If impeachment proceedings are started, Republicans might be relieved and vote quickly to impeach for exactly the reason Pelosi is holding back: once Bush and Cheney are out of office, they will be out of mind, exactly the way Nixon and Agnew were after they resigned. 1976 between Carter and Ford was a squeaker when it should have been a landslide in the face of Nixon's crimes and foot-dragging on ending the Vietnam War. Nixon might have been in the minds of those who read and discussed politics, but not the broad masses of people.
Another unfortunately parallel is LBJ in 1968. Though he won in a landslide in 1964, Vietnam forced him to step aside in 1968. Since he was still in office election day, what people disliked about him wasn't an abstract memory but something as immediate as that night's evening news (back when it was still worth watching). Even though Humphrey moved to an anti-war position, Nixon not only wiped him out, but an even further right candidate, George Wallace, got a big chunk of the vote.
Both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress are older than me and remember these pieces of history.
While this analysis is accurate as far as determining the outcome of the next election, if it gives Bush and Cheney a pass on impeachment, the damage to our constitutional system may be permanent, and their sins will be swept under the carpet, and history rewritten that much more easily.
Most Americans are still only vaguely aware of the impeachable offenses of Bush and Cheney given the page A14 treatment they get in newspapers and near blackout on TV news. Those same outlets could elevate him to at least an average president over time if not the near deity status of Reagan.
By contrast, if he is impeached, fifty to a hundred years from now, Bush and Cheney will be members of a very small historical club that includes Clinton, Nixon, and Andrew Johnson. When grade school kids look at the list of charges against Bush and Cheney in their history books, they will wonder what all the fuss was about the other three, and when a future president takes more than half a step in the same anti-democratic, militarily aggressive direction, people will remember that grade school text and pull back on his leash hard.
Impeachment postcard to send Congress
Articles of Impeachment at ImpeachBush.org
Text of Kucinich's impeach Cheney bill H Res 333
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