Groups believe impeachment is 'more on the table than people think'
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has famously stated that impeachment proceedings against President Bush or Vice President Cheney are "off the table," many activists feel that the tide is beginning to turn.
For a previous report on this past weekend's California Democratic Convention in San Diego, RAW STORY obtained responses about impeachment directly from Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and 2008 candidates New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel. A blogger present at the convention also helped pose the question to Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards (full article at this link).
While Gravel indicated that impeachment "will come, in due course," Dodd told RAW STORY that having "been down that road" before with former President Clinton, he believes that "[i]t sucks all of the oxygen out of the air.”
However, on Sunday, April 29, California delegates and state party members sent a powerful message to Pelosi and Congressional Democrats. “In a resolution affirmed by the full state party convention Sunday, the Democrats called on the U.S. Congress to use its subpoena power to investigate misdeeds of President Bush and Vice President Cheney – and to hold the Administration accountable 'with appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment,'" a letter to Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) members obtained by RAW STORY states.
The letter continues, "The delegate insurgency was coordinated by Progressive Democrats of America and its allies. While Speaker Pelosi had declared impeachment 'off the table,' the Democratic Party rank-and-file has demonstrated its commitment to putting the issue 'on' the table. And it's no longer just the rank-and-file: Even among the members of the convention's Resolutions Committee (appointed by the California Party chair), the impeachment resolution was the top vote-getter (tied with one other resolution).” (Read the full resolution text here)
Protesters inside and outside the convention also sent a message to Presidential aspirants and Speaker Pelosi. An estimated 200 impeachment supporters lined both sides of the street outside the convention center on Saturday in anticipation of Pelosi’s arrival. Demonstrators were barred from entering the building, but PDA members inside posted prominent impeachment banners and wore bright orange shirts urging impeachment.
Protesters also staged an “Impeach on the Beach” activity at nearby Torrey Pines, but cloud cover prevented an airplane from flying over to photograph the message spelled out with 250 human bodies.
“One third of those were Move On members,” said Will McRae, MoveOn coordinator for San Diego County. “For MoveOn to pretend impeachment isn’t on the table is the same as Pelosi. They need to put it on their website [for a vote]. We owe it to our members.”
DFA head: "More on the table than people think"
Jim Dean, head of Democracy for America and brother of Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, said he understands the reluctance of Pelosi to lead Congress into impeachment proceedings during her first 100 days in office. “We took control of Congress because people are fed up and want us to get things done,” he observed, adding that impeachment proceedings would bog down Congress.
But he noted, “Just letting these guys off is setting a bad precedent.” Asked about the prospect of impeachment, he observed, “I think it’s more on the table than people think.”
PDA president Tim Carpenter called passage of the impeachment resolution by California delegates “the culmination of one month of effort by PDA to put the issue of investigating, accountability and impeachment” on the table. “I’m a California native and an elected central committee member,” added Carpenter, who made “a lot of cell phone calls” to win support for the measure.
On Saturday, Carpenter revealed, he met with Pelosi. “I think the fact that she met with us shows she is a listener,” he said, but he added, “We agreed to disagree.”
Impeachment is a constitutional imperative, he believes. “If we don’t begin to talk about impeachment, the next president will be allowed to torture, do wiretapping, lying, and engage in manipulation of everything in signing statements,” the PDA leader predicted.
At a dinner honoring Pelosi Saturday evening, pro-impeachment activists slipped elegant placecards onto each place at the table. The cards read:
Remember, We’re the Deciders.
Impeachment is on the table.
Investigate and Impeach Cheney and Bush!
Secret Service agents blocked Jeeni Criscenzo, the endorsed Democratic Congressional candidate who ran against Darrell Issa, from unfurling a banner at the dinner which read:
Impeach Bush-Cheney Now
No Attack on Iran!
“Where is our freedom?” asked Criscenzo. “Thousands of people have signed this banner and they won’t let us present it to the Speaker quietly and respectfully.” Criscenzo added that she “might just go to Washington for Mother’s Day” to try and present the banner to Pelosi.