Impeachment off the table? Oh no you don’t! Posted by: McQ
on Wednesday, January 03, 2007
It appears that liberal activists have no intention of abandoning their agenda for impeachment and requiring a more confrontational approach in addressing Iraq and other issues:
Democratic leaders set to take control of Congress tomorrow are facing mounting pressure from liberal activists to chart a more confrontational course on Iraq and the issues of human rights and civil liberties, with some even calling for the impeachment of President Bush.
The carefully calibrated legislative blitz that Democrats have devised for the first 100 hours of power has left some activists worried the passion that swept the party to power in November is already dissipating. A cluster of protesters will greet the new congressional leaders at the Capitol tomorrow. They will not be disgruntled conservatives wary of Democratic control, but liberals demanding a ban on torture, an end to warrantless domestic spying and a restoration of curbed civil liberties.
The protest will be followed by an evening forum calling for the president's impeachment, led by the Center for Constitutional Rights, antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and a pro-impeachment group called World Can't Wait.
What, of course, has these folks up in arms is the apparent discounting of the importance of the issues they consider most critical:
Nowhere in the Democrats' consensus-driven agenda is legislation revisiting last year's establishment of military tribunals and suspending legal rights for suspected terrorists. Nor is there a revision of the civil liberties provisions of the USA Patriot Act, a measure curbing warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency or an aggressive confrontation of the president on his Iraq war policies.
Of course, in the context of pure politics, many of these activists have been on the front-lines of the opposition to the Bush administration and have certain expectations which they now see may go unfulfilled:
"We've been told for many years, 12 years now, 'Wait until we get in power. Then you'll see things change,' " said Debra Sweet, national director of World Can't Wait, a pro-impeachment group helping to organize the protest. "We'll give them a couple of months or a few weeks to see what they come up with, but if they don't do something very decisive around the war and these other issues, I think there will be trouble."
A week or so back, we noted that Sen. Joe Biden said that Democrats should dodge any responsibility for Iraq by continuing to criticize and obstruct. And we were further told by commenters that Democrats never promised to take charge of the issue.
It would appear that at least the very liberal wing of the party disagrees. They, like most of the rest of us, understood "we can do better" as a promise to do something about Iraq.
Implications down the road?
To most Democratic lawmakers, such activism presents a quandary. House Republican leaders spent years trying to placate their conservative base with agendas built around opposition to same-sex marriage, antiabortion votes and tax cuts, said Sen.-elect Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.). The partisan tone enraged Democrats and ultimately alienated moderates and independents, who swept the GOP from power in November after a dozen years in control.
"The Democrats have to be careful not to fall into these traps that I think paralyzed the Republicans," Cardin said.
But Democratic lawmakers — especially the freshmen who capitalized on voter discontent — said their core supporters' anger is real and must be acknowledged.
"Those people protesting on Thursday care deeply about their country," said Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, an incoming House freshman who ran as an ardent opponent of Bush and the war. "I think we do need to pay attention. People are begging us to remember the Constitution, what made this country great."
One lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating such voters, said wherever he goes, he hears from activists calling for Bush's impeachment. Cutting off funding for the Iraq war comes in a close second.
"For most progressive activists, there is generally speaking, an open mind but also a real fear that the 110th [Congress] will not be as aggressive as many of us want it to be," said Ralph G. Neas, president of the liberal People for the American Way. "On the other hand, there is a lot of pragmatism as we go into the 2008 election season. There's this high-wire act for everybody, not only for the House and Senate leadership but for the progressive community, too."
Some real political calculations are going to have to be made here. On the one hand, those calling for things like impeachment and cutting off the funds for war have few options concerning a political party. On the other, however, is the fact that their past support has been premised upon the promise that when the party finally took power, their loyalty and priorities would be rewarded.
But there is a real danger - if Congressional Democrats attempt to honor those priorities of the extremes - they may alienate the moderates and other cross-over voters they've attempted successfully to woo. Ralph Neas characterizes it as a high-wire act and I think that's an apt description. And it is a high-wire act with no net. How they handle their liberal wing may have a lot to do with their ability to hang on to Congress in "'o8.
"We’ve been told for many years, 12 years now, ’Wait until we get in power. Then you’ll see things change,’ " said Debra Sweet, national director of World Can’t Wait, a pro-impeachment group helping to organize the protest. "We’ll give them a couple of months or a few weeks to see what they come up with, but if they don’t do something very decisive around the war and these other issues, I think there will be trouble."
To quote Rick "Frustrating, isn’t it?"
BWAH HA HA!
Again....when we allow the Dems to be Dems, we will win. And even if the Dems cloak themselves successfully, the agita the Kos/Sheehan/Moonbat base will experience almost makes it worth it.
But there is a real danger - if Congressional Democrats attempt to honor those priorities of the extremes - they may alienate the moderates and other cross-over voters they’ve attempted successfully to woo.
And therein lies the key, though you missed it; To satisfy the rabid base... the Cindy Sheehan wing of the party, (Who I note let it’s voice be heard again yesterday) they will NEED to so alienate moderates and cross-overs. This is not mere chance, it’s a sure bet.
Indeed, the activity of said moonbats alone will work to alienate the moderates. The question is, will it be enough to swing things the other direction in ’08?
As some astute observers have recognized, it is actually politically useful for the Democrats to be criticized from the left for not going far enough. This makes it possible for the Democrats in Congress to frame their own positions and policies as moderate, sensible, and non-extremist. By the left loudly complaining that the Democrats are not going far enough, they help move the public’s perception of where the moderate center is farther to the left. Republicans have similarly benefitted from criticisms from the right that they have not gone far enough.