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Ending the War vs Impeachment: Following Up on the Pelosi Interview

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Thanks to the many commenters who have posted regarding my interview with Nancy Pelosi. I want to respond with three quick points.

First, as I wrote in my post yesterday, I believe the most important issue facing Pelosi and Congressional Democrats right now is their reluctance to use their congressionally mandated power of the purse to stop funding the war in Iraq. So that's what I focused on. Over the course of the interview I asked Pelosi about this four different times in four different ways: 1) a direct ask from our commenters to "please, please, please stop funding this war" 2) asking why she doesn't force the president to present his new "emergency" war funding request as part of the budget 3) pointing out that the Constitution gives her the power to tell President Bush, "We will fund the troops to come home safely and responsibly, but not a penny more." 4) asking, "Can you guarantee that there will be no appropriations bill without a fixed date for bringing the troops home?"

In addition, I also asked her if the "American people have to take to the streets to end this war?" and about why she seems to have lost her "fierce urgency" about ending the war and entered into a "cooling off period on Iraq."

Second, I did not raise the question of why Pelosi has taken impeachment off the table because, as I've said on many occasions, while I believe that Bush and Cheney deserve to be impeached (ten times over!), I also believe that focusing on impeachment would force Congress to take its eye off the ball on the most important issue of our time -- ending the war in Iraq. Putting impeachment on the table would inevitably drain resources of time, energy, and outrage better spent on bringing our troops home. And, on top of it, impeachment, even if pursued, would not lead to George Bush leaving office an hour earlier than he already will. Of course, there are many times it is worth doing something on principle, even if it is destined to fail. But not if the effort comes at the expense of taking a much more important stand on principle that actually has a chance to succeed. Many of you clearly disagree with me on this point, but it's what I believe.

Third, over the course of the interview, Pelosi made three specific promises on the question of funding the war and on the Congressional battle over FISA: 1) that the House will not take up a war appropriations bill this year 2) that there will be no war appropriations bill next year that doesn't include a fixed date for bringing the troops home 3) that House Democrats will put up a major fight over the Bush administration's desire to make permanent the FISA law passed in August, particularly over the issue of retroactive immunity that the Senate has already given in on. (See the video of these promises below.)

So she's on the record with these promises, and therefore can -- and I'm sure will -- be held accountable for keeping them.

Watch more of the interview here.