The Smoking Memo Ignites Calls for Impeachment

Today the Bangor News in Maine has joined the PR’s call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Even as support trickles in, the odds are slim that Bush and Cheney will ever be impeached for lying to the public in the run-up to the Iraq War. Still, here’s a fun scenario to consider: If the Dems were to take the House in November ’06, Impeachment could move forward. If the Senate were to rule against Bush and Cheney, the big office would go to the third in line, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, right.

The Presidency of Nancy Pelosi may seem like pie in the sky but – and here’s something I thought I’d never say – let’s look at the shining example of former Talibani congressman Bob Barr whose cock-eyed optimism and black-hearted loathing of President Clinton paid off in the late 1990’s. More than a year before the world was introduced to Monica Lewinsky and her blue Gap dress, Barr ignored Clinton’s high poll numbers and filed impeachment proceedings against him :

In November [1997], long before Monica, Barr introduced a resolution to open a congressional impeachment inquiry: Clinton, reads its text, “has engaged in a systemic effort to obstruct, undermine, and compromise … the executive branch.” And since Clinterngate broke, Barr has been in a state of high gloat. He’s now preparing articles of impeachment and happily adding obstruction of justice and perjury to his list of Clintonian high crimes.

Of course, Barr made a fatal error in ignoring President Clinton’s high polling. As the impeachment played out, Clinton’s poll numbers stayed high, and it was his popularity that finally scared a few Senate Republicans into ruling in his favor.

Today, we’re faced with malfeasance in the White House far graver than a sex lie. But is there even a remote chance these men will be impeached? Norm Solomon lays it out, at

Five months into 2005, the movement to impeach Bush is very small. And three enormous factors weigh against it: 1) Republicans control Congress. 2) Most congressional Democrats are routinely gutless. 3) Big media outlets shun the idea that the president might really be a war criminal.

For now, we can’t end the GOP’s majority. But we could proceed to light a fire under congressional Democrats. And during the next several weeks, it’s possible to have major impacts on news media by launching a massive educational and “agitational” campaign—spotlighting the newly leaked Downing Street Memo and explaining why its significance must be pursued as a grave constitutional issue.

The leak of the memo weeks ago, providing minutes from a high-level meeting that Prime Minister Tony Blair held with aides in July 2002, may be the strongest evidence yet that Bush is guilty of an impeachable offense. As Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, wrote in late May:

  • “First, the memo appears to directly contradict the administration’s assertions to Congress and the American people that it would exhaust all options before going to war. According to the minutes, in July 2002, the administration had already decided to go to war against Iraq.”
  • “Second, a debate has raged in the United States over the last year and one half about whether the obviously flawed intelligence that falsely stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was a mere ‘failure’ or the result of intentional manipulation to reach foreordained conclusions supporting the case for war. The memo appears to close the case on that issue stating that in the United States the intelligence and facts were being ‘fixed’ around the decision to go to war.”

Update: Rep. Conyers has 86,000 signatures on his letter demanding an explanation of the contents of the memo from President Bush. Even you’re lukewarm on impeachment, you’d still like to hear an explanation – right? It only takes a minute. Do it!


One thought on “The Smoking Memo Ignites Calls for Impeachment”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.