- The Republicans instituted impeachment procedures against President Clinton in 1998 and suffered a significant political backlash, the Democratic Leadership is wary of facing a similar backlash today should they impeach Bush and /or Chaney.
A CNN poll taken on September 25, 1998 revealed the following data:
Which of the following possible outcomes of the investigation of Bill Clinton would you most like to see happen?
No action 34%
Still not convinced by the numbers? Time/CNN provides the clearest contextual comparison:
* 45% favor "the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush;" 46% oppose.
* 54% favor "US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney;" 40% oppose.
* Average support for impeachment and removal (10 polls): 26%
Aug-Sept 1998 (Before Clinton Impeachment)
* Average support for hearings (6 polls): 36%
Meanwhile President Bush's approval rating hovers around 30% and has for better part of the last year.
The polling numbers reveal no contextual basis for any legitimate argument that the political climate during the Clinton impeachment hearing procedures compares in any manner to the political climate today. In fact, the numbers reveal that the position of the American people towards both the President and the impeachment procedures are statistically the exact opposite.
Furthermore, the so called political backlash that the Democrats currently fear never happened. Two years after an extremely unpopular impeachment, the Republicans lost only one seat in the Senate and won the White House.
The Democrats are playing what they believe is a safe hand of inaction. Their logic is that the Republicans are so inept and out of touch with mainstream America that any controversial, or bold, action in Congress risks losses which otherwise will not happen. They have not taken into account that they may be held accountable by an angry public for a crime of omission, just as Bush and Chaney should be held liable for a crime of commission. In many legal instances, failing to act or report a crime creates complicity to the crime.
President Clinton's action's were clearly wrong, but it was the position of the American electorate that impeachment and removal from office was not warranted. This is clearly not the case with the Bush White house.
The issue of impeachment should be determined by the whether the evidence exists of a crime and whether the crime in question fits the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.
If you still have any doubt whether the President and Vice President deliberately mislead Congress and the American people into war, watch this video.
Sadly, it appears that the Democratic Leadership prefers what they perceive to be the safety of inaction to the inherent risks of performing their constitutionally mandated duties to the American people.