Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bush impeachment polls more like Nixon than Clinton

In March 2006, the Wall Street Journal found that public support for impeaching President Bush was nearly twice the peak support for impeaching President Clinton. This was in spite of eight years of 24/7 scandal mongering and impeachment talk and an actual impeachment trial in Clinton's case, and a virtual news blackout on the grassroots movement to impeach Bush.

This got me wondering--what did Nixon's impeachment poll numbers look like when he resigned rather than face impeachment?

I searched the net a couple of times and couldn't find the relevant stats, so I had to go into the LA Times archives. It turns out that a day before Nixon resigned, his poll numbers were not that different from Bush's: 55% of Americans wanted him removed, and 64% thought there should at least be an impeachment trial in the Senate.

SOURCE: click to see full-sized

The earliest polls I could find nine months before that showed LESS support for impeaching Nixon than Bush. One poll showed the public divided on impeachment and the other solidly opposed. This was a week and a half after the "Saturday Night Massacre" when Nixon fired Justice Department officials until he found someone willing to fire the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, so the public had some idea of his wrong-doing.

click to see full-sized articles:

So how is it one president was impeached when most of the public didn't think it was necessary, one president ran out of office when a solid majority thought he should be impeached, but a third president with a similar majority in favor of impeachment remains untouched?

For a while, you could blame the media and Congress equally. The public clearly saw the laws, treaties, our constitution, and basic human decency being violated, but the media turned a blind eye or excused it, and Congress either ignored the crimes or retro-actively made them legal. The Democrats at least had the fig-leaf that they were not in control of Congress to hide behind for their inaction.

Now they do not.

Nor can they say that the media is entirely subservient to Bush since even a corporate boot-lick like Chris Matthews feels free to criticize Bush.

Even if the media were still entirely hostile, they would be obliged to cover impeachment proceedings, and when the offenses of the Bush administration were cataloged and described without Karl Rove or Fox News' spin support for impeachment would likely grow even greater.

The real issue of course is not whether impeachment will succeed or fail, or how popular it is, but whether Congress will represent us, whether we have a real democracy or just enough of a semblance of one to lull us to sleep, whether our most basic laws apply to all people including the most powerful, and whether this country belongs to all the American people or just the few that can afford to buy the friendship of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

And apparently, the friendship of most of our Congress, Democrat as well as Republican, is bought and paid for as well--and not by us.



Professor Smartass said...

thanks for the cross-post!

I'm glad you want people to see this too.

Anonymous said...

The longer these two criminals stay in power the more likely the mass lynching ceremonies will extend to beyond just former White House staff, PNAC members, Congress and mainstream news celebrities.

mudge said...

Great column, Prof!

In my opinion (and I was around in '74!), the public only could take the thought of impeaching Nixon seriously AFTER Spiro Agnew departed the scene. Otherwise the cure would have been worse than the disease.

Thus, as some of us have been writing for some time, the Senate needs to go after our new-age Tricky Dick (Cheney) FIRST. Only after some suitable replacement VP is in place will there be a serious movement toward impeaching George III.


Anonymous said...

good read. very pertinent points made.

John said...

Mudge is correct, but I would tread farther. Bush is merely the tool, the puppet at the hand of the adroit (and murderous) puppeteer. In this case, Dick Chenney. And then there is the Oil Industry behind them that has created the entire Bush family, created Chenney and would keep creating presidents and VPs like them. If one is to try to cure the US for this disease, Chenney must go first, then the Oil Industry must be broken up (recall that FDR broke the railroad trust and practically saved capitalism) and people should be charged for crimes against humanity. Killing one million of Iraqi people and devastating an entire county is nothing less than the return of fascism. And that perfectly fine with the Oil Industry because it accommodates their rogue policies and crimes.

Blogesque said...

I think it's interesting the way the question is worded in the Clinton/Bush graphic: President Bush merely "didn't tell the truth," but President Clinton "lied."

AvangionQ said...

You guys are right on several points ... first, the double-talk has to end - the survey should have been a simple two parter: "Have Bush and Cheney lied to the Congress and the American public? Are you in favor of commencing impeachment proceedings for the both of them?" ... second, if Bush is impeached an Cheney is left in power, we have a worse situation than if just Bush is at the top position - the impeachment proceedings should be simultaneously on Bush, Cheney and a few of their brown-nosing cronies ... third, it is much better to take action now, starting with impeachment proceedings for multiple members of the executive branch, than to see Bush and Cheney ride out their terms and leave their collective mess on the lap of the next elected official in 2008.

H.R. said...

I have a question...How long would it take to get an Impeachment through? If the new Mexico border patrol guard fiasco gets as hi as it should, that should be the straw that breaks the camels back....BUT Will Bush already be out of office?

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