In recent years there has been an impeachment and talks of another impeachment. Let’s see what is involved. In the United States, the House of Representatives must pass by a simple majority a list of allegations. If it passes, the defendant has been “impeached”. Next, the Senate tries the accused. To convict, a ⅔ majority of the Senate is required. Throughout our history Congress has regarded impeachment of a President as a power to be used only in extreme cases.
Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, was impeached in 1868. Johnson was Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President. When Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson, a southerner, became President. He was taken by Lincoln as the running mate in the hopes that the southern states would be mollified and not secede from the union. It didn’t work. The Republicans never liked Johnson very much and when he became president things got worse. The Civil War was over and one of the big questions was what to do with the southern states.
The new President (Johnson) wanted to quickly let them back into the Union. The Republicans wanted to have the Union Army occupy the South and slowly allow a few states at a time back in. The Republican-dominated government passed laws infringing on Johnson’s rights as President. When he challenged those laws, he was impeached. When the voting was over, Johnson remained President by one vote.
President Nixon resigned the Presidency while “Articles of Impeachment” were being drawn up. Hence, he was never impeached. These Articles of Impeachment were bi-partisan. Republicans as well as Democrats were furious with what Nixon had done. While the impeachment hearings were going on, it became very tough for Nixon to govern. For example:
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq was the President of Pakistan. US intelligence had clearly established that Pakistan was working on an atomic bomb. At the time it was the policy of the United States to try to hold the line and keep other nations from building the bomb. President Nixon dispatched his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, to do what ever was necessary to keep Pakistan from developing the bomb. Kissinger was firm. He told Zia, that, if he did not stop, the United States would make an example of him. Zia was concerned and did stop for a while. However, before long, the work on the bomb continued. Zia had decided that Nixon was so tied up with the Watergate investigation that he (Nixon) was in no position to do anything to Pakistan. Zia, of course, was right, and research and development continued. Before long, Pakistan had the bomb.
One wonders what would have happened if there were no Watergate. Nixon won the presidency by an overwhelming majority. He could have done anything he wanted to Pakistan and we would have supported him. Don’t forget after Pakistan developed the bomb, they sold it to North Korea. Iran also got their start from Pakistan’s research. Libya, as well, though they abandoned their efforts.
President Clinton was also impeached but in this case, the voting wasn’t even close. It was basically the Republicans attempting to rid themselves of someone they despised. It didn’t seem to matter to them that the majority of the country wanted Bill Clinton to be President.
Bill Clinton, and the entire US military and intelligence services, were looking for one Osama Ben Laden. When we thought we located him cruise missiles were fired — always too late. The problem was that every time some action was taken, the Republicans accuses Clinton of using the missiles for political reasons, and Clinton wasted a lot of time trying to show that it wasn’t political reasons.
After the impeachment proceedings — which, of course, failed — it seems that about the only thing that the Republicans did was keep Clinton from vigorously pursuing Osama. Osama remained alive and 9/11 happened a couple of years later.
Now, some Republicans are making noises about impeaching President Obama. It is not clear on what grounds they would do it but they have been talking about it. Right now, an impeachable offense is anything that congress defines as an impeachable offense.
Our constitution is not a work of some god. It was not handed to the US from Mount Sinai. At best, it was the work of some smart, dedicated men. They did a good job, but it wasn’t perfect.
There are areas that seriously need to be looked at. To impeach a President, he has to be accused of “high crimes and misdemeanors”. What does that mean? I am OK with Treason or Corruption? But Marital Infidelity? That isn’t even against the law. What to do when the House of Representatives makes frivolous charges? Maybe after Articles of Impeachment are presented, there should be a national vote. Yes, I understand that there were other charges against Clinton as well. But it is clear that from the time the Republicans began investigating the infidelity allegations, they were determined to destroy the President.
It was clear to most of the country that the Republicans didn’t have a case but they were determined to tie up the government because there was a Democrat in the White House. I wonder if they understood that if Clinton were removed from office, the new president would not be a Republican, it would have been Vice President Al Gore.
Similarly, if the Republicans decided to impeach Barrack Obama on, say, charges of TRCBSNMWBBC, and were successful, the new President would be Joe Biden. Ideologically, he is probably far to the left of President Obama.
The Republicans, with their 18th century ideas, and their willful ignorance as to how a democracy works, are a menace to themselves and, more importantly, to our nation.
Oops: TRCBSNMWBBC = “trying to run the country while being a Black Socialist, Nigerian, Muslim with a bogus birth certificate.”