Even Overwhelming Majority Support Cannot Get Rep. Olver to Support Impeachment

The meet ing at the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts on July 5, 2007 was anything but routine. Seated before Cong. John Olver (D-MA) were twenty seasoned citizens from over a dozen municipalities in this First Congressional District which embraces the lovely Berkshire Hills.

The subject — impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney.

The request — that Cong. Olver join the impeachment drive in Congress.

More than just opinion was being conveyed to Cong. Olver, a then 70 year old Massachusetts liberal with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachuset ts Institute of Technology. These Americans voted overwhelmingly during formal annual town me et ings in 14 towns and two cities in the First District endorsing resolutions to impeach the President and Vice President.

Presented in the form of petitions to be sent to the Congress, the approving citizenry cited at least four “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

They included the initiation of the Iraq war based on defrauding the public and intentionally misleading the Congress, spying on Americans without judicial authorization, committing the torture of prisoners in violation of both federal law and the U.N. Torture Convention and the Geneva Convention, and stripping American citizens of their Constitutional rights by jailing them indefinitely without charges and without access to legal counsel or even an opportunity to challenge their imprisonment in a court of law.

Forty towns in Vermont and the State Senate had already presented their Congressional delegation with similar petitions.

Impeachment advocates reported the results to Cong. Olver from each town meeting. Leverett’s vote was 339-1; Great Barrington was 100-3. No vote in any of the towns or cities was less than a two-third majority “yes” in favor of impeachment, according to long-time activist, Atty. Robert Feuer of Stockbridge, Mass.

With three fourths of reports completed Cong. Olver, who voted against the war, raised his hand and said, “Spare me, I know full well the overwhelming majority of my constituency is in favor of impeachment.” He then told them he would not sign on to any impeachment resolution whether against Bush or against Cheney (H.Res. 333 introduced by Cong. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). He was quite adamant.

In taking this unrepresentative position, Rep. Olver’s position was identical to that of the House Democratic leadership and many of his Democratic colleagues.

The Democratic Party line on impeachment is that Bush and Cheney are the most impeachable White House duo in American history (they believe this privately). The Democrats do not want to distract attention from their legislative agenda, and need Republican votes for passage. Moreover, they do not have the votes to obtain the requisite two-thirds of the members present for conviction in the Senate.

Strangely, none of these excuses bothered Republicans when they impeached Bill Clinton in the House for lying under oath about sex and proceeded to a full trial in the Senate where they failed to get the required votes. Can Clinton’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” begin to compare with this White House crime wave?

The last question to Cong. Olver was from a young veteran back from Iraq and Afghanistan. “What could we possibly do to bring you around to our way of thinking,” he asked?

Cong. Olver’s response, after several seconds of silence, was “You have to prove to me that impeachment will not be counterproductive.”

Members of Congress should apply the same standard to themselves that they like to apply to members of the Executive and Judicial branches — namely to honor their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That Oath is supposed to transcend political calculations.

Maybe the Democrats think that Bush and Cheney are such wild and crazy guys that a serious impeachment drive in Congress would provoke the two draft-dodgers to launch a military emergency, strike Iran or otherwise generate a crisis, based on their continual fulminations about the “war on terror,” that would engulf the Democrats and throw them on the defensive for 2008.

In short, the Democrats may be viewing Bush and Cheney as being so defiantly, aggressively impeachable on so many counts as to be unimpeachable. That is, with the White House harboring so much political nitroglycerine, don’t even try to remove it.

Such a cowardly position would make quite a precedent for future Presidents who want to illegally elbow out the other two branches of government and our Constitution.

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State (2014), among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph, or visit Ralph's website.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. greybeard said on October 16th, 2007 at 8:23am #

    Is any further proof necessary that the Democrats as well as the Republicans are taking their instructions from some one other than the people who elected them? At least since Clinton capitulated to money interests with NAFTA (perhaps earleir), there has been very little difference bgetween the twin parties, and no substantial difference. No, a Democrat might not have waged war with Iraq, but our militarism would have still been evident. The American people can still reclaim their government, if they so choose, but the elements are in place for a non-violent take-over, while the nation sleeps.

