Me and some of my fellow Canadians wonder why Bush is still your president. It seems he has illegally curtailed freedoms, gotten you into a war for causes he lied about, and in general can run amuck all in the name of making America safe from terrorism, without really proving it is safer. It appears he has solidified the radical Muslim element and created one hell of a mess. Curious too how gasoline prices suddenly jumped shortly after the war began in Iraq…it reminds me vaguely of how we were told petroleum was running out in the early 1970’s and prices escalated…nothing like today, but similar.
What would the process of impeachment be and when was it last used?
Impeachment is a political process starting with the House of Representatives and the Senate serving as the jury. Since Congress is controlled by the Republicans which just happen to share the same party as the President it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Remember, impeachment is a political process and we can’t exactly change governments like you can with a parliament.
The last time the President of the United States was impeached was during the Clinton administration but they didn’t have enough votes to remove him from office. Before that it was Andrew Johnson who managed to avoid impeachment by a hair.
Impeachment is reserved for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The US does not have the equivalent of “No confidence”.
Some think that Nixon came close to impeachment as a result of his steps to undermine the judicial process. When such abuses occur, the legislature must step in.
I don’t know of any evidence that Bush has blatantly and illegally thwarted investigations into wrongdoing by his administration. That’s partly because the Republican Congress hasn’t conducted serious investigations on its own.
Impeachment was last used under Clinton. Before that Nixon was threatened with it. President Andrew Johnson (1868) was impeached but then acquited of all charges by a single vote.
It was last used in 1999 against Bill Clinton for lying under oath in a sexual harrassment case filed against him. A fair synopsis of the events is here.
Impeachmentt is determined by the House of Representatives. If they vote to impeach him, the Senate decides in closed session whether he should be removed from office. Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office. Nixon, it is believed, would have been both impeached and removed from office had he not resigned.
The only other President to be impeached was Andrew Johnson, in 1868. You can read about it here.
Bush hasn’t been impeached, in my opinion, because impeachment is largely a political act, as was the case with Clinton. And with the Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate, he’s pretty protected. If that changes drastically in November, they’ll be talk of it, but if it actually happens. who knows?
It’s a shame that we -don’t- have an equivalent of the ‘no confidence’ vote, I think. (Although I suspect it would suffer from the same trouble of being determined entirely along party lines, practically speaking.) Leaving aside for the moment the fact that what constitutes a high crime and/or misdemeanor is basically up to the whim of the House, we don’t really have any proper constitutional mechanism for removing a President who is not per se ‘criminal,’ but just grossly incompetent…
Incidentally, even if the Dems have a stunning victory in the fall, there won’t be impeachment proceedings. He’s out in two years anyway at that point, and I suspect the threat of having a Cheney presidency is enough to make any Democrat tremble. Ugh. shudder
Brilliant. And we all know that he’s the one running things anyway. Impeaching Bush and not his cabinet would accomplish absolutely nothing. Anyone can see he’s just a puppet. Any doctor will tell you of the vast brain damage that life-long alcoholism will bring. Damage that is perfectly evident in his speech. Also note that never, not once, has he made a spontaneous, original, thoughtful answer to a journalist’s question. Hell, they hardly even let him near them. He also spends a whole lot of time not working (exercising, sleeping, etc.). His first term he had something like four months of vacation. I mean you don’t elect a president, you elect a cabinet. But it’s messed up we’re being lied to about this (and about WMDs and, futily, about global warming, and etc.). Makes you really wonder what else they would be capable of. Note how the guy who tried to assassinate Reagan (when Bush senior was vice president and next in line for power) was the son of a family friend of the Bushes (another oil man). Six years ago even such a surprising connection could reasonably have been waved off as coincidence. Now…
Come on, I’m not even a political cat, but even I know they didn’t technically try to impeach him for a blowjob. They tried to impeach him for perjury - for lying to a court while under oath by saying he hadn’t had sex with Monica. Or was it some other chick? I don’t care. But he did lie, and he was under oath.
Let me suggest that if there is a landslide this Fall and the Democrats obtain an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress there will be no serious impeachment effort. There will be Congressional inquiries right and left, there will be gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, but there will be no impeachment for a number of reasons.
