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Political judo, part one: rolling with the punches

Recently, the Vermont legislature debated a non-binding resolution calling for the impeachment of Vice President Cheney. (That's a bit redundant; state legislatures have absolutely no place in dealing with impeachments. No body does except the United States House of Representatives. But I digress.) This is part of a general putsch push by the moonbat fringe to achieve by extraordinary means what they have failed to do so twice: to rid themelves of President George W. Bush. The plan is simple: impeach and convict Cheney, stall Bush's nomination of a successor, then impeach and remove Bush.

One of the key principles of judo is the use of one's opponent's strength against him. In politics, this is used to look very carefully at what your opponent wants to do, is trying to do, and helping him achieve it -- and then using that to achieve your own ends. It's a wonderful tactic, as it's utterly ethical and principled -- and remarkably successful.

The moonbats want Cheney impeached and removed from office as a stepping-stone towards removing Bush. They have to get Cheney first, because to remove Bush would just elevate Cheney to the presidency, and a lot of people would be "burned out" on impeachment after the first successful removal of a sitting president. But if Cheney can be removed, and then Bush also removed before a vice president is named, the presidency will fall to the Speaker of the House -- and Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat.

So, I say let them go ahead and impeach Cheney. In fact, we should help them.

Of course, when I say "help," I don't mean being overly helpful. The assistance (always couched in terms of "making sure we get everything right" and "don't want to let him slip on a technicality" and such) would be oriented towards a single, specific goal: not to either head off or expedite Cheney's impeachment, but to delay it for several months. To drag out the process, to keep it from coming to a head for at least a year or so -- but never letting it completely fade away.

So, next May 1, we bring the formal Articles of Impeachment to the full House for a vote, and Mr. Cheney is impeached. Then what?

Why, he has to go to the Senate for trial, with Chief Justice Roberts presiding. Bill Clinton's impeachment lasted just under two months, so we'll use that as our benchmark. That means by the end of June, the Senate will be ready to vote.

That won't happen in my scheme. Near the end of the trial, Cheney will resign, citing his health and various and sundry other reasons. Since the sole punishment for conviction upon impeachment is removal from office, the trial at that point will be declared moot and ended without a conviction. Dick Cheney will retire from public life with the stigma of having been impeached, but not for being convicted.

On July 4th, President Bush will nominate Dick Cheney's successor. My suggestion would be to choose whoever is the Republican frontrunner in the race to succeed him. The thought having to run against a sitting vice president (historically, a good stepping-stone to the presidency, but 2000 and 1960 are notable exceptions) will terrify the Democrats, so they will stall the nomination as long as they dare while they race to impeach President Bush.

Let's say they get those Articles passed by the end of July, giving up a good chunk of their summer recess. (Hey, it could happen. Besides, this is my fantasy.) That means that they will be putting Bush on trial right around the time of the nominating conventions. That will dominate both conventions, polarizing the hell out of the electorate.

Fast-forward to the end of September. President Bush comes to trial. At this point, it's pretty much a win-win for the Republicans, as strange as that sounds.

If Bush is acquitted, the backlash will be severe. A large portion of the electorate will be furious at the wasted time and effort of the impeachment, and at the extremes that the Democrats have gone to in pursuit of their partisan agenda. And that will still be very, very fresh in their minds on election day -- a smidgen over a month away.

On the other hand, if Bush is convicted (or resigns to head it off -- not likely, but possible), then the Republicans can get a serious boost out of this, too.

First, they can spin the whole thing as a coup d'etat, an attempt to override the elections of 2000 and 2004. They can use the whole impeachment as a way to thwart the will of the people, and try to make that their rallying cry in 2008.

Secondly, it could utterly destroy Nancy Pelosi.

Upon George W. Bush's removal from office (by impeachment or resignation), Nancy Pelosi will become the President of the United States. The Constitution is clear; the instant she takes the oath of office, she will no longer be a member of the House of Representatives and instead be the 44th President of the United States.

And she will be the lamest of lame ducks. She will be committed to her re-election in the House, and be unable (purely on practical grounds) to run for a full term as president. We've already seen how incredibly inept she can be when she first became Speaker. In that month or so between her ascension and the elections, she will have ample opportunity to demonstrate just how atrocious her administration can be -- and, by extension, that of the Democratic nominee. (And if it's Hillary Clinton, all the better grounds for comparison.)

