a national new year's resolution: impeachment by the Ides

The single most important issue in the 2008 campaign for the presidency is that of executive power. I am not intending hyperbole, here. The current executive administration has aggrandized a whole raft of illegal, anticonstitutional powers to itself which must be officially and legally repudiated before they're passed on to the next president.

The Boston Globe submitted a questionnaire on this issue to the current slate of candidates in both parties, and here are the answers they submitted. For the most part, especially on the Democratic side, the candidates reject the blatantly anticonstitutional and tyrannical behavior of the current executive administration. Mitt Romney provides some horrifying answers and has, as of now, alerted us to the fact that a Romney administration would alter the presidency even further and twist it ever closer to outright monarchy.

It's a good thing that these questions have been presented to the candidates, but a soundbite answer during campaign season is hardly enough to ensure the continuation of our nominally republican form of government. Two things are required: a detailed and extensive list of the current administration's violations of the Constitution and a definitive declaration that these assumed powers are now and forever unacceptable.

The best way I can think of to achieve these goals is the impeachment of (ideally) both the president and the vice president. Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein summarizes the various reasons why impeachment is both necessary and proper in this article from October of 2006, which I strongly suggest you read. Short of impeachment, I can think of nothing that will create the necessary legal precedent to outlaw the egregious expansion of executive authority we've seen in the last eight years, and which Dick Cheney has spent most of his political career attempting to achieve.

The stumbling block now is political will in Congress. Despite the garish obviousness of the executive branch's anticonstitutional behavior, there is no serious impeachment movement in Congress. It may be unpleasant, but it is the Constitutional duty of the Congress to check the power of the executive branch even if that means accusing a sitting administration of high crimes and misdemeanors and setting it on trial before the Senate. That this has not happened is especially baffling given the nearly unprecedented lack of approval the American public has shown for both the president and the vice president.

As such, I suggest that Congress choose March 15th, the Ides of March, to begin impeachment proceedings against both George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. Thankfully we have no need of daggers to rid ourselves of tyrants anymore (one hopes); the papercut suits us much better. Impeachment by the Ides! Start printing the posters now.

No comments: