The “I” Word

The “I” Word


I didn’t see this poll from last week, and color me surprised

…a poll released last week by Zogby International showed 52 percent of American adults thought Congress should consider impeaching Bush if he wiretapped U.S. citizens without court approval, including 59 percent of independents and 23 percent of Republicans. (The survey had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.)


  • ford4x4

    Based on the way that’s worded, I’d be part of the 52%.
    But, do I feel he should be impeached for the current
    wiretapping “scandal”? Absolutely not. That’s a poorly worded
    poll question, trying to bait an answer.

    If the poll were worded “If Bush wiretapped only calls from or to known Al-Qaeda phone numbers outside the US, should he be impeached for it?” I imagine that 52% would wither.

  • Alan Stewart Carl

    Zogby was hired by the liberal group to conduct that poll. So, yeah, the question was purposefully worded to produce a response desirable to the impeach Bush crowd.

    The full wording was:

    “If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.”

    Not only does it not relate the full facts of the case but it said “should consider” which is a lot softer than “should.”

    It’s not a very meaningful poll, but it has done the job AfterDowningStreet intended–which is to get us all talking about impeachment.

  • Meredith

    Plain and simple, if Bush broke the law, he should be impeached. I mean, the whole Clinton thing (which I don’t need to go into) was nothing compared to what this might be, so I say impeach away!

    But, some have asked me if I have thought through the logical consequences of this – i.e. that Cheney would then become Prez, unless he also broke the law, and then on down the line . . . . I’m more scared of Cheney being in charge than Bush, so maybe no impeachment sounds better.

    The question is whether we follow the letter of the law, despite the consequences, or do we decide only to enforce laws when it seems like a good idea? Slippery slope.

  • DosPeros

    What is the “letter” of the law in this situation, Meredith? I think one thing that Bush’s legal advisors may have been counting on is the conflicting law between FISA and the vague congressional authorization.

    This is hardly a legal slamdunk against Bush and there is plenty of wiggle room to suggest that Bush was merely playing up to the line — a concept that many would support post 9/11. I do think he broke FISA, but he arguably did so with authorization from Congress.

    Clinton on the other hand, lied under oath about tea-bagging (my new favorite word) and cigar-ing Monica. Plain and simple perjury. Your slippery slope is filled with apples and oranges which should not be compared.

  • Jonathon York

    My experience is that Zogby International historically has difficulty establishing a valid sampling frame. I’m not too surprised that they’re having halo effect issues as well.

  • nyrev

    So according to Zogby, the pro-impeachment crowd has a mandate?

  • Alan Stewart Carl

    Impeaching Clinton was wrong and impeaching Bush (based on what we know) would also be wrong.

    The standard is HIGH crimes and misdameanors, not “any minor infraction (Clinton) or any act that might be construed by some to be illegal (Bush).”

    Do we really want to start impeaching every president? Because every president bends the law from time to time. Heck, FDR flat out broke it on several occassions but most of us still consider him a great president and the country would have been worse off without him.

  • Justin Gardner

    Do we really want to start impeaching every president? Because every president bends the law from time to time. Heck, FDR flat out broke it on several occassions but most of us still consider him a great president and the country would have been worse off without him.

    This is an interesting point and calls into question the very of impeachment. Simply put, the last impeachment we faced (Clinton’s) was for a very minor infraction. Of course the right-wing didn’t see it as simply minor, but a majority of the country did given Clinton’s approval ratings after the scandal.

    Do I think Bush’s actions are worse than Clinton’s? Yes. However, I don’t think any sort of impeachment now is going to solve the NSA problem. This question needs to go to the people in the midterms and be answered by their vote. Already we’ve seen polls support both sides of the argument, whether you agree with the methodology or not.

    Our system is self-correcting. Come this fall we’ll see what the people think.

  • jonathon

    In his commentary on the Constitution of 1787, George Anastaplo muses that had Nixon been impeached, the scenario Alan Stewart Carl describes–impeachment of every president–would be a distinct possibility.

    There is also a difficulty with the phrase “high crimes and misdeameanors” in how you parse its meaning. Does “high” have distributive meaning, as in “high crimes and high misdeameanors?” Or does “high” apply to the first term alone, as in “high crimes” and “misdemeanors”?

    If “high” is distributive, then we have to figure out what a “high misdemeanor” is, and how it is distinct from “high crimes”. If it is not, then any misdemeanor is potentially an impeachable offense, depending on the will and the resolve of the House of Representatives.

    And then there’s the whole issue of “and” which seems to require that both “crimes” and “misdemeanors” are required for impeachment. This perhaps renders the whole debate irrelevant…

  • Meredith


    When I say “letter of the law” I just mean following the rules about impeachment, which honestly I have not memorized. And, of course you are right that there is wiggle room. You and I both know that there is lots of wiggle room in the law, and that’s why it’s so damn fun!!!!!

    Anyway, I just think that tea-bagging is good, clean family fun, and I don’t blame the guy for trying to fudge that – I mean, who wants to piss off Hillary? Perjury for tea-bagging just seems to not be as bad as warrantless wiretapping, which I am not saying happened, but that is the allegation.

  • sleipner

    The only reason Clinton was impeached is the Republican majority in congress sent Ken Starr on an expensive witchhunt, fishing for ANYTHING they could use to make him look bad.

    Contrarily, the Republican majority is doing everything they can to HIDE and prevent investigation of potential wrongdoing by this “president.” Considering that we have already found quite a few at best questionable abuses of power, one wonders what else the “most secretive administration in history” is hiding in its skeleton closet? Surely an investigation as well funded as Ken Starr’s could find something impeachable there…

    Granted impeachment would put Cheney in charge, unless of course he were implicated as well, which I think entirely likely as Bush doesn’t have the brainpower to do anything but rubber-stamp something this complex.

    I’m just hoping the double impeachment occurs after the elections this year, so that we have a Democratic Speaker of the House to take over. OK, yeah, I’m dreaming