Giving in to Temptation

Will the Democrats, in their failure to muster the votes to actually change course in the Iraq war, give in to the politically suicidal temptation to punish President Bush with censure or impeachment? Pay attention to this growing Democratic trend — it isn't just for Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) anymore.

There are now 1 million signatures on a petition for impeachment and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) has revived his censure idea, which first reared its head a year and a half ago. He announced he would introduce his two resolutions, which are non-binding, because he thinks they will do "something serious in terms of accountability." Wow, after all that's happened, that's really likely to shake up Bush's central nervous system. 

Republicans, who made history by losing seats in the midterm election of Clinton's second term by impeaching him in 1998, must be tickled. It sure sounded that way when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on CNN yesterday, “You know, today marks the 200th day of the new Congress. The kind of stunt that Sen. Feingold just recommended on the heels of the all-night theater of Tuesday night gives you a sense why this Congress has a 14 percent approval rating. We think it's the lowest in the history of polling. All they do is have Iraq votes and investigations. On the legislative side, about all we've been able to accomplish is to keep the lights on in the Capitol, 19 or 20 post office re-namings, and we have passed a very important troop funding bill, thank goodness."

You know it's bad when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), hardly one to shy from a fight these days, backs away. "The president already has the mark of the American people that he's the worst president we've ever had, and I don't think we need a censure resolution in the Senate to prove that," Reid said.

So next time there's a sex scandal in the Oval Office and a president finds it hard to tell the truth in a deposition, we know impeachment is on the menu — but military action and war? Is failure to "adequately prepare" the military for war grounds for censure?

In the midst of all this partisanship and political paralysis, Reid and McConnell finally agree on something: Russ, try holding your horses.


***

ASK A.B.Thanks to Wes and Derek for joining me on last week's Q & A video post! Please contribute by sending useful, interesting and entertaining questions to askab@thehill.com. We want to talk politics and have a few laughs. Spare us the offensive, unGoogleable, unthinkable or otherwise useless. I look forward to hearing from all of you, often.