Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cornered

Russ Feingold wants to censure the President. That's called suicidal by many. What about the dunderheads that want to impeach him? It takes a liberal to know one, and it also takes a liberal to explain to other liberals why what they're doing is a bad idea. So, David Corn to the rescue!

So what's the impeachment game plan? Stir up public outrage to such an extent that Republicans—scared silly by a surge of people power—cannibalize Bush? That seems a quite bit tougher to achieve than the more down-to-earth goal of winning the 15 seats the Democrats require to gain control of the House. (And picking up those seats is already a tall order.) Impeachment certainly has a visceral appeal that some may not find in that mundane and tired ol' cause of let's-take-back-Congress. But unless you have a fanciful imagination, it's difficult to envision the former without the latter. And if your goal is impeachment, why focus on that controversial aim rather than on achieving the political power necessary for waging such a drastic step? The potential costs of an impeachment campaign are clear. It could cause Democrats to appear marginal or out-of-touch. (Sorry, that's how much of the world works.) And it could create a wedge issue—for Democrats. That is, it could lead to division among Democrats in the months before the 2006 elections. (Democrats.com, an Internet-based activist group that passionately champions impeachment, has been attacking Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean for supposedly trying to smother impeachment fever among Democrats.) As for the benefits—well, if Bush is not impeached before the next election, what are they?


It's a good piece. Mostly because Corn even admits that some of the impeachment talk may be relevant on the merit, but it's terrible politics from a contemporary and historical perspective and is probably the riskiest gamble in the book. Let's face it. Some of us may like to see C-Plus Augustus impeached. Some of us would also like to see bales of cocaine fall from the sky, and ride unicorns to work, or build a giant android army to take over the world, or have the Pope force Salma Hayek to marry you. Some things are just not in the cards.