  2. gerald spezio said on October 16th, 2007 at 8:41am #

    A recent piece at Counterpunch by Nader, who is himself a lawyer, asked with a straight face; “Where are the lawyers of America?”

    Nader can’t understand why the lawyer-fixers of America don’t fix things?

    Fix things “right” or is it left, that is.

    They have fixed things really to the right, and then some.

    Some wags say that the friggen lawyers are fixin everything real bad and real legal; but you would have to be a lawyer to tell, maybe?

    Ralphie baby, this government like every other government in Supernation is completely filled with trained lawyers.

    Every legislature in the country is filled with lawyers.

    Lawyers have a scam going called a “self-regulating profession,” ( read monopoly ).

    The US Senate is composed of more than sixty per-cent lawyers on the take.

    Zionist Israelis have bought the lawyer boys and girls in the US Senate and Nancy Pelosi too.

    Lawyers committed to the rule of law in the US Senate love to vote for Senator Joe Lieberman’s “Let’s-have-More-Pre-Emptive -Murder- Soon” bills.

    Joe Lieberman, Hilarious Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, Puddy Guiliani, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Sam Brownback, ad nauseum are all trained lawyers.

    The majority of extra-legal murdering Zionist neo-cons are lawyers.

    21 of the 23 Watergate crooks and conspirators were lawyers.

    Do you remember Nixon’s vice-buffoon lawyer, Spiro Agnew, convicted of sucking up big bribes.
    Spiro was so stupid he became vice-president

    Scooter Libby and Jack Abramhoff were recently practicing effective and lucrative lobbying under cover of law.

    Ralphie for Chrissake kid – what country do you live at?

  3. gerald spezio said on October 16th, 2007 at 9:23am #

    Shid Ralphie, I forgot that poor bumbling bureaucrat for servicing the powerful with a keen knowledge of the law, Alberto Gonzales, our Nation’s chief lawyer and passionate law enforcement person.

    Here are a few other brilliant Attorney Generals filled with the sacred law and the manipulation thereof;

    John Mitchell, Esq. – lawyer Nixon’s foul and criminal AG
    Mitchell was the supreme conspirator against the Republic for which he couldn’t stand at all.

    Janet Reno, Esq. – Feminist lawyer and champion of false child abuse convictions as a sure-fire career route to Supernation’s top lawyering job.
    Hilarious Clinton, Esq. loved Reno’s witchcraft style so much that Hilarious took Reno to Washington as house lawyer.
    Reno turned the law and hellfire on those wayward Christians in Waco.

    William French Smith, Esq. – A slick legal whore in white shoes for whomever can come up with the money – plenty of money
    Beneath contempt and even below that.

    Griffen Bell Esq. – Jimmy Carter’s gentleman forked tongue lawyer who “fixed things” with a very expensive Southern drawl.
    Griffen, a staunch Demo, turned up in Nicaraugua doing peeyar and lawyering for Reagan’s cover-up of the Hassenfus fiasco.

    Ralphie, how could you not know that studying past Attorney Generals of Supernation is a study in the depths of human depravity?

  4. Ruth Rinehart said on November 17th, 2007 at 11:24pm #

    This statement by Ralph Nader is substantively different then the YouTube video clip that is on the 911truth.org site (http://www.911truth.org/). The video clip is dated October 11th, several days before this article is written. In the article above, Ralph Nader speculates:
    “Maybe the Democrats think that Bush and Cheney are such wild and crazy guys that a serious impeachment drive in Congress would provoke the two draft-dodgers to launch a military emergency, strike Iran or otherwise generate a crisis, based on their continual fulminations about the “war on terror,” that would engulf the Democrats and throw them on the defensive for 2008.”
    BUT in the video clip, he reads from some source, indicating that these were the fears of Rep. Olver, and that was why he wouldn’t support impeachment.
    Why this discrepancy??