Kucinich’s half-baked impeachment attempt

July 9, 2008 at 9:18 am Leave a comment

Representative Kucinich has decided to take the minimalist approach, reducing his load of 35 articles of impeachment down to one, to be introduced on the floor Thursday. Excerpted from his preliminary letter to Congress:

There can be no greater responsibility of a Commander in Chief than to command based on facts on the ground, and to command in fact and in truth. There can be no greater offense of a Commander in Chief than to misrepresent a cause of war and to send our brave men and women into harm’s way based on those misrepresentations…

This Thursday evening I will bring a privileged resolution to the House with a single Article of Impeachment of President Bush for taking our nation and our troops to war based on lies. We owe it to our troops who even at this hour stand as sentinels of America because they love this country and will give their lives for it. What are we willing to do to match their valor and the valor of their successors? Are we at least willing to defend the Constitution from the comfort and security of our Washington, DC offices?

Bad move on Kucinich’s part. After the House voted to send his 35 articles to the Judiciary Committee—ah, clever, vote it away from the public eye and let it die quietly in committee—he said:

The minute the leadership said ‘this is dead on arrival’ I said that I hope they believe in life after death; because I’m coming back with it. It’s not gonna die. Because I’ll come back with more articles. Not 35, but perhaps 60 articles.

Further, he gave Congress a deadline—thirty days to act.

Less than thirty days later, he comes back with one. Just one? Where are the other 59? Did Kucinich, of all people, run out of grievances to air? Where’s his commitment? Though he did say early on that he would offer one article of impeachment to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, in my opinion this half-baked decision is based on some pretty bad judgment of how Congressional politicking actually works. If he was really planning on going for this Capraesque move, the least he could have done was supply a decent storyline for the media to jump on—Kucinich gets mad, gets even, man bites dog, etc. Instead he takes the sensible route (of all things!), cutting them off and thus relegating his move to the news day backwaters.

It seems like the only way to get press in Congress is to pull a stunt. Unfortunate, sure, but if impeachment is truly “off the table,” as Speaker Pelosi said way back in 2006, the best that Kucinich can hope for is some extra publicity to conceivably steer a course away from Iran—one of his stated goals. It’s frankly disingenuous of him to believe that taking the straight and narrow route, with his reputation, will get any coverage and thus any concern on the part of his detractors’ constituents.

Kucinich should have sat it out till the thirty days had passed, then roared back with his (semi-)promised sixty. I think it’s a bit too late now—any renewed attempt at introducing impeachment will at the most get some scornful blog coverage—but if he had really wanted this to go through, he should have handed over at least some control and public representation to a Congressman without such a built-up persona, someone who’s well-known but not for being so liberal and campaign-challenged that the renewed impeachment process would be seen as so much overheated fist-waving. He should have waited. And then he should have come back with the other 59, as promised. While the process most likely would be second verse, same as the first, it would at least accomplish something to Kucinich’s ends, be it renewed (if somewhat incredulous) media coverage or a new look at getting some accountability out of President Bush.

However, who knows—July 18 could come with a renewed attack from Representative Kucinich. At this point I’m hugely skeptical, but who knows?

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Capitol Words The Body is back

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