Schadenfreude... The Demmies Deserve Her!
By Mike Rosen
Cindy Sheehan's promised retirement from political activism appears to have been all too brief. The so-called "peace mom" is threatening to run against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in her San Francisco district in 2008.
As a candidate, in the area of personal achievements, Sheehan's résumé is a blank. Her only credential isn't even her own. It's the death of her son, Casey, in service to his country in Iraq. Her driving force is a pathological hatred of George W. Bush.
Sheehan has put Pelosi on notice that if she doesn't move to impeach President Bush by July 23, Sheehan will challenge her as an independent candidate. Sheehan says she and like-minded anti-war fanatics have been "betrayed by the Democratic leadership." "We hired them to end the war," proclaims Sheehan.
In reality, Democrats who won election in 2006 were "hired" (elected) by a variety of people - including independents and some erstwhile Republicans - embracing a wide range of interests and issues. There were even Democratic voters who supported the war. Sheehan may have been part of the Democrat coalition but her notion that she and her ilk own the party outright is little more than a grand conceit.
Democrats in Congress are scoring political points for their opposition to Bush on Iraq, but they know better than to take sole possession of a U.S. defeat by following Sheehan's advice to cut and run immediately.
Sheehan's case for impeachment reads like the simplistic ravings of Bush-hating Air America radio talk-show hosts. Let's take them one by one:
1. Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's WMD. No, he didn't. At worst, there were mistaken conclusions based on faulty intelligence and analysis. There is no evidence of lying.
2. Treatment of terrorist detainees is in violation of the Geneva Conventions. No, it isn't. These were nonuniformed, unlawful combatants. They do not enjoy the Geneva protections afforded to POWs. They can even be lawfully executed.
3. Bush illegally commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence. No, he didn't. Section 2, Article 2 of the Constitution grants the president this power without qualification. The Justice Department has guidelines in this area, but presidents aren't bound by them and commonly disregard them.
4. Bush authorized illegal "domestic" spying. No, he didn't. The surveillance wasn't strictly domestic and it wasn't "wiretapping." The NSA analyzed calling patterns of telecommunications between overseas terrorists and domestic contacts. This is the way we uncover and prevent terrorist attacks. It's not illegal and no warrant is required.
5. Bush's "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina. No crime here, either and certainly no impeachable offense. At worst, this was a case of mismanagement. Louisiana's governor and New Orleans's mayor were clearly negligent, themselves, and haven't been criminally prosecuted.
Impeachment is a serious business. It should be reserved for high crimes and misdemeanors, not political disagreements. The political remedy is the congressional election process every two years and presidential elections every four. Impeaching Bush might be fun for angry, self-indulgent lefties seeking revenge on behalf of Bill Clinton, but the bottom line is that pragmatic congressional Democrats believe they're on a roll and that the next election is in the bag.
They're not going to jeopardize that outcome and run the risk of a public backlash in response to a mean-spirited show trial of George W. Bush with little likelihood of conviction.
As a Republican, I'm delighted at the prospect of people like Sheehan running as third party, anti-war candidates. By siphoning off Democratic votes, they might help some Republicans get elected. I hope Dennis Kucinich runs as an anti-war independent for president.
As for Nancy Pelosi, I'm afraid her seat is safe. Let's be frank: If you've ever heard Cindy Sheehan speak, it's clear she's a dimwit. Even San Francisco Democrats wouldn't elect her.