What makes the idea of minimalist impeachment interesting to me is the whole idea of message focus. This has been a consistent problem for the left with any push for, well, anything – for example, perfectly good protests against the Iraq War get bogged down with extra baggage about preventing war with Iran and bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Obviously these are both noble goals in of themselves, but the more elaborate the message is, the less effectively one can produce it. Plus, there are people who we might be able to sway to opposing the war if we don’t alienate them by using every opportunity to oppose the war to saddle it with other issues that they disagree with us on. That’s just not how you build a coalition.
When it comes to impeaching the President, it’s the same thing – if there was a reasonable response guaranteed to every impeachment-worthy sin in office than Bush would have already been impeached a dozen times over. But if we’re going to avoid muddling the case for impeachment, then perhaps the argument being used shouldn’t be big enough to fill a book.
Maybe instead the way to do this is to focus on the issue that we can build the broadest coalition on and let history judge him on all the rest. If it works, he’ll still be removed from office.
Not that I think a movement to impeach Bush would be successful – but it’s worth pursuing anyway. A central pillar of our democracy is that not even the president is above the law and I don’t see how we can accept that and still allow these crimes to pass without the proportionate response.