Some of us have been slow to board the Impeachment Train. We've held back as our fellow Americans have organized and led movements to impeach Bush, Cheney, and/or Gonzales. We were reluctant to have the political process subsumed with hearings that distract the country from the many other ways our current leadership has failed it. But after the latest testimony from Gonzales and the flagrant disregard of Congressional subpoenas by Bolten and Miers, there are only two words left to say:
The shameful fact that no Republicans joined today's call to investigate Gonzales raises a question: "Why can't they impeach the entire Republican Party?" After all, the utter lawlessness of the last six years could not have occurred without the active complicity of the full GOP leadership. They have chosen to react in a partisan way to both unconstitutional usurpations of power and simple acts of criminality, and have benefited as the perpetrators seized and held office through unscrupulous means.
Impeachment of the entire GOP may sound like a partisan suggestion meant to protect the Democrats. Actually, rebuilding the Republican Party from the ground up may be the only way to save the two-party system (though many of us feel that it's in need of serious overhaul.) Unless the Republican Party is restructured, our only options may be one-party rule or permanent political paralysis.
How does a President with 25% approval ratings continue a war that has 30% approval ratings? How does a deceptive Attorney General keep his job? We've learned lately that some things are surprisingly easy, if people are shameless and utterly cynical -- and if their own party isn't willing to confront them.
Our political system favors the two leading parties. In return, each should show that system its allegiance, and should uphold and obey its laws. If it does not, it should lose its privileged position in our electoral process.
I don't say this out of hostility toward the GOP as it once was. As a Democrat, I was happy to work for the Republican Administration of Bush I as a contractor. I represented the country, and by inference the Administration, in a number of international delegations. I was proud to do so.
Back in those seemingly halcyon days, most of us operated in the belief that both parties -- however limited by cynical campaigning and big-dollar contributors -- would obey the law and serve the Constitution when push came to shove. Leaders occasionally tried to push the envelope, but in those rare instances when government malfeasance became excessive politicians would set partisanship aside and defend the rule of law.
Although many Republicans dragged their feet initially during Watergate (and young Fred Thompson's questions were carefully scripted to make him and his Party appear more upright than they were), most of them came around when it became clear that Nixon's abuses were both excessive and systematic.
Not so with today's GOP. The vast majority of Republican politicians, even the so-called moderates, have colluded with the Bush/Cheney criminal cabal time and again. Had Republican Senators sent a clear message to the Rove et al. that Alberto Gonzales could not be confirmed because of his actions while at the White House, this week the nation wouldn't have needed to face the spectacle of an Attorney General committing perjury.
Had Arlen Specter and other "moderates" been willing to stand firm we would not have seen the Pentagon violate both American and international law with its torture program. Had Republican Senators not placed Party allegiance over constitutional allegiance, the Senate would have long ago uncovered the truth about the extent and nature of illegal domestic spying. And remember: We know domestic laws were broken, though Sen. Specter was willing to make some of the crimes retroactively "legal" - and we know that military intelligence groups spied on Quakers and other harmless peace groups merely for their political activity.
We've seen the systematic violations of law intended to corrupt and destroy the electoral process. Vote caging, phone sabotage in New Hampshire, excessive waiting lines for minority voters in Ohio, pamphlets in Maryland falsely stating that the GOP candidate was a Democrat ... these are only the documented examples of GOP subversion of the political process. Yet the Republican Party has systematically resisted wholesale investigation of these acts.
The spectacle of Republican Presidential candidates supporting leniency or pardon for convicted felon Scooter Libby confirms that their party is now systemically corrupt, as the next generation of its leaders goes on record supporting criminality and abuse of power.
Today's GOP is not a political party that plays well in a free and democratic system. It's not the party whose leadership I felt I could serve in a non-political role a mere fifteen years ago. What we have seen over the last few years is a highly organized syndicate dedicated to the criminal usurpation of political power for personal gain. So if you can't impeach a political party - and you can't - how can our political process be healed?
The derivation of "bipartisan" is "two parties." If you believe in the two-party system, then somebody needs to tear the Republican Party down and start again. If the Party can't be impeached in the meantime, it can be defeated where it counts - at the polls. Forget Unity '08. Replacing the entire GOP leadership is only bipartisan position that makes sense in 2008.
NOTE: I'll be on the Charles Goyette radio show tomorrow at 7:30 am on KFNX in Phoenix, discussing the systematic undermining of the Constitution with guest hosts Chris Bliss and Steve Benson. You may know Chris as the juggler whose video was a viral Internet sensation. He's also a comedian, and is President of MyBillofRights.Org, a terrific project to reinforce our traditional loyalty to the country's core freedoms. Steve Benson is the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Arizona Republic. Should be a good show, so tune in if you're in Phoenix or via the Internet if you're not.