First, the Democrats lack the basic ruthlessness and malice necessary to the effort. To a great extent the people who run the Democratic party and carry its banner in Congress are pragmatists and are not married to an agenda which requires the removal of the President to archive their objectives. Nor do Democrats share the resentment of the impeachment of Clinton that Republicans harbored over the removal of Nixon and fired the effort to remove a Democrat, any Democrat. These are not the guys to carry a political war to the knife and the knife to the hilt.
Second, the removal of Bush leaves us with Cheney. If, like Agnew, Cheney could be removed and replaced with some pragmatic Republican then it would be a different story. Some might suggest that if Cheney could be removed and disgraced then there would be no need to remove Bush, on the view that Cheney is the Grey Eminence that sets the government’s policy. Seemingly the people who went after Clinton didn’t care if Gore became president.
Third, two years isn’t enough time to do the job and work any real change in government.
Fourth, the critical step in any impeachment of Bush, and the electorate’s acceptance of it, is the involvement of the courts. Some court, almost certainly the US Sup Ct, must hold some government action to have been unlawful and the President must defy that finding. However, so far the Federal Government has been successful in claiming that the courts cannot even examine the government’s actions by asserting a State Secrets Doctrine – we will for the time being ignore the roots of the State Secrets Doctrine as a n evidentiary exclusion rule. If an when the Federal Courts start to examine things like the open ended imprisonment of people as enemy combatants, the CIA and NSA domestic spying, so-called aggressive interrogation and the German Arab who was dumped in Albania then the floodgates might open.
Lastly, the public will to get rid of this bunch of Robber Barons has not yet developed and as long as waiving the bloody shirt and screaming “9/11" suppresses dissent that public will won’t happen. We are a foolish people more moved by appeals to emotion, no matter how irrational, than by facts and logic.
…during an investigation about whether or not he had a history of sexual harrassment. It does seem pertinent, although IANAL. He got a blowjob from a subordinate. Doesn’t it seem like that might have some impact on a judge’s decision whether or not he had a history of sexual relationships with subordinates?
Sexual harrassment is a criminal act, isn’t it? (Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s civil. But it’s Something You Don’t Do Or Judges Get Very Angry.)
Do I think the blowjob was important regarding his job as president? Hell, no.
Do I think the blowjob was important regarding his history as a possible sexual harrasser? Yes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Clinton supporter/Bush hater with the best of 'em. But that doesn’t change the fact that the impeachment hearings were about perjury, not fellatio.
The causes, or his actual motivation is only in his heart and can be never known by any other person. But as for lying, it doesn’t look for it, remember Clinton, Kerry and many others on both sides and in many coutries have openly stated that Sadam had WMD and was a threat, IIRC Kerry stated ‘if you don’t beleive Sadam has WMD’s don’t for for me’. The one who actually seemed to lie was Sadam Husain himself, and was able to deceive the world that he had them (though I personally still beleive that he did have them and they still exist somewhere). So it doesn’t appear to be a impeachable offence.
I don’t think an impeachment would be required if Congress had exercised its power to demand justification and positive results from the executive. Congress has completely abandoned its job of holding the executive to the account for the execution of its function.
The president either swears or affirms tha he or she will “support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That oath or affirmations doesn’t add “unless the national security shall require otherwise.” Had the founders wanted to make an exception for national security reasons they would have done so as they did in other places (see Art. I, Sec. 9.2).
The president’s job is to see that the laws are faithfully executed (Art. II, Sec. 3), and here again there is no exception stated in case of a danger to national security.
The Congress also has the power to make “rules concerning captures on land and water (Art. I, Sec. 8.11)” and so could determine the treatment of detainees it is so desired.
Congress has not in any way given even a general guidance to the executive as to the conduct of the national defense, which was one of the primary reasons for estblishing the Constitution, but has merely ratified by inaction whatever outrageous claim is made by the Attorney General or the Decider in Chief.
If the Congress used the powers it has and the executive defied it, then there would be a case for impeachment.
And why certain posters have to derail every Bush thread with that nonsense is beyond me. I think that we need a sticky that says “Clinton was not impeached for getting a blow job” and treat anyone who posts otherwise as having knowingly posted false information. The sensational nature of the blow job was what help keep this in the headlines for so long. The impeachment was about lying under oath. It’s possible to take the position that Clinton should not have been impeached without distorting the actual history.