Conservative Clinton-impeacher Bruce Fein and progressive “The Nation” editor John Nichols joined forces on PBS’s “Bill Moyers Journal” last Friday. The duo — probably unthinkable ten years ago — were on to discuss and urge impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for a pattern of executive overreach that is “totally anathema to a democratic society devoted to the rule of law,” as Bruce Fein put it. As ever, the PBS show’s web site has made the transcript, audio recording, and full video of the show available (via the “Tough Talk on Impeachment” home page)*, and it is an exceptionally valuable production.
Fein and Nichols — one an old-school conservative, one a progressive liberal — advance complementary, mutually reinforcing arguments for impeachment. Fein was positively eager to speak out — with what one might call unimpeachable credibility — on this administration’s numerous specific, patent abuses of power, which he rightly terms “[m]ore worrisome than Clinton’s– because he is seeking more institutionally to cripple checks and balances and the authority of Congress.” Fein also stressed how impeachment is intended to be about “political crimes against the Constitution,” as he quoted Alexander Hamilton at a Senate hearing on Bush’s signing statement abuses.