Pelosi’s argument against impeachment was, simply, that it wouldn’t be worth expending the political capital and effort to push the process forward. If the situation had been Bush coming in as a new president, she said, things might have been different, but with less than two years left on his watch and his record as a miserable failure etched in stone , the stronger weapon was oversight. Pelosi specifically mentioned the subpoena power that, she said, is making the Dem Congress “Bush’s worst nightmare.”
A couple of points here. The Democrats, at least the Congressional Democrats, have no "political capital" to expend. If they ever had any, it went away with the Iraq supplemental vote.
It is ironic that one of the leaders of a Congress with 14% approval rating (a historic low) and no major legislation passed (thank goodness) is calling anyone else a "miserable failure". The reason for not impeaching Bush is they know very well it would guarantee their minority in the next Congress. It is as simple as that.
So the line is going to be "he's a miserable failure" and not worth the effort. Sort of the same line a mother would give a son if she knew that if he actually tried to take on the guy who called him a pencil-necked geek, he'd have his kiester kicked up around his shoulder blades.
UPDATE: Obama has another way of saying the same thing:
Obama said he would not back such a move, although he has been distressed by the "loose ethical standards, the secrecy and incompetence" of a "variety of characters" in the administration.
"There's a way to bring an end to those practices, you know: vote the bums out," the presidential candidate said, without naming Bush or Cheney. "That's how our system is designed."
I think he’d better wake up, and fast. It is becoming increasingly clear that Senator Obama is not the man we thought he was. I understand that being a front-runner for a presidential nomination makes politicians cautious. But there’s cautious, and then there’s brain dead.
I could have forgiven him, I think, had he just made some noises about impeachment being a serious matter and not something to speculate about without thorough vetting, or something like that. But to say that what’s wrong with the Bush Administration is simply a matter of incompetence and “loose ethical standards” in the midst of evidence screaming at the top of its lungs about “grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president’s authority,” is distressing.
Yup ... there's no wrath like that directed at those who don't toe the Netroots line.
Who knew that Nancy Pelosi would end up adhering to the Bart Simpson view of the universe? In the rarefied Washington air of the Speaker, the sure bet (sic) of winning the White House in 2008 trumps any attempt at holding this Administration accountable for its crimes against the Constitution and the American people. In other words, it's all about the party (and presumably the Benjamins). And if that means that George W. Bush and especially Dick Cheney are never held accountable for their crimes, well so be it. After all, what is the Constitution when compared to the coffers of the DSCC?
Low ratings for Congress are driven in large part by Democrats angry that Congress didn’t stand up more forcefully on Iraq. But these folk aren’t about to vote Republican, and Republicans in Congress have very low ratings too — I believe below the Democrats. In fact, it’s probably good for the Democrats to get a reality check before the 2008 political season starts — it’s a learning process. The real power brokers now should be the moderates of both parties, which is a good thing. I have mixed feelings on seeing Bush considered a complete failure. Iraq was a failed policy — even if somehow he salvages some kind of defined down success, it did not achieve its goals, the cost was incredibly higher than predicted, and it had a ripple effect that hurt American interests around the world. Now they’re trying to find the best way out.
But Bush did adapt. He brought in Gates and Lute, two critics of the policy and even the surge, put Rice at State, and quietly changed course and approach, even if the public pronouncements remained strong. He shifted diplomatic tone, rebuilt relationships with European states, and now is reaching out to try to fix the damage done in American-Russian relations (driven not just by Bush, of course, but Putin’s confidence thanks to petrodollars). Domestically he’s been stymied in every major effort, good or bad — social security, immigration, and his "ownership society," which could have been the hallmark of his Presidency, is but a forgotten slogan. I actually have more confidence in Bush than almost any time previously in his Presidency. I still would not vote for him, but he’s surprised me by seeming to learn from mistakes and showing adaptability. In that sense, I rather feel a bit sorry for him. Like Jimmy Carter, he gets a lot of unfair partisan-driven criticism.
. The Democrats, at least the Congressional Democrats, have no "political capital" to expend. If they ever had any, it went away with the Iraq supplemental vote.
Precisely so, as I said in another thread earlier this morning. What we have here, Erb’s claims to the contrary not withstanding) is Democrats desperately trying to regroup to get something/ anything going... and recognizing that they don’t have enough political capital to accomplish anything major.
It is patently absurd to suggest that 86% of the country agrees with the far-wacko left as regards the war. It’s simply not true. The democrats, are pounding on that again, simply because that’s where their base is; what little of their base they have left, is the only support they have remaining.
Bithead, you’re in an alternate reality. Most people think the Iraq war was a mistake and oppose staying there. That’s not a left-whacko position, but one shared by Pat Buchanan, Chuck Hagel, now Dick Lugar and George Voinovich. I could list other Republicans who have shifted on the war, but it’s clearly not "whacko left." Congressional Republicans rank lower than Congressional Democrats in the polls, and structurally it’ll be difficult for the GOP to pick up seats this next election cycle. Of course there are limits to what the Democrats as a Congress can do — Bush as the veto, and unless they get Bush on board, they can’t pass anything major. But as this piece shows, they are planning to make things difficult for the Republicans. The GOP salvation is not in the right, it’s moderates like Lugar who can help paint a different picture of the Republican party than the ultra-conservative out of touch far right that talk radio portrays. The days of the "conservative movement" are giving way to moderate and rational leadership. If the GOP offers that, it might gain my support. This article and this analysis are interesting.
Americans are sick of ideology driving politics and partisan attacks. The day of the moderate is at hand!
Yeah, there’s a winning strategy. Make things difficult for the Republicans while the Democrats are the majority party in both houses of congress. (My use of lower case is intentional.)
Are these people insane? The Republicans got flushed because of corruption, not Iraq. The Dems can pretend they have a mandate to withdraw, but lack the stones to cut off funding for the war, which is the only lever they have. Could it be that many of these newly elected Democrats who did NOT run on a withdraw from Iraq platform recognize reality?
There are a lot of people unhappy with how Iraq is turning out. Not all of them believe we can leave without consequences. For starters, who would EVER trust us again if we abandoned our allies and the Iraqis now? One Vietnam is enough betrayal for this lifetime, sorry.
Americans are sick of ideology driving politics ...
I don’t think Americans are the least bit sick of that. What they’re sick of is no one in leadership having the guts to live up to their ideology. And, as should be obvious to anyone, that’s why Peolsi, et. al., have no political capital.
Ideology was a plague on the 20th century, it’s time to overcome it and work to practically deal with problems and not get caught up in a "world view" whereby theory defines how people interpret reality, in accord with unprovable and questionable assumptions. Ideology is secular religion, time to transcend it.