Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Democrats Should Continue to Ignore Cries for Bush's Impeachment

Writing for The LA Times, Max Boot argues that there is absolutely no reason to impeach President Bush over the warrantless domestic wiretapping he authorized. Those that want impeachment should study their history more closely, Boot says.

If you want to see real abuses of civil liberties, read Geoffrey R. Stone's 2004 book "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism." It tells how John Adams jailed a congressman for criticizing his "continual grasp for power." How Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and had the army arrest up to 38,000 civilians suspected of undermining the Union cause. How Woodrow Wilson imprisoned Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for opposing U.S. entry into World War I. And how Franklin D. Roosevelt consigned 120,000 Japanese Americans to detention camps.

A lot of conservatives love to use the 3rd-grade style argument: “but they were/are worse.” It’s the same line we hear from those who support torture (hey, the terrorists are worse, so it’s ok). Since when do we judge right and wrong based on the lowest measure available? Does it really matter what Lincoln or Roosevelt or Nixon did? If something’s wrong, it’s wrong—regardless of whether or not someone else did something worse.

Nevertheless, Boot is right. The warrantless wiretapping is not an impeachable offense. There’s simply too much grey area there. But, then again, who other than members of the far left are calling for impeachment? Maybe I missed it, but has any Democratic leader called for impeachment? And, even if they did, would calling for impeachment over domestic spying be any worse than impeaching Clinton over questionable perjury in a case having nothing to do with governing the nation?

Ah, but that’s making the same kind of fallacious argument I accused Boot of using. It doesn’t matter if Clinton’s impeachment was an utter farce, that doesn’t make a Bush impeachment any better.

And that’s a truth the Democratic party would be wise to remember, because Boot’s essay is a trick—it’s designed to make the reader think there’s a real impeachment movement afoot. There isn’t. But as long as the far left continues to scream for an impeachment, it’s going to be easier and easier for Boot and other conservatives to use the “movement” as a straw man.

What Democrats should do is renounce all calls for impeachment, instead of leaving the idea on the table. Yes, push forward on a Congressional investigation into the wiretapping, but do it without the forced (and false) drama. This is not the time to look unhinged. This is the time to address a serious matter with serious inquiry and debate. If the Democrats can’t do that and once again succumb to the seductions of the far left, then they deserve all the verbal whipping Boot and others can muster.


Blogger AubreyJ said...

The one thing I see is that out of all of the Dems in Congress... none have come out and demanded Bush to stop these wiretappings... They holler everything else in the book but deep down they know this practice is working to help save American lives and property.
Bottom line is we are at War and need all the help we can get. They know this to be so too...

10:47 PM  

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