Thursday, June 30, 2005

The significance of impeachment

Think Progress thinks it is significant that 42 percent of those polled would approve of impeachment for a president who lied us into war:

A newly-released Zogby poll indicates that 42 percent of voters say that “if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment.”

That is a stunningly high number when you consider that only 41 percent of the American public supported Congress proceeding with impeachment hearings against President Clinton in late September 1998. This was after President Clinton’s grand jury testimony was made public and just before the House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution recommending an impeachment inquiry.

I respectfully disagree with Think Progress on the significance of this result. First of all, the question asked was not whether Bush should be impeached but whether he should be impeached if he is found to have lied us into war.

But, even more important, I find it astounding that fully 58% of those polled aren't sure whether a president who lies us into war should be impeached. Admittedly, given the context of the question, most Republicans are going to side with Bush and most Democrats are going to side against Bush. But the numbers suggest that a significant number of independents are comfortable with the idea of a president who lies about the reasons for going to war.

That's not something to cheer about.

What is significant, however, is that things have gone far enough that Zogby decided to poll on the question. The impeachment meme has gone mainstream.


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