Washblog

Reichert's defense of Bush: "I'm not a lawyer"

[Front paged NM. I added Bryce's photo, below.]
Thanks to Ivan Weiss for sending out a heads up on a "Conservative Enthusiasts" meeting at which Dave Reichert would be appearing earlier tonight (Sound Politics Calendar).  I couldn't resist the opportunity to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation between Reichert and his base wingnuts (Conservative Enthusiasts?  More like "Neo-con Cheerleaders" from what I heard)...

 

 

 

I didn't really know what to do when I got there exactly, but when I walked up, Linda Boyd from Washington For Impeachment ran up and started preaching to the choir so I asked her if she needed any help holding signs :-)

Our numbers grew somewhat as curious bystanders started joining us.  When the wingnuts came back out of the library to wait for Dave, all of a sudden it looked like we had a full-scale demonstration going!  It so turned out that the small red-white-blue signs they held that no one could read matched our huge Impeach Bush signs perfectly and people driving by began to take notice and honk and wave in support!  Their leadership noticed the blow-back but their attempts to hide our signs wasn't working out very well.

Whenever one of the Neo-con Cheerleaders got confrontational with me, it was kind of fun to read them their signs back to them ("Land of the free because of the brave. Thank you Armed Forces") and say "as a Gulf War Era veteran, I accept your thanks" and start explaining to them why they should be holding a sign like mine too :-)

Inside, Dave was clearly leery of the video cams he saw recording his every word (pointing at his Canon minicam, "this is my Macaca-nator" Rick Hegdahl told me), questioning each operator as to whether they were working for one particular campaign or not - Paranoia becomes him.  He then used the memory of his slain police partner to sell himself and more war, and demonstrated how well his police hostage-negotiator training can be applied to finding common ground and minimizing differences with opponents whenever he inadvertently acknowledged a hostile questioner which were scattered throughout the crowd.

The real show-stopping answer of the night came in response to Zenda Boss-Hall's question about whether he felt any of the Bush administration's actions had risen to the level of impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors" to which his response was "I'm not a lawyer" and "even if they did, we don't have enough time left of this presidency to bother with impeachment".

Bush is coming to a campaign fundraiser for Reichert next week, and Reichert's strongest defense of his benefactor is "I'm not a lawyer" and "We don't have enough time left"?  Yikes - I hope the Macaca-nator caught that!

-Bryce

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The line you highlight from Dave is very telling. Even a rubber-stamp like him he must be feeling uneasy about getting a smooch from W, and hoping some emergency comes up to require his urgent attention elsewhere next Monday.

IS ANYONE GOING TO BELLEVUE TO PROTEST W's PRESENCE STINKING UP OUR FAIR STATE?

I sure would like to participate in that, but it's quite a distance from West Seattle. Anyone wants to give me a ride, I will make a sign for you!

by dinazina on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 07:12:29 AM PST

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I love this first-person citizen reporting. Good job.

The bit about the competing signs is funny. Wish I could have seen it.

by zappini on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 11:40:52 AM PST

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I won't forget my video camera next time! :-)

by BryceM on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:50:25 AM PST

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The pathetic thing is that Reichert clearly does not understand the very Constitution he swore to uphold.  Impeachment does NOT require that the President break any laws -- the "high crimes" referred to is an 18th c. rhetorical fluorish that means extraordinary political wrong-doing, including defying the will of Congress or acting against the US national interest.  One does not need to be a lawyer to make this assessment -- otherwise the Constitution would require that a J.D. be a requirement to be a member of Congress!  It is Congress who votes on impeachment, not lawyers. Reichert's "answer" was a non sequiter.

Reichert spent 80% of his time talking about being Sheriff, in what was allegedly a talk about Iraq.  Perhaps his fixation on his own past blinds him to understanding the present.  "High crimes" is a political judgement -- e.g., Lindorff and Olshansky argue that Bush's "biggest crime is a deliberate campaign of inaction and active obstruction in the face of a clear need for the United States to act decisively to stop or slow catastrophic climate change" (in The Case for Impeachment).  That's not a legal question.  

When the US Constitution was being ratified, impeachment was promoted (at state ratification conventions) as a tool for Congress to rein in any officeholder who "dares to abuse the power vested in him by the people." This is not a legal question.  It is a political judgment.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, appointed by none other than George Washington, stated that "giving false information to the Senate" was the sort of act "of great injury to the community" that warranted impeachment.  This is not a legal question.  

James Madison, the very father of the Constitution, made clear to the first Congress that "wanton removal of meritorious officers" [as in the Attorneys General who were fired for not being partisan enough?] would subject an official to impeachment.  This is not a legal question.  

Bruce Fein, the Republican who wrote the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, recently said:  "Bush's crimes are [...] more worrisome than Clinton's [...] because he is seeking more institutionally to cripple checks and balances and the authority of Congress and the judiciary to superintend his assertions of power. He has claimed the authority to tell Congress they don't have any right to know what he's doing with relation to spying on American citizens, using that information in any way that he wants in contradiction to a federal statute called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He's claimed authority to say he can kidnap people, throw them into dungeons abroad, dump them out into Siberia without any political or legal accountability. These are standards that are totally anathema to a democratic society devoted to the rule of law."  Again, these are political judgments, not legal ones.

Reichert doesn't need a lawyer to tell him that Bush should be impeached.  He needs to understand his own job.  

by Bystander on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 04:42:35 PM PST

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