Amy Goodman just hosted a discussion about impeachment on Democracy Now! with Cindy Sheehan, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former Lieberman communications director Dan Gerstein, who now writes a column for The Politico.
It's really informative, but the most interesting piece of all is what's missing.
DAN GERSTEIN: Can I just respond to that point real quick? Because I think there -- this goes to the heart of my argument, which is that in 1998, as a matter of fact, that the impeachment effort by the Republicans, which did not have the support of the American people and was completely unjustified, helped galvanize and outrage the Democratic base and then the turnout, so that the first time, I believe, in history, that in the sixth year of a two-term president, the president's party picked up seats in a congressional mid-term election. That just hasn't happened in American history, and most analysts attribute that to the fact that the Republicans went against the will of the American people and went on this witch-hunt against Bill Clinton. So I think that historical parallel suggests to me that there's a real risk, if Democrats overreach and pursue of a quixotic impeachment process against George Bush, that it will help galvanize the Republican base in a similar way.
Anyone else see the gaping hole in that argument? Is Gerstein seriously arguing that impeachment proceedings against George Bush would so galvanize the public in his favor, that the Republicans would retake Congress? What planet is he living on?
And then there's this:
GERSTEIN: ... But there's a real cost here to undergoing impeachment, and that would divide the country and split the Democratic Party and really, I believe, undermine our ability to -- like I said, the most important thing the Democrats can do right now to take the country in a better direction, repair that damage George Bush has done, is to retake the White House.
And then, this question about polling, I've talked to four leading pollsters -- two Democrats, two Republicans -- about the ARG poll, as well as other polling, which has usually shown impeachment somewhere between, I'd say, 35% and 40% among American people. Their belief, very strong belief, and interpretation of that data is that it shows an exhaustion, a fatigue with George Bush. The American people want him to go. And that's the extent to what that shows, that once you pushed people and said this is what impeachment is, this is what the burden is, and this is what would happen to the country, their belief is those numbers would go down dramatically.
So his priority is to "repair the damage Bush has done" without mentioning how he actively worked to support his policies. Interesting! He argues that Bush hasn't really done anything worthy of impeachment, and then he cites a push poll to justify not moving forward. Notice he doesn't tell us the particular questions that were asked to discourage people against impeachment (because after all, that's what a push poll does), and more importantly, he doesn't tell us for which client the poll was conducted. Gee, I wonder who?
I just think that is not a compelling argument to start this extremely, extremely rare -- and purposely extremely rare -- process of trying to remove a sitting president, and not just remove a sitting president, but remove him less than eighteen months before his term is up.
And, you know, I think that people who support impeachment have to step back and sort of say, "Is this realistic?" (a), (b), "Will it accomplish the goals they want?" (b), and (c), more importantly, "Will it stop the war?" And I don't think it will. I don't think there's any evidence to suggest that by going on this move, which I think will actually galvanize the Republican Party behind President Bush when his approval ratings are so low right now they're all running away from him.
This political professional neglects to mention he was the person shaping the message for Joe Lieberman's shocking support of the Clinton impeachment. You know, for lying about a blowjob. He seems to think Clinton's approval numbers stayed high during the impeachment cause of the proceedings -- and not despite it. (Would you hire this man to plot yourstrategy?)
"Since the debate on the surge, it has been hard," said Dan Gerstein, a former Lieberman aide who continues to serve as a paid adviser. "It is definitely putting some strain on his relations within the caucus."
Let's see. Someone who's paid to mold and package political message (think of a communications director as a lobbyist and you'll get a clearer sense of what they do), someone's who's still working for a much-disliked Republican-enabler like Joe Lieberman, tells us impeachment is a Really Bad Idea and will destroy the Democratic party.
Because, you know, the 75% of the population who hate Bush's guts will have a sudden change of heart. No, it couldn't possibly be some other motive -- he's a political professional, after all.
Wouldn't he tell us?