Editorial: Impeach Bush in the State Assembly

By Becky O'Malley
Tuesday April 25, 2006

Monday morning’s e-mail brought a dispatch from the lively Op-Ed News website, the first to report, as far as we know, that Assemblymember Paul Koretz has just introduced in the California Legislature a resolution to impeach not only the despised Dubya but also the odious Dick Cheney. He has submitted it as amendments to his prior Assembly Joint Resolution No. 39. They reference Section 603 of Jefferson’s Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature. A similar resolution is already underway in Illinois, and proponents have high hopes that it will be passed. 

Koretz’s press release says that he “bases the call for impeachment upon the Bush administration intentionally misleading the Congress and the American people regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify an unnecessary war that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives and casualties; exceeding constitutional authority to wage war by invading Iraq; exceeding constitutional authority by federalizing the National Guard; conspiring to torture prisoners in violation of the Federal Torture Act and indicating intent to continue such actions; spying on American citizens in violation of the 1978 Foreign Agency Surveillance Act; leaking and covering up the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, and holding American citizens without charge or trial.” Whew. That’s a stunning assortment of high crimes for one president to have committed, and Bush did them all and more.  

We first called for impeachment in this space around Christmas time, which doesn’t seem like so long ago. Since then the smoking gun in the Plame Wilson case has been deftly placed in the Bush-Cheney briefcase by the incomparable Patrick Fitzgerald. Bush’s lawless spying on Americans has been documented even more fully. No one, even many conservatives, believes any more that the presidential propaganda leading up to the Iraq invasion contained an iota of truth. In fact, what’s most shocking at the moment is the question of why not more has happened now that all of this is out. Why do members of the U.S. House of Representatives seem to be dragging their feet on the bill of impeachment introduced by John Conyers and others?  

One answer, the simplest one, is that the Democrats know that they’ll never get it passed in the Republican-dominated House. That’s why the November election looms large at the moment. As of this writing, we can’t find any reliable authority to tell us what the consequences of the state legislatures’ passing these resolutions might be. It doesn’t seem likely that the U.S. House of Representatives would be out of the picture altogether, but it would at least give Congress members something to think about. 

The job now for people around here is to persuade our local state Assembly members to quickly add their names to the Koretz crusade. He represents West Hollywood, a district as progressive as ours if not more so, but there’s no reason Loni Hancock and Wilma Chan shouldn’t jump on board immediately, not to mention the rest of the Bay Area members who are in safe Democratic districts. And for our Internet readers, there are several safe Blue States (Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts come to mind) where an impeachment crusade has a chance of success.  

While we’re talking about persuasion, however, and about the usually excellent Op-Ed News site, could we make yet another plea to be left out of their robot-mail operation? Their home page contains a button which generates this option: “This special one click action page is brought to you by OpEdNews.com and The People’s E-mail Network (P.E.N.). It will submit your personal message on any issue YOU care about to your local newspaper as a Letter to the Editor. We can either determine your closest daily paper from your address, or you can pick on a particular one in your area yourself.”  

The result of this is that the Planet (and probably other papers as well) is being deluged with the written equivalent of sound bytes on “everyone-around-here-agrees” topics like, in fact, impeaching the president. The format of the auto-mailer limits writers to 250 words and encourages less, so they don’t do much except shout hallelujah with the choir. We can recognize these letters easily because many signers don’t notice the box where they’re supposed to select an honorific to add to the signature, so a letter might be signed “Mr. Sarah Glutz.” They’re nothing more than spam, even if they’re progressive spam. All we do is press the delete button—we don’t even count such letters.  

Some of the attached names are our friends, local people we know to be thoughtful and good writers. We’d love to get well-written letters from them, tailored to the Planet’s literate readers, but please, folks, skip the People’s E-mail Network form. You’re filling up our mail boxes and driving us nuts. Better you should write good letters to Hancock, Chan et al., urging them to join Koretz’s crusade. He probably needs all the help he can get at this point.