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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

They should have listened to Barry

"Sometimes I think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea." Barry Goldwater, 1961
There's some sensible rumblings coming from this part of the United States that Barry and the Hard Right could not saw off two generations ago. The only problem is not a lot of the right folks are listening.

The Washington Post notes today that a lot of us here "near Paul Revere country" are talking impeachment. Unfortunately the Fools on the Hill, aka the Democratic Party is, for the most part, not listening.

The evidence continues to pile up about the incompetence, venality and outright lies of the Bush administration. It is true, as some legal scholars say, that the bar for high crimes and misdemeanors is a high one. Whether Bush's lies about weapons of mass destruction, his abuse of the constitution's protections against illegal search and seizure and his disdain for the Geneva Conventions rises to that level is the all important question.

That's what an impeachment trial is about.

We can start with the obvious statement that this idea is a no-go. The corrupt Republican leaders of Congress would never allow it to get that far -- not to mention they think they can make political hay by tarring supporters as denizens of the loony left. And it is that fear that drives the weak-willed Democrats into an embrace with their mortal enemies.

But, to paraphrase Ted Koppel, frankly elected Democrat, you just don't get it.

The Rabid Right waged a two-decade jihad to get to where it is today, fouling up the levers of power. It started small -- school boards which decreed evolution is a crackpot theory -- until it swept into Washington. The march was highlighted by true believers who never hesitated to sound off about their beliefs, no matter how loony they seemed at the time.

Led by the Robertsons, Falwells, Gingrichs -- and backed by the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Foundation among others -- they established a core set of values to guide (or misguide) their every step.

Democrats and liberals (not necessarily synonyms)? Nope. Will Rogers' line still holds true: "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." Core values? What are those?

What the Beltway-bound Democrats fail to recognize is that impeachment is a vehicle for discussing the Bush failures, the type of vehicle the Right used to gain power.

The GOP knew full well what it was doing when it railroaded the Clinton impeachment. (Please let us consider that he was impeached after being forced to give up his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked about marital infidelity before a grand jury. Can someone cite where that has ever happened before in US history?) It was a chance to highlight what they saw was the lack of Democratic moral values.

Instead of stepping up and launching a discussion about the legitimacy, honesty and competency of the Bush administration, the Democrats cower, as usual, fearful of snotty remarks by GOP political leaders like Ken Mehlman that equate expressions of 1st Amendment free speech rights with treason.

The Clinton impeachment failed to oust the president because the public saw the charges as illegitimate. But it did not backfire as a political tactic. The proof of that is sitting in the Oval Office today. The potential charges against Bush are substantial -- and certainly have not been manufactured by the political opposition.

As the Democrats continue to melt into a puddle of self-pitying goo, the forces of the Right grow stronger even as the mess up. Another set of elections last 2000, 2002 and 2004 and the GOP may just have a saw large enough to cast the Eastern Seaboard adrift (especially because they could probably stop around New Jersey).

Does anyone with a "D" after his or her name have a backbone?

And oh yeah, check out what Barry had to say about religion and politics. The man would be shunned by his party today.


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