The news is rife lately with talk of the non-binding resolution passed by Congress against Bush’s Iraq “Surge”. Right behind it is talk that the only other option Congress has is to curtail military funding – not incidentally, the path taken by Congress 35 years ago to get us out of Vietnam. But while 2/3 of us now oppose a troop surge, a vast percentage of us (me included) oppose having Iraq end like Vietnam did. And this is what Congress rightfully fears if they play the budget card.
So what’s a poor Congress to do? The Constitution doesn’t provide them any direct control over the military, and Bush has been pretty adamant that he is the decider and he doesn’t give a flea’s left testicle what Congress or the American people think about Iraq. He has a plan, and dammit we’re gonna follow it.
But there is a lever left unpulled. The Constitution says, “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Now back on December 8th, I advocated for using this lever against President Bush as a threat to get him to accede to reasonableness. I now think I was wrong. At least wrong about the target. And I also fear that the nation isn’t really ready to be quagmired by another Presidential impeachment. Whether or not it is deserved, it probably isn’t healthy.
So let’s consider recent events. To Bush’s marginal credit, he has begun to at least acknowledge that mistakes were made (not that he made any, but let’s not dwell on semantics). He has at least shown that he has a wee little bit of capacity for change. But I suspect he still suffers from the blindness of his inner circle. The fact that he only listens to this small gaggle, means that he is still subject to manipulation by them. Add in that Cheney’s remarks since the State of the Union address minimally indicate that he is not acknowledging any missteps, and depending on your interpretation, sound like they might be an outright rebuttal to the President’s own speech. There is also pretty much universal agreement that Cheney has immense (if not paramount) influence over Bush.
Maybe, instead of going after the puppet, we go after the puppet master. I am proposing that Congress impeach Cheney. There are ample targets ranging from Iraq evidence tampering, the Plame debacle, or even Cheney’s conflict of interest in Haliburton and the fact that he lied about no longer having one. Further, getting a majority of the house to sign off on this would be a slam dunk. Getting 2/3 of the Senate would be a stretch, but a more realistic one than getting that 2/3 to vote against the President. Further, I think the public would rally behind such an impeachment. Even if this effort fails to get Cheney removed from office, it may create the impetus for the President to distance himself from Cheney. If for no other reason than the fear that he would be next. Either way, lessening Cheney’s influence would go a long way toward getting Bush to listen. And it stikes me that there is very little downside to trying. I don’t think you could field a football team of people who would claim that Cheney’s a valuable national asset at this point. So this is clearly worth a try.