This will also leave Pelosi in an incredibly awkward position. After holding the Oval Office, will she be willing to go back to just Speaker of the House? And would her fellow Democrats accept her back?

I also have great faith in our nation. It has survived many, many trials and tribulations. About four months of President Pelosi may by trying, but I'm fairly certain it won't be fatal.

So, come election day, the Republicans could very well take the presidency in a cakewalk. They can present the impeachments of Cheney and Bush as partisan politics gone berserk, a coup d'etat (albeit a Constitutional one) little different than we see in third world nations. And they can point to Nancy Pelosi's laughable "achievements" as indicative of just what a Democratic president would do. Between those two factors, a Republican victory seems not only possible, but downright likely.

And it would be possible only because the Democrats got precisely what they wished for.


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Comments (22)

Ever hear of symbolic acts,... (Below threshold)

Ever hear of symbolic acts, Jay?

You know, doomed and futile actions
like the Iraq debacle?

Take out Cheney and name a ... (Below threshold)

Take out Cheney and name a replacement.

It does make an evil kind of sense.

Thing is, what's Cheney guilty of?

What was Gonzales guilty of?

He's guilty of the left not... (Below threshold)

He's guilty of the left not liking him.

That's a bit redundant; ... (Below threshold)

That's a bit redundant; state legislatures have absolutely no place in dealing with impeachments. No body does except the United States House of Representatives. But I digress.

Well, not exactly. Only the House can initiate impeachment proceedings, but it doesn't have to be from charges brought on the House floor. From the Congress House Rules Manual:

"In the House there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate; by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination; by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee; by a message from the President; by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State or territory or from a grand jury; or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House."

As far as I know it's never been done before, and the impeachments have only been brought about through a House investigation, but it's still within the states' legislatures' purview to try.

That said, yours is a very clever plan, if only an intellectual exercise (we all know Cheney ain't getting impeached).

Interesting, mantis.<... (Below threshold)

Interesting, mantis.

I wonder what constitutes "charges brought" from a legislature. I can't find the full text, but:

"The Senate resolution is not specific in its complaints, but says Bush and Cheney "have exercised the duties of their respective offices with respect to both domestic and foreign affairs in ways that raise serious questions of constitutionality, statutory legality, and abuse of the public trust."

The resolution mentions the war in Iraq and says the administration's "domestic leadership on issues relating to individual privacy and personal liberty under law has raised constitutional issues of the greatest concern to the nation's citizenry."

Are these "charges brought," or is it required that there be specific allegations of maladministration or illegality?

And I would certainly think the resolution should be "binding," whatever that actually means.

Are these idiots just looking for headlines and "political significance," like Reid and his posse? I think so.

Okay, I'll start:<... (Below threshold)

Okay, I'll start:

Impeach Cheney!

Or is that being too obviously helpful?

"Thing is, what's Cheney gu... (Below threshold)

"Thing is, what's Cheney guilty of?-drjohn"

Orchestrating the promotion of forged documents through neoconservative ties(Ledeen) to Italian (neocon Berlosconi) Intelligence that Sadaam was purchasing Uranium to build a nuclear device for eventual use against the USA, and subverting US intelligence (Tenet's CIA, DIA) to present a false Intelligence Estimate to the US Congress. And using taxpayers' money to fund a 100% phoney government in exile(Chalabi, INC) to present to western media, and then "losing" BILLIONS of dollars within 2 weeks of occupying Bagdhad because Chalabi was already a convicted embezzler wanted in several countries.

Cheney can also be implicated in the Oil for Food scandal as Chairman of Halliburton when subsidiary Dresser used French front companies to kickback funds to Sadaam. Halliburton legally repaired Iraqi oil equipment, Dresser was prohibited, thus the front. That's why Dresser was sold prior to the general election in 2000. To cover the Halliburton-Dresser connection. (I know, they think everybody's too stupid to remember. In a way, they're right.)

I'd list the above under High Misdemeanors and worthy of impeachment.

Just a nitpick:"Si... (Below threshold)

Just a nitpick:

"Since the sole punishment for conviction upon impeachment is removal from office...."

Actually, this is incorrect. According to Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution:

"Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States...."

The impeachment trial would not be moot because Cheney could be barred from ever again holding public office. The Senate might decide that, as a practical matter, Cheney would never again hold public office, so continuing the trial would be pointless, but legally the trial would not be moot.

Are these "charges broug... (Below threshold)

Are these "charges brought," or is it required that there be specific allegations of maladministration or illegality?

