ANALYSIS: US Rep. Kucinich’s Shift Towards Impeachment
(APN) ATLANTA — US Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) is about to unveil Articles of Impeachment against Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney at a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24, 2007. Both Kucinich’s Campaign and Congressional Offices have thus far maintained a veil of secrecy about the rationale for the Articles.
Kucinich’s step is certainly bold and substantively appropriate, but it is only one stage in what has been the Congressman’s shifting in political posture towards impeachment as a remedy to the abuses of the Bush Administration.
This, of course, may still not be the end of the shift, because Bush himself still hasn’t been recommended for impeachment yet in this Congressional Session.
To illustrate this shift, consider the Congressman and Presidential Candidate did not cosponsor H Res 635, the bill in the 109th Congressional Session, which had 39 total cosponsors and would have created a Select Committee to look into the possible grounds for impeaching Bush. The bill charged Bush with misleading the public on the need to invade Iraq, retaliating against public officials who disagree with him, and encouraging torture.
Kucinich was one of 31 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who chose NOT sign on to H Res. 635 at the time. The other 31 members, or exactly one half, of the Caucus did sign on.
The 39 total co-sponsors of H Res. 635 were US Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Jackson, Jr., (D-IL), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. John Olver (D-MA), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN), Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Dianne Watson (D-CA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Rep. David Wu (D-OR).
Kucinich also did not cosponsor former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s bill which called for Bush’s impeachment. Congresswoman McKinney shifted towards the idea of impeachment herself, telling APN that she first considered the idea in 2001 and her mother begged her not to do it.
Over the last year or so, Atlanta Progressive News has asked multiple sources as to why Kucinich chose not to support impeaching Bush.
One source close to the Kucinich Campaign told APN that Kucinich did not want to impeach Bush because of his belief in forgiveness and redemption and that even Bush could be redeemed.
The Kucinich Campaign also responded to an inquiry from one APN reader who contacted them several months ago, asking why the Congressman wouldn’t support impeachment.
“I have been watching intently the tally of Congress people who have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors of H. Res 635, which would create a Select Committee to look into the grounds for recommending President Bush’s impeachment. So far there are 36. I notice that you are not among them and I find this to be virtually unfathomable. Is there some reason you are reluctant to do this?” Lyn Bernstein sent in an email to the Kucinich Campaign on May 02, 2006.
“It is my understanding that Congressman Kucinich is working for major systemic change rather than mere personnel changes. Also, he does not support efforts which are basically set up to rip people apart,” replied Kucinich volunteer, Gail Heyn, adding she did not speak on behalf of the Congressional Office.
A few weeks ago, the Kucinich for President 2008 Campaign released a remarkable YouTube video in which the Congressman asks Americans to provide him with feedback on the question “Is it time” for impeachment.
In the YouTube video, Kucinich said he was troubled by the prevailing idea in Congress that impeachment should be “off the table,” while an invasion of Iran should be left on the table.
At that time, it wasn’t clear why Iran was seen as a reason for impeachment now, when the Invasion of Iraq–which has been equally atrocious as well as fraudulent–was not mentioned as a potential reason.
Now, it’s not clear why Cheney is the sole target of impeachment and not Bush.
It will be fascinating to see which Members of Congress, if any, will support Kucinich’s bill. It will also be interesting to see whether the discussion of impeaching Cheney leads to possibly also impeaching Bush.
One function of Kucinich’s introduction of the Articles will be break the silence on the I word, which had been demanded by US Rep. Pelosi. It was largely viewed that US Rep. Conyers, the original sponsor of H Res 635, dropped his bill out of respect to Pelosi and his desire to be appointed Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Moreover, several Members of Congress have stated that they have followed in Conyers’s steps in choosing not to introduce similar bills of their own.
According to APN’s analysis, there are currently four (4) Members of Congress who would be willing to support impeachment. US Rep. Kucinich has been one of the people on the list for some time and we can now reveal this to our readers. US Rep. John Lewis told an Atlanta-based radio station WAOK that he would support Articles of Impeachment should they be introduced, although he did not support his colleague Cynthia McKinney’s bill when it was introduced. The other two Representatives cannot be named at this time.
One of the main arguments against is impeaching Bush is regarding the possibility of a President Cheney; however, the bill to impeach Cheney would eliminate this issue.
At the same time, when Pelosi said impeachment was off the table, implicitly she meant the impeachment of Bush.
For Kucinich to introduce Articles of Impeachment against Cheney is, thus, in a way, dispelling the stigma of impeachment, because many Members of Congress may be more inclined to support impeaching Cheney. It also brings up the general idea of impeachment into the mainstream media dialogue.
The corporate media almost completely ignored H Res 635. US Rep. Conyers recognized Atlanta Progressive News on his blog for being the only media outlet at the time to regularly cover this bill.
Last week, it was actually a blog on the WashingtonPost.com website, which revealed that Kucinich had sent a letter to other Members of Congress indicating his intent to file the Articles of Impeachment against Cheney.
Kucinich’s Congressional Office declined to comment at this time, and his Campaign was not expected to respond prior to the official announcement.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor and National Correspondent for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.