7/06/2005

gaining momentum

I made this a separate post because it didn't really fit with my other musings about the Fourth of July weekend.

(P) I think the impeachment movement is starting to get pretty strong. Veterans for Peace came out with an interesting press release over the holiday weekend; you can get the PDF here.

I still handicap it at less than 50/50, but the trend line is headed in the right direction. Plus, the President is not going to be making any allies this summer. There will be a nasty fight just to keep his chief adviser out of jail. More people are realizing every day that death and dollars ain't worth building an Islamist theocracy and autonomous Kurdish state in Iraq that happen to let us build huge military bases. Oh, and there are some Americans that are actually shocked that the United States mistreats prisoners. I had a very interesting argument with my dad this weekend. He contended that Kerry should have pounded Abu Ghraib hard during the debates, and I agree. But my point was that it is a perfectly reasonable extension and enlargement of our already very horrible prison system (the key difference being that Iraqi prisoners are valued much more highly by their fellow Iraqis than American prisoners are by their fellow Americans). Bush governed a state that executes retarded people, while a man named Lane McCotter was handpicked by Attorney General Ashcroft to go train people at Abu Ghraib. Mr. McCotter resigned under pressure from Utah's state correctional system due to, among other practices, leaving a schizophrenic in a "stress position", tied to a chair, for 16 hours. He was naked. And he died. Welcome to the America nobody likes to talk about. My point to my dad was that people will follow strong, bad leadership over no leadership. We know deep down in places we don't acknowledge that what happens to US prisoners all over the world is probably wrong (and we certainly would object vehemently if they tried to do that to one of our own friends or family), but we justify it by saying hey, they must have done something bad to get caught, and they deserve what's coming to them. But very few Democratic leaders are willing to acknowledge the elephant in the room. The problem is systemic, not isolated cases, and that requires structural solutions, a global vision. "Shut it down" and "withdrawal now" sound nice, but they're not leadership. They don't change the fact that there are hundreds of countries with a US military presence or millions of Americans behind bars. The Bush Administration has proposed global ideas, both figuratively and literally. And that's where the debate should be. Maybe it's in our best interest to put an American military base in literally every country on the planet. Maybe it's not. Maybe torture is wrong. Maybe it's not. Maybe the very richest people should own the country. Maybe they shouldn't. But it's clear what tactics and strategy the Administration prefers, and people like that.

But more and more, they don't like him and the policies he represents. And it's in the midst of falling poll numbers and more Democrats willing to challenge the whole thing and not just little pieces that the real fun begins. It seems pretty clear that the Administration wants a radical nominee to the Supreme Court who will get the nod for ideology first and dedication to the law second. (That's not to say people shouldn't or can't disagree over the law. It just means those disagreements should be based on the law, not a desired and predetermined ideological outcome.) I think the Democratic leadership will find that it really is easier to get elected and do things when they do what their voters want and not what their largest financial contributors want.

More and more, I think voters will start discussing impeachment. By this time next year, I predict that the President will be missing the silence.

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