Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader sent a letter to House Judiciary Chair John Conyers today urging that the option of impeachment be placed back on the table for President Bush. “No other president has committed more systemic, repeated impeachable offenses, with such serious consequences to this country, its people, to Iraq, its people and the security of this nation before, than George W. Bush”, wrote Nader in his letter to Rep. Conyers, adding that, “James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and their colleagues had just these kinds of monarchical abuses and violations in their framework of anticipation.”
Nader wrote, “In addition to a criminal war of aggression in Iraq, in violation of our constitution, statutes and treaties, there are the arrests of thousands of Americans and their imprisonment without charges, the spying on Americans without juridical warrant, systematic torture, and the unprecedented wholesale, defiant signing statements declaring that the President, in his unbridled discretion, is the law.”
He urged Congress to enforce the Constitution. “It is never too late to enforce the Constitution. It is never too late to uphold the rule of law. It is never too late to awaken the Congress to its sworn duties under the Constitution. But it will soon be too late to avoid the searing verdict of history when on January 21, 2009, George W. Bush becomes a fugitive from a justice that was never invoked by those in Congress so solely authorized to hold the President accountable.”
Nader concluded by asking two questions, “Is this the massive Bush precedent you and your colleagues wish to convey to presidential successors who may be similarly tempted to establish themselves above and beyond the rule of law? Is this the way you and your colleagues wish to be remembered by the American people?” The problem for those who want to impeach Bush is that there is no evidence that would stand up during an impeachment trial. Much of what they have done in Iraq appears born out of ineptitude, not illegality.
The second problem is that even in the area of domestic spying where it can be argued that impeachable offenses were committed, Democrats don’t have the stomach for impeachment. They fear a public and voter backlash against them, were they to pursue impeachment. They worry that trying to impeach Bush would strengthen the GOP, just when they have them on the run.
Plus, a lot of prominent Democrats voted for the war in Iraq, and the Patriot Act. These are mistakes that they would rather voters forgot. I think it is too late to impeach President Bush, but there was certainly a time when a solid case could be made. Unfortunately for Nader, that time was a few years ago.