own Senatorial District Convention with a roar. It also passed in San Antonio and Austin, and very likely, in other districts unbeknownst to me.

When the resolution got to the Texas State Democratic Convention in Fort Worth, as often happens, party insiders arranged to kill it by pushing the vote on the resolution back until most of the delegates had left, and then voted it down on the grounds that it only contemplated the impeachment of Bush, and not Cheney also--never mind that the result was clearly contrary to the sentiment of voters all the way down to the precinct level. The argument to kill the resolution because it did not include impeaching Cheney was obviously a specious ploy, because, the objectors could easily have called for it to be so amended if that was really their concern. This event ominously presaged what was soon to happen at the national level.

Several months after the 2006 primaries, and a little less than half a year before the 2006 mid-term elections, I joined some friends on various bridges over Highway 59 in Houston at places where the traffic daily grinds to a standstill to display signs to the snarled traffic below. We wondered if it might be possible to change the mood of a clearly intimidated populace, and make dissent permissible again. When we first started displaying our signs declaiming "Out of Iraq" and "Impeach Bush", we were met largely with dazed stares and outraged outbursts from contorted faces. Eventually people began to wave, honk their horns, or lean out the window and whoop. By the week before the mid-term elections, it was a veritable din. We were getting better than 10 to 1 positive responses. It was clear that it was not just the Democratic Party faithful, but the populace at large who wanted Bush to be impeached. Whenever we displayed signs demanding Bush's impeachment, the drivers went crazy. I leaned over to one of my friends amid the beeps, honks, whoops, and long truck blasts and said, "...and this is 'Bush country'!"

The 2006 mid-term elections brought to an end the decade-long Republican domination of the House and the Senate. Disaffection with the Bush Administration was high: people were sick of his antics and despaired of his policies. The war in Iraq, in particular, seemed hopeless. And the rank and file in the burgeoning Democratic Party was calling for his impeachment. Democratic congressmen and senators were swept into Washington on the crest of this wave.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party quickly turned its back on the voters who had put them back into the majority. Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House, soon declared that impeachment was "off the table". As if that were not enough, they also authorized "the Surge", expanded the Patriot Act, and have recently all but made domestic spying legal.

We have continued our "freeway blogging" ever since the 2006 mid-term elections. And another Primary season has come and gone. This year, in 2008, a modified version of my resolution passed many precincts and senatorial district conventions with a shout. And the Democratic Party insiders pulled the same trick this year at the State Democratic Convention in Austin as they had two years earlier in Fort Worth. Once again, they killed probably the most popular resolution to be put before the delegates--the resolution to impeach Bush and Cheney. This must be viewed as a cynical attempt, driven from the top, to hide the sentiments, not only of the party faithful, but of the hundreds of thousands of new-comers who overran Democratic Party Primary conventions in search of redress to Bush's autocratic rule.

In the face of congressional and Democratic Party refusal to address the widely-held demand to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney, what recourse do these people have? Third party initiatives have had obstacles thrown in front of them, and almost no coverage in the press. Lesser known candidates in the major parties were brutally and illegally side-lined, such as Dennis Kucinich on the Left, and Ron Paul on the Right. Perhaps Congress expects the people to arrest Bush and Cheney in a citizen's arrest? But if the Democratic Congress will not address their case, what would that accomplish? Perhaps Democrats should arrest the Democratic congressmen who refuse to address the demands of those who elected them? But there is no mechanism for this. What other options remain? Civil disobedience? Clearly, Congress should reconsider its refusal to squarely address this issue.

Allowing Bush and crew to go out of power without being impeached is unacceptable. To do so would imply that any future American president can also wield nearly dictatorial power as Bush has done. Any future president can suspend habeas corpus; enter your house without cause; take your possessions; invade and violate your privacy; tap your phone; read, copy, store and analyze your email; examine your bank activity; scrutinize your library records and book purchases; ignore congress; lie to congress; engage in torture; throw you in jail without due process; and retroactively change laws which he has broken. I am amazed that Republicans are not tripping over each other to make sure that Bush is impeached. Do they really want the awesome imperial toolset which Bush has arrogated to himself to pass on undiminished to Obama? I do not, no matter what party the next president belongs to. I do not want a Barak Obama to be so endowed, nor a John McCain, nor yet a Ralph Nader, or even a Cynthia McKinney. This flagrant and unapologetic power grab must not end unopposed.

William F. Simmons
July 20-23, 2008, August 16,20, 2008

Simmons is the author of a 2006 resolution calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush and other resolutions adopted by various Democratic conventions in different years. He has been a regular "freeway blogger" on bridges over Highway 59 in Houston. He is a member of Progressive Action Alliance, and has served as an election judge in numerous elections.

See also:
http://paa-tx.org/impeach -PAA Impeach main page
http://paa-tx.org/node/1379 -Impeach resolution
http://youtube.com/user/nebeilbob -Impeach video
http://youtube.com/watch?v=KvNxtyTYO24 -Impeach freeway blogging

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Text of Original Resolution

Impeach Bush

WHEREAS The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) specifically declared the wire-tapping of American citizens without a warrant to be a felony; and

WHEREAS President George W. Bush has repeatedly admitted, and even defended his instruction to the National Security Agency (NSA) to electronically eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant for the last five years, and has defiantly stated his intention to continue to do so; and

WHEREAS A felon may not hold the office of the President of the United States; be it therefore

RESOLVED That President George W. Bush immediately be impeached for his High Crimes and Felonies against the people, the laws, and the constitution of the United States of America.