I have heard from several sources -- including hitchkitty's Congressman -- a reluctance to use impeachment as a "political tool" -- by which they mean a partisan tool, a means of vindictive retribution against the opposition.*
That boat sailed ten years ago, dear reader.
After achieving control of the House for the first time in forty years, and spending more than half of that time seething bitterly over the resignation and disgrace of Richard Milhouse Nixon, the "Grand Old Party" immediately turned their vindictive pettiness on the current Democratic President. Four years of a concerted witch hunt over matters long preceding Mr. Clinton's term in the White House followed. In the end, the most vicious, ruthless, take-no-prisoners political minds in this nation could find nothing more compromising than a hesitation to be entirely candid about a sexual indiscretion that had nothing to do with the original investigation.
And now, we have reached a point where this single, frivolous impeachment has so compromised the validity of the process that there is reluctance to invoke it in a clear-cut case of multiple offenses against the laws and the Constitution of the United States.
If the highest officials in the land cannot be held accountable for their actions using the legal framework set in place for exactly that, then they are, in fact, above the law, and the pretense of Democracy in the United States is a shadow play.
Other questions have been raised in regard to the timing, so close to being rid of the Current Occupant through the normal order of things. But consider this: Mr. Bush has 224 days left in office. If memory serves, they impeached Mr. Clinton in 181 days.
Even if this action does not get him removed from office, even the first phase -- getting the Congress to confirm that, yes, at least some of these offenses listed are, indeed, "an impeachable offense, warranting the removal from office" -- is important.
It is a valuable precursor for bringing the criminal charges these actions so richly deserve, be it in a United States court, or, if I may engage in a wishful fantasy of our country ever seeing fit to grow up and join the community of civilized nations, in the International Criminal Court.
Even if it amounts to no more than a symbolic gesture, we have to make it clear, to ourselves, to the rest of the world, to posterity -- and above all, to the power-hungry motherless savages, past and future, who seek to wring the public coffers dry to polish their own tick-bloated egos -- that sacrificing all that is right and good about the American experiment for any cause is simply not acceptable.
For more than a decade, we blockaded and starved the people of Iraq, because of their stubborn refusal to rise up against a leader who initiated a war of aggression, detained citizens and foreign nationals without due process of law, and maintaining and practicing tortue as a matter of official policy.
How can we not hold ourselves to the same standards?
*hitchkitty has more to say on the subject here, at the culmination of this thread.