THE CHENEY BARRIER. Today in Salon, Gary Kamiya tries to come up with a theory for why Americans have not yet impeached President Bush. He argues:
there's a deeper reason why the popular impeachment movement has never taken off -- and it has to do not with Bush but with the American people. Bush's warmongering spoke to something deep in our national psyche. The emotional force behind America's support for the Iraq war, the molten core of an angry, resentful patriotism, is still too hot for Congress, the media and even many Americans who oppose the war, to confront directly. It's a national myth. It's John Wayne. To impeach Bush would force us to directly confront our national core of violent self-righteousness -- come to terms with it, understand it and reject it. And we're not ready to do that.
And here I thought the caution around impeaching Bush was just because Dick Cheney is vice president, next in the line of succession, and even worse than the president. The Democrats have so slim and recent a governing majority in the Congress that just getting their minimum wage hike through has become a stuggle, to say nothing of getting the president to sign on to an exit strategy from Iraq. Moving to impeach the president would result in a complete scuttling of their own agenda during times that require urgent action, as well as being the one thing Democrats could do to rally the G.O.P. base and build support for the president. The realpolitik case against impeaching Bush is strong enough that one needn't look any deeper into the American psyche for reasons it hasn't caught on.
A national movement to impeach Cheney...well, that might find itself getting a warmer political welcome.