As noted in a prior post, Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment resolution H.Res.333(/799*) was referred back to the House Judiciary Committee after a series of votes on Tuesday.
Disappointingly, Rep. Chris Van Hollen voted the wrong way in each of three votes that day — first to table, or kill, the resolution introduced by Kucinich, then to force a vote on sending it back to the Judiciary Committee, and then to in fact refer it back to that committee.
Given that H.Res.333 has languished in that committee for months without a hearing, Kucinich and impeachment supporters preferred to have an immediate debate on the House floor — and in a surprising parliamentary stunt, Republicans switched votes midway through balloting and sided with Kucinich to oppose Hoyer’s motion to table the bill. While this might have provided an opening for an immediate debate — one Rep. Kucinich was prepared for — Hoyer and the Democratic leadership were able to force two subsequent party-line votes rejecting that possibility.
So what next for impeachment supporters?
First and foremost, we need to try to capitalize on the events of last week by pressuring House Judiciary Committee members to take up the impeachment resolution that was, after all, referred to them by the full House. Setting aside the gamesmanship and party politics of Tuesday’s votes, the first vote showed gratifying support for immediate consideration of the Cheney impeachment resolution: 85 Democrats joined Rep. Kucinich in asking the House not to table his impeachment motion, despite strong, frankly inexplicable, and certainly unconscionable pressure from the Democratic Party leadership not to do so.
Accordingly, we hope you’ll join us in our “Adopt-A-Rep” campaign — pick a Democrat (or, if you really like uphill battles, a Republican!) on the House Judiciary Committee and call/e-mail him or her urging support for committee hearings on the impeachment resolution before it.
But that may not be all we can or should do. We hope the following ideas will inspire discussion, debate, and decision by those of us supporting impeachment in Takoma Park and Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Please have a look, and please leave your comments below.
Option: Push for improved impeachment resolution
In focusing on the Vice President’s deceptions leading to the Iraq War and the threats against Iran, Kucinich’s impeachment resolution presents only a few of the reasons for impeachment. Some argue that for various reasons, other reasons — such as those provided in the Takoma Park impeachment resolution passed this summer — ought to be included in an improved impeachment resolution considered by the House and its Judiciary Committee. While we don’t have a seat at the Kucinich table, we might try to agitate for using the Takoma Park resolution briefly with Rep. Kucinich and prominent supporters like David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan.
Option: Register displeasure with Rep. Chris Van Hollen
(1) Arrange a meeting or attend one Rep. Van Hollen is scheduled to attend, and let him know how disappointed we are in his failure to join the most progressive, Constitution-oriented issue before this country today: the need to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney for manifest injuries to the Constitution, the country, and the rule of law.
(2) Boycott DCCC fundraising. Rep. Van Hollen’s stature — and power — within the Democratic Party are evidenced by his role as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. By publicly pledging not to contribute to this campaign committee, we would be directing our protest both at the Democratic Party leadership and specifically at Rep. Van Hollen.
There are reasons for doing so beyond impeachment. The DCCC is arguably building a Democratic Party that Democrats don’t want — DCCC-sponsored freshmen like Heath Shuler are among the Democrats who vote with Bush most often. Meanwhile, there are many alternatives for contributing to progressive and liberal electoral victories in 2008 — ones that don’t also reward a Democratic Party leadership for its intransigence on impeachment.
(3) Support a challenger. Chris Van Hollen’s opposition to impeachment is a legitimate issue of overriding importance in the 2008 election. If you see impeachment as a necessary constitutional remedy to Bush and Cheney’s abuses of power and assaults on the Constitution and the rule of law, then Van Hollen’s leadership role in opposing impeachment is arguably a dereliction of duty to his oath of office. He is certainly not representing us this way; maybe we can do better — maybe we should try.
Option: Engage 2008 candidates and campaigns
We could turn our attention to raising impeachment per se and impeachment-related issues, such as those enumerated in the Takoma Park impeachment resolution (torture, warrantless surveillance, signing statement, etc.) with 2008 election candidates or their proxies in the area. This could involve:
(1) Publishing presidential candidate comparison checklists on those issues and on impeachment, and/or
2) Attending campaign events prepared to ask questions about impeachment and impeachable issues such as torture, the war, and warrantless surveillance.
Option: Your advice here
All suggestions are welcome — the more so if they come with some idea of where/when/how you’re willing to help with them!
* H.Res.799 is the designation for the “privileged resolution” Kucinich introduced on Tuesday.
NOTE: links to “DCCC-sponsored”, “most often” via DownWithTyranny, 10/23/07.