Bush Impeachment Derailed, but Echoes Remain

A House resolution to impeach President Bush on the grounds he took America to war under false pretenses, proposed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), has failed to progress. The process brings to mind presidents and impeachment — and how political opponents use the tool.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

While President Bush has been getting a relatively friendly reception in Europe, one of his most vocal opponents has been stirring the pot back in Washington. We're talking now about the call from Representative Dennis Kucinich to have the president impeached.

It sparked these thoughts from NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

DANIEL SCHORR: I know a little about presidential impeachment, having been included in the articles of impeachment drawn up on a House Judiciary Committee in 1974 against President Nixon. Article II, Abuse of Presidential Power, covered the FBI investigation of me that he had authorized. Nixon resigned, so it was left to President Clinton to be impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice by a Republican-controlled House, but he was acquitted by the Senate.

So Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio had himself a ball reading his 35 articles of impeachment into the record for almost five hours on Monday night, and then using the parliamentary tactic of a privileged resolution to force a vote on the floor. He obviously knew that impeachment had nowhere to go. The idea of a Cheney presidency probably did not improve the prospects for the resolution. The Democratic leadership was against it, seeing no point in initiating an impeachment this late in Bush's tenure.

The vote that Kucinich post referred his resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for burial. But the vote served Kucinich's purpose of focusing attention on the charge that Mr. Bush took America into a war on false pretenses, a charge that will undoubtedly receive further airing when former White House press spokesman Scott McClellan testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on June 20th.

For President Bush to be under this kind of attack at home cannot be helpful to his standing with foreign leaders he's meeting on his European tour. It was interesting that the president was not met with an anti-war demonstration in Berlin, as has happened in the past. The newspaper Tagesspiel has said that Bush is not even popular in the role of enemy anymore. Not meriting a protest might make President Bush the ultimate lame duck, but he is not about to enter the thin ranks of impeached presidents.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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