Impeachment is a Positive Act - Cheryl Crist

Congressman Adam Smith is correct when he says that we have a history of presidents lying to get us into war.  He is not correct if he thinks we want to carry that policy into the future.  That policy is criminal, reckless and superlatively unwise.  The fact that "it's been done before" is little comfort to the parents who have lost their loved ones in Bush's war, the families of the six hundred thousand or so Iraqis who have died violent deaths since the US invasion, or to Americans who have lost half a trillion (so far) out of their treasury.
 
The silver lining to this cloud on our nation was given to us by the framers of the Constitution.  Impeachment is an affirmative remedy to the criminal activity of a president or other elected official, such as a vice-president.  The crime that is most salient to me is the conspiracy to defraud the United States in order to win the public's backing for the current foolish war.  Impeachment is law enforcement.
 
Impeachment is a positive political act.  John Nichols of The Nation studied all nine previous efforts to impeach and found that every time the party that initiated impeachment proceedings won big in the next election.  Every time.  Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame points out that it was the two-pronged pressures of the anti war movement and the impeachment movement that caused the resignation of Richard Nixon.  Seeing that the light of day was about to be shone on his misdeeds caused President Nixon to sweat and quiver (on TV, nonetheless), tuck his tail (figuratively speaking) and walk away.  I don't think George Bush or Dick Cheney will behave that way.  Their crimes are so much larger and impactful that I think only criminal indictment will mollify their hubris.  But now I'm getting ahead of myself; for a president, impeachment comes first.
 
Some say that impeachment is divisive, but polls show the opposite to be true, among the public at least.  A Zogby poll from this December/January showed that 53% of Americans said that the president should be impeached if it can be shown that he lied to get us into this war.  Among Democrats the number was 70% and for independents it was 60%.  Now if we are talking about divisive in Congress, perhaps that is true.  But there is no honor in unifying with a wrong position.  I want my Congressman to lead in the right direction, not to placate those who still think the old way - that lying to the American public to get us into war is okay.  It is not okay.
 
If you ask people why they would like Bush/Cheney out of office you get a wide variety of answers.  Many people know that Bush and Cheney engaged in a systematic media campaign to deceive the American people and Congress about the reasons to launch a preemptive war on Iraq.  Many others recognize that the president has violated numerous laws by spying on citizens without a warrant, dismissing their rights accorded to them by the Bill of Rights, and promoting torture.  Scientific fraud is in the news lately: editing scientific reports, for which taxpayers paid good money, to change their meaning and cause havoc in our efforts to combat global warming.  A Republican friend of mine sites the assault on the Constitutional separation of powers: with the use of "signing statements" rather than vetoes, the president has tried to nullify the power given to Congress to make laws.  His "signing statements" say, "I am signing this bill, but I plan to ignore it if I so choose."
 
Some may say this is a lame duck administration, so why create the turmoil of an impeachment.  The answer is clear to those who look into our future and ask what kind of country we prefer to have.  If Congress does not remove Dick Cheney and George Bush, every future president can claim the he/she has the right to lie to get us into war, spy on us for any reason without a warrant, arrest us for any reason and deny us due process, torture us, and refuse to follow any laws passed by Congress.  The precedent has been set by this administration.  Impeachment by the House and removal from office by the Senate is the only way to send the message to future presidents that they will not get away with violating our rights.  Impeachment cannot be off the table when an administration is dismantling the Constitution and the rights of the people are in peril.
 
A state legislature can pass a resolution to the US House that will have privilege to go right to the floor.  (Such a procedure was used by the state of Florida to impeach and remove a federal judge.)  Washington state impeachment groups are urging our Legislature to pass such a resolution, called a joint memorial.  Please contact your state Representatives and Senators and ask for their support of this joint memorial.  Our voices, speaking strongly together, can bring America out of dark and into the light.
 
Respectfully submitted for your consideration,
Cheryl Crist