Gordon Clark is a former SANE/Freeze, Peace Action, and Public Citizen state and national organizer who is challenging Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD 8th C.D.) in the November election, as the Green Party candidate for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat in Congress. As befits a Green Party and progressive candidate, he’s centering his campaign on the issues of the Iraq war, global warming, and to some extent on the storm clouds gathering for a possible Iran war; as I noted at the time, I first learned about the execrable H.Con.Res.362 bill demanding a blockade of Iran via a press release from the Gordon Clark campaign.
I was curious where Mr. Clark stands on impeachment, accountability, and the dream of a healthy constitutional democracy in the United States. Via his website, I just got through listening to an interview he gave on June 13th on the (quite excellent) BlogTalkRadio news show “Radio Resistance,” hosted by Chip Gibbons. The Clark interview begins at around 32:30 minutes*; the key part, for me, is here:
GIBBONS, “RADIO RESISTANCE” (at around 44:52): If you were in Congress right now instead of Representative Van Hollen, would you be pursuing impeachment of George Bush?
CLARK: As I said, I think it’s a tough call in some ways. I’ll start off by saying: yes, I would. […] If I were in the legislature right now, there’s no question that this administration has committed crimes that deserve impeachment and I would be forced to vote for it.
(All emphases are mine.)
The first eight minutes or so of the interview — which you should listen to as well — introduce Clark, and give him a chance to develop the connections he (quite rightly) sees between the U.S. oil-based economy, our deadly, costly adventure in Iraq, and the global warming crisis — what I sometimes think of as “the cliff we’re driving off issues.” Then interviewer Chip Gibbons turned to the “getting our hands on the steering wheel issues” of accountability, impeachment, and Congress’s supine behavior versus the Bush administration:
RR (at around 40:23): Why do you believe Congress has failed to hold George Bush accountable in any way for any of his actions? Whether it be the war in Iraq or the authorization of torture or the warrantless wiretapping or any of the numerous things he’s done that are …
RR: … that require some accountability.
CLARK: …very, very bad, yes, and require some accountability… Well, it doesn’t seem to me that Congress itself is terribly accountable. When you consider the extraordinary rate that incumbents get returned to office and that challenges that anyone who is running against an incumbent faces, that’s part of the problem. I think overall — and I certainly know members of Congress who are good people — but I think the biggest problem overall is that you’re talking about two political parties, both the Democrats and Republicans, who are essentially feeding from the same trough. And it’s very unlikely that you’re going to get a Democratically controlled Congress which is acting like a true opposition party when in fact an awful lot of their campaign finance funding comes from the same industries or sectors that Republican politicians get it from.
I also think that part of what’s going on is that Democrats don’t want to set any precedents that they themselves might get caught in later on. You know, who knows what skeletons other people have in their closets, so they don’t push too hard.
This is something, by the way, when I worked with Public Citizen in their CongressWatch division, I followed ethics abuses and corruption in Congress, so as you can imagine we kept very, very busy. And basically, members of Congress had an unspoken agreement with eachother for years that they were not going to file any ethics complaints against eachother, for all the corruption that was clearly going on. And the whole reason they had that agreement is they knew if one of them filed a corruption charge, well then someone else would file an ethics complaint in return. So they rather agreed, ‘we like the system the way it is, let’s not complain about eachother,’ and I think that type of thinking writ large is why you have a supposed opposition Congress controlled by Democrats that really is absolutely failing to hold President Bush accountable or the Bush administration generally accountable for any of the *criminal* activities — not just bad policies, but some of the outright criminal activites that they’ve been pursuing for the past several years.
RR: What do you think of Congressman Kucinich’s 35 articles of impeachment against George Bush?
CLARK: What, only 35?
RR: Well they take 5 hours to read, because they read them in to the record, it took 5 hours to read, I think if there were any more, the House.. reader person, I don’t know what she’s called, would …
CLARK: And I was actually only joking, Chip, when I said ‘only 35.’
CLARK: I think impeachment is… there’s more than one side to the issue in terms of whether politically you move ahead with it, but it’s very clear to me that this adm is more corrupt and more deserving of impeachment than any administration in US history that I’m aware of. They have signalled their open contempt for Congress’s role in running our country and in legislation as recently as last February, when Congress passed … the Defense Authorization Bill, it had more money for the war in Iraq, of course, but as part of that they tried to pass a provision saying there would be no permanent bases in Iraq. And President Bush said publicly, “Well… thank you for the advice, we’ll do with that what we want to.” So on many occasions he has just signalled his willingness — the whole issue about presidential signing statements, you know the fact that President Bush has issued — geez, I’ve lost count but it’s over seven *hundred* of them, which again are specifically statements that used to be about small interpretations in pieces of legislation, they’ve now become a way of President Bush saying ‘I will ignore this law if I want to.’ So I think it’s very clear historically there has never been an administration more deserving of impeachment than this one and I’m delighted and proud that there are people like Representative Kucinich that are willing to do that.
RR (at around 44:52): If you were in Congress right now instead of Representative Van Hollen, would you be pursuing impeachment of George Bush?
CLARK: As I said, I think it’s a tough call in some ways. I’ll start off by saying: yes, I would. Given the record, I don’t think you can look at that and say, this shouldn’t be pursued. For what it’s worth, I do think it’s a challenging issue because I think it represents a division in this country which goes simply beyond holding people accountable. And when I look at other places in the world where there’ve been deep seated conflicts, whether you’re talking about apartheid in South Africa, or Pinochet’s regime in Chile, that the people who tried to reconcile later — and that’s the word, they tried to bring about reconciliation — they were very careful sometimes about who got blamed or whether they in fact tried to punish people for what happened, realizing that sometimes punishment can make some of the old wounds raw again, and actually result in backlashes and deepened divisions rather than reconciliation. So as a nonviolent activist, I think that actually plays a part in here. If I were in the legislature right now, there’s no question that this administration has committed crimes that deserve impeachment and I would be forced to vote for it.
Not all exactly what I would have said (impeachment is a nonviolent process). But very good all the same, and I welcome the fact that Mr. Clark has gone on the record supporting Bush and Cheney’s impeachment.
[by Thomas Nephew; ABRIDGED FROM newsrackblog.com]
* The first part of the show is also well worth your time: Gibbons interviews Adam Kokesh of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and “Winter Soldier.” In the part I caught, Kokesh noted that they mainly shopped press releases to newspapers read by soldiers, rather than the New York Times, so that their numbers have doubled since the “Winter Soldier” conference earlier this year.