The Conga Line Of Corruption
The best argument against Impeachment is how far down the line of succession one must go in order to find someone better than Bush. More competent candidates can be found every step of the way, but Bush’s ineptitude may be the only thing standing between us, and a much bleaker future.
Let’s take a walk through the halls of power and see what we would have in store if by some wild chance, Impeachment did actually gain some traction.
First in line is Dick Cheney of course, and really, enough said. Any Impeachment proceeding that leaves Cheney in power is a non-starter on both sides of the aisle. With approval ratings slightly above Herpes, Republicans don’t want him and with his ties to Halliburton, secret Energy Task Force meetings and advocating torture at every turn, no one else in America does either.
Next up is Speaker of the House, Denny Hastert. Beyond the standard issue Republican wrong-headedness that lead him to say of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, “It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed,” he has more pressing problems. Earlier this month The Huffington Post reported that, “According to FEC reports, since 1999 Hastert has taken $49,000 from American Indian tribes while they were Jack Abramoff's clients. On June 3, 2003, Hastert held a fundraiser at Signatures, a Washington restaurant owned by Abramoff. He did not pay for the space until more than two years later, when Business Week began an in-depth investigation into use of Signatures.” In addition to the possibility of Hastert being sucked into the Abramoff vortex, he was also alleged to have taken Turkish bribes to stop a piece of legislation damaging to the Turkish government. The evidence supporting this allegation has been buried with the gag order rendered by the government against Sybil Edmonds, but may still see the light of day as her fight to speak the truth continues.
Then we come to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Ted Stevens (R-AL). Beyond his “bridge to nowhere” we have the ever present Republican conflict of interest and influence peddling with allegations he used his office to set up a fishery in Alaska that would supply fish worth millions of dollars a year to a seafood company that his son held a secret interest in. He is also under investigation by Congress for lying about his involvement in Cheney’s secret Energy Task Force. Considering who comes before and after him, a President Stevens is on the short list of best possible replacements.
Thanks to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, this is the point in which things really take a turn for the worst. After the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, we move to the Cabinet members, all of who were appointed by Bush and not a single one elected by the people. Those still serving in the cabinet have shown their undying loyalty to this President and have done everything in their power to protect and serve their leader.
Condoleeza Rice, or as my husband refers to her “The Wicked Witch of the West Wing” as Secretary of State is next in line. Her closeness to the President is enough to disqualify her from ascending to the Presidency, as she has been the mouthpiece of every failed foreign policy decision Bush has ever made. We have all heard her claims of Saddam’s ties to 9/11, her selling of mushroom clouds if we didn’t invade Iraq and most likely she is involved in the hyped intelligence as well as the smearing of Joe Wilson and the outing his undercover CIA wife, Valerie Plame. There are few people inside the White House who are more in the know than Condi. Whether she will be found culpable for any illegal activity is yet to be seen, but she is as guilty as Bush in leading the country astray.
Secretary of the Treasury John Snow is next in line. Calvin Trillon wrote a poem for The Nation magazine that sums up the failure of fiscal policy that is John Snow, but he may be the only one on our list that is not mired in criminal or congressional investigations. Once Paul O’Neill refused to continue being a shill for the Bush administration, they wasted no time in appointing Snow who would both do their bidding and sail through a congressional confirment with a unanimous vote of approval. John Snow may be covering up bad fiscal policy by massaging the numbers, but if he is involved in any illegal activity, he has covered his ass extremely well. On this list of criminals, he is by far the best option to replace GWB.
Don “Doublespeak” Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense is next up to bat. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the prospect of a President Rumsfeld. With ineptitude of this magnitude, we might as well stick with Bush. When Donald Rumsfeld still had ambitions of being President, he thought his best ticket to acclaim would be to re-open relations with Iraq in the mid 1980’s. We’ve all seen the pictures of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, back when Rummie thought Saddam could help his career, paying no mind to the fact that Saddam was gassing his own people. No doubt Rumsfeld would still love to be President, but his disastrous execution of the war in Iraq will forever keep him from his most ambitious desire.
Next in line is Alberto “Torture Man” Gonzales. Enough said.
Then comes the Secretary of the Interior, Gale “I’d Sell My Own Mother” Norton who most likely will soon be brought down in shame in the Abromoff case.
Next is, Secretary of Agriculture Mike “Let Them Eat Mad Cow Meat” Johanns.
Followed by the Secretary of Commerce, Carlos “No Conflict Of Interest” Gutierrez, who was CEO of Kellogg’s before accepting his current post.
I think you get the picture. We on the left seem to be holding tight to the idea that Impeachment is possible if the stars align properly for the 2006 mid-term elections, but we must be careful what we wish for. The rot is so deep and so wide that in order to come out better, we would have to get rid of the whole lot of them. Impeaching President Bush would do a lot to repair the divisions at home and our reputation abroad, but we would be trading the devil we know for one we don’t, or even worse, one we don’t want to know.
Impeachment may have been the answer for the vengeful Republican Party, willing to play gotcha over a sexual indiscretion, but Impeaching a President for high crimes against our country carry with it very serious consequences. While no President deserves the indignity more, in order to truly rid our government of the cancer that is killing our Republic, we must be willing to go to the mat and take it to it’s rightful conclusion. Impeachment yes, but let no man or woman ascend to the office of President without the full support of the people, even if that means going off the charts of what the Constitution provides for. Our forefathers could never have anticipated the level of corruption that is now plaguing our country, so we must be willing to go into uncharted territory to rectify our current situation. A constitutional crisis may sound scary, but when pitted against three more years of Bush and Co., it sounds down right exciting.