I don't think specific charges need to be named for the House to consider such a resolution, but the House Judiciary Committee certainly would need to find sufficient grounds, and as such, would probably ignore a resolution like Vermont's which does not specify any "high crimes and misdemeanors". And that is undoubtedly what will happen in this case.

And I would certainly think the resolution should be "binding," whatever that actually means.

I'm not sure the distinction of binding vs. non-binding is important in the case of a state resolution, since the House chooses whether or not to proceed regardless. As far as I know they are not required to pursue anything coming from a state legislature, binding or not.

Are these idiots just looking for headlines and "political significance," like Reid and his posse? I think so.

Yeah, me too, but hey, it's Vermont.

*gasp* Jay, you're onto us!... (Below threshold)

*gasp* Jay, you're onto us!

But you do raise one interesting point. I've often thought it was a Republican strategic blunder for Cheney not to have resigned and been replaced by a viable presidential candidate. It surely would have helped the Republicans in 2008.

There goes BryanDelusionial... (Below threshold)

There goes BryanDelusionial again bla...bla...bla...bla...bla...bla...bla...bla, etc...

I'd list the above... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I'd list the above under High Misdemeanors and worthy of impeachment.

Well at least he's not being accused of doing nothing.

If the Democrats think attempting impeachment of Cheney will get them one more vote than of course they'll try it. The only thing holding them back is they are not sure how the independent voters will view such an attempt; it could backfire. The rabid base, however, doesn't make such calculations and tries to press forward measures such as this one from Vermont.

They've got no crime or mis... (Below threshold)

They've got no crime or misdemeanour to impeach on anyway. This is all rubbish meant to keep the base happy while not actually making it public enough that swing voters will care about it.

Nice screenplay. Can we get... (Below threshold)

Nice screenplay. Can we get Quentin Tarantino to direct it ?

This is an interesting piec... (Below threshold)

This is an interesting piece of fiction Jay but it's hard to take any of these scenarios seriously.

There's also zero advantage to the Democrats politically in removing either Bush or Cheney. Any rational Democrat will want Bush and Cheney there to the very end so they can drag down the entire Republican ticket just as they did in 2006. Those two are gold for Democrats.

We've already seen how incredibly inept she can be when she first became Speaker.

Jay, I can only imagine what you would be saying about Nancy Pelosi had she been unable to unify the Democratic Party and get them to approve the Iraq War funding resolution. She succeeded in doing that which is not an easy task given that the Democratic Party has much more ideological diversity in the ranks than the Republican Party. Democrats run nearly the entire spectrum from conservative Southern Democrats to ultra-leftist San Francisco Democrats. I know you disagree with the results but you should at least acknowledge that pulling the Democrats together was not an easy task (the "herding cats" analogy comes to mind).

I've often thought it was a Republican strategic blunder for Cheney not to have resigned and been replaced by a viable presidential candidate. It surely would have helped the Republicans in 2008.

Brian - that would have been a bit too much like the way things work in Russia whenever they want to hand power from one autocrat to the other. And trust me, the Republican Party leadership would not want to give George Bush the responsibility for choosing the next President after the last few years they've been through.

If Pelosi did take the helm... (Below threshold)

If Pelosi did take the helm, it'd be worth it just to see the look on Hillary's face when she realized that she wouldn't be the first woman president.

But more seriously, if the Democrats did hold both the executive and legislative branches, maybe they would have to start acting like adults. They might realize that they would have to deal with the consequences of their proposals.

Define diversity? Good luck... (Below threshold)

Define diversity? Good luck. ww

wow...that's a might... (Below threshold)

wow...that's a mighty impressive list you have there bryanD. care to back up in of those *alliegations* with any facts? if you can't they're just rumors and innuendo, which is most of what i hear from the left on a daily basis.

Sounds like Markos has this... (Below threshold)

Sounds like Markos has this all figured out and has posted it for his minions.

ke_future, normally I would... (Below threshold)

ke_future, normally I would invite you to remain in a politically self-medicated state, but...

(this is in regard to the purveying false intelligence charge:)


here's a backgrounder on th... (Below threshold)

here's a backgrounder on the oil4food deal. Illegal? technically no. Did he lie his ass off about it? definitely. http://www.antiwar.com/orig/leopold.php?articleid=3767

Impeccable sourcing on the ... (Below threshold)

Impeccable sourcing on the oil-for-food story.






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