When the Democrats regained control of the House in 2006, the new Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, famously took the impeachment of George Bush “off the table.” This puzzled and disappointed millions of people who rightly wondered why a president could be impeached over a sex lie in 1999 but not over a lie just four years later that sent hundreds of thousands of innocent people to their deaths in Iraq while draining the U.S. Treasury of billions upon billions of dollars.
True, the fact that Bush’s lies cost the lives of 4,116 lives of US service men and women, injuries to over 30,000 of our troops, the deaths of over 1 million innocent Iraqi civilians, the destruction of Iraq, and a long term cost over $3 trillion may not rise to the level of a sex lie about a blowjob, but they still deserve at least a hearing.
In parliamentary proceedings, however, any item that can be taken off the table can be put back on it, if conditions change and the leadership wills it so. Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi signaled that an Article of Impeachment charging Bush with lying to Congress about his pretexts for invading Iraq might at least get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
There’s no way to know what changes in conditions, if any, may have prompted her to rethink impeachment, but it may have something to do with a new Rasmussen poll released on Tuesday that found approval of Congress at 9 percent, which is essentially a statistical zero.
Pundits have long speculated that Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the other leaders have been averse to impeaching Bush because the impeachment of Pres. Bill Clinton put the Republican-controlled Congress in such bad odor with the public.
Let’s assume that Pelosi and company are not so blind that they can’t see the difference in severity of Clinton’s misdemeanor and Bush’s high crimes — or that they’re such bad politicians that they can’t judge the difference in the voters’ view of Clinton, whose approval rating remained in the mid-60s throughout the ordeal, and its disregard for Bush, whose approval is in the low 30s. Nor can they be unaware of the corollary fact that disapproval of Bush’s misadventure in Iraq is in the upper 60s.
But the bottom line for Pelosi is, with approval of Congress at statistical zero, what has she got to lose? A good politician in that kind of trouble should not be averse to throwing some red meat out to the base.
Who can say if that’s what is happening but yesterday, the right-leaning Politico.com reported that Pelosi herself said that there might be hearings on impeachment:
“This is a Judiciary Committee matter, and I believe we will see some attention being paid to it by the Judiciary Committee,” Pelosi told reporters. “Not necessarily taking up the articles of impeachment because that would have to be approved on the floor, but to have some hearings on the subject.”
Pelosi added: “My expectation is that there will be some review of that in the committee.”
Late yesterday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio introduced a single Article of Impeachment before the House that charged Bush with the high crime of “deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization of the use of military force against Iraq.”
The Article closes by stating that Bush “invaded Iraq and occupies it to this day, at the cost of 4,116 lives of US service men and women, injuries to over 30,000 of our troops, the deaths of over 1 million innocent Iraqi civilians, the destruction of Iraq, and a long term cost over $3 trillion.”
True, this does not rise to the level of a sex lie about a blowjob, but it at least deserves a hearing.