House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a blogger call this afternoon to discuss the reconciled House/Senate Iraq spending bill. Bob Geiger’s post on the passage this morning seems to capture the thrust of Pelosi’s message today – Dem leadership have worked to set goals and are going to force Bush to “differentiate himself” on the issue with the American public.
Perhaps the most interesting moment of the conference came when Pelosi was asked directly whether she supported articles of impeachment against the President. Here’s a close paraphrase of her response:
I totally oppose impeachment. I believe we have to use our energies to end this war. I donâ€™t think there’s enough popular support for it and there aren’t any Republican votes to support it. The American people want us to end the war. Impeachment would distract from that… George Bush is just not worth it. We should work to elect Democratic president and then we can move forward with a values-based agenda.
Pelosi was unequivocal in this – impeachment is not on the agenda, period.
It’s easy to respect her commitment to focusing on the issues that really matter – in addition to the war she also mentioned education, health care and the economy – but given what we saw during the Clinton years I almost wonder if somewhere a GOP isn’t task force isn’t already working on articles of impeachment against Hillary Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson and anybody else who’s drawing more than 1% in the polls.
All in all, she’s probably right. Impeachment would perhaps be a good harassment tactic designed to keep the President on the defensive for the remainder of his term (essentially, if we can keep him from doing anything it’s a victory – or at least it’s an improvement over the first few years of his reign).
However, thanks to the Gonzales debacle, Wolfie’s girlfriend problem at the World Bank (now they’re going to get him a coach to work on his “leadership style”), and the Office of Special Counsel’s decision to take a good, hard, comprehensive look at a string of Rove’s misdeeds over the past six years (including the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, his apparent delete key fetish and administration efforts to “keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities”), harassment may not be necessary. The Bushies seem to be doing a pretty good job of keeping themselves on the defensive.
I’d love to see Bush hauled up on charges as much as the next guy, but the strategist in me says Pelosi is right here. The decision may not be as morally satisfying, but when push comes to shove I can back her desire to focus on the substance of our foreign and domestic policy.
After six years of Bush, it’s about time somebody did.