July 13th, 2007
05:50 PM ET
7 years ago

The “I” Word

Boxer said Wednesday impeachment should be on the table.

NEW YORK (CNN) - You might call it the "i" word, the one that just won't go away: impeachment.

On Wednesday, the I-word came up for California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer in an interview with talk radio’s Ed Schultz. When Schultz brought up the subject of impeachment, Boxer said “Look, I have always said it should be on the table” and called the Bush administration “as close as we've ever come to a dictatorship.”

Is impeachment really on the table? Democratic leaders say no and no.

Last November, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that even with Democrats winning control of Congress, “impeachment is off the table.” And her office reiterated that to CNN this week.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said, "It's not anything that Senator Reid could support, nor is it under consideration."

So if congressional leaders say impeachment proceedings will not happen under their watch, why bring it up?

CNN Political Editor Mark Preston says the rhetoric over impeachment is “red meat” meant to appease the Democratic base, which is frustrated with the war in Iraq. But talk is just talk, and political observers say that actually trying to impeach the president would be a bad move strategically. As Preston explains it, impeaching the president would actually hurt Democrats in their pursuit of the White House in 2008. “They would look partisan,” says Preston. “They would look petty.”

- CNN Producer Shirley Zilberstein

Filed under: Barbara Boxer
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. David B, Thousand Oaks, CA

    The only reason they think it would look "partisan" and "petty" as you say is because that's what you're stupid media companies report. It is a part of the constitution, there is nothing "petty" about it. It is about upholding the law. For anyone to take a part of the constitution off the table is disgraceful. What if she came out and said Freedom of Speech is off the table?

    Instead of wondering how it would look, maybe CNN should spend a few minutes analyzing the reasons for impeachment being brought. If you would do your job Americans would see there is nothing petty about investigating illegal spying on American Citizens, an illegal war approaching 4,000 Americans killed, and the outing of a covert CIA agent whos job was to look into nuclear proliferation. You know, those Weapons of Mass destruction that we were told were the reason for invading Iraq in the first place.

    July 14, 2007 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  2. Dan, Omaha, Nebraska

    Normally I don't like to add comments, but we are in nothing like a dictatorship. We may not agree with everything President Bush does, or you may think there are reasons for impeachment (which I don't think there are nor do I believe that Clinton should have been impeached), however trivializing the votes of millions of people is downright wrong.

    Dictators only leave office by death or complete political overthrow. Bush's presidency will likely end by term limits in 2009. So I ask people to not throw around those terms lightly. We need to feel lucky that we have a choice for who we have in office and even if our choice does not win.

    July 14, 2007 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  3. Iconoclast, Houston, TX

    To all you doubters, there are several valid rationales for impeachment. The democrats are just too cowardly to exercise them. Yes, Bush is out in 18 months, but he should still be held accountable for his crimes and malfeasance before then. Same goes for Cheney, et al. Failure to prosecute criminal acts is just as criminal.

    July 14, 2007 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  4. Ashen Shard, Chambersburg, PA

    Posted By Glenn,B’ham,Al : July 13, 2007 7:48 pm

    Congress never issued a declaration of war, all they did was give authorization to the administration, big difference. And they are doing their jobs, part of which is oversight. They have been trying to enact law, but either the Republicans filibuster, or Bush vetoes. Also, I think the lower approval rating of congress may actually reflect public frustration with republicans rather than the Democrats since the republicans have been so obstructionist that they have prevented any meaningful legislation.

    July 14, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  5. scott, Franklin NJ

    I guess getting our country into a war built on lies is petty. Tell that to the 3500 servicemans families who have lost children!

    July 14, 2007 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  6. philibuster

    'CNN Political Editor Mark Preston says the rhetoric over impeachment is “red meat” meant to appease the Democratic base, which is frustrated with the war in Iraq.'

    Way to be appeased, guys.

    July 14, 2007 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  7. MCD, San Francisco

    To those who are against impeachment... what happens when a dem becomes president? Are you going to be happy to have a dem running the country acting like a King?? Don't think short term... think about the long run. Don't think political party... think about the Constitution and the good of this country. Our president (and VP) have become too powerful... they ignore the rule of law... would you be happy if that was a dem? It is the DUTY of the Congress to investigate impeachment because the president is putting himself above the law. Impeachment does not necessarily mean he would leave office... he would be slaped down and told to stop acting like he is king.

    July 14, 2007 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  8. Matt, Kansas City, MO

    Bush nor Clinton did anything impeachable. Clinton's impeachment was the Republican controlled congress getting revenge for the Nixon Watergate mess, and if Bush is impeached it would be revenge for Clinton. Our leaders need to quit playing games, and actually lead the country. A president can't be impeached for being a bad leader. Also lets all remember that only one Congressmen voted against going to Iraq. Yeah they want out now, but they voted for it, so do we impeach everyone. Lastly if you think this is even close to a dictatorship, try living in a country where you would be hung for even thinking about blasting your supposed dictator.

    July 14, 2007 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  9. Anonymous

    By the way the president is elected by an electoral college, and not the people. Congress is elected by the people. Also the people do not decide if the president is impeached, Congress does. Also Bush did not oust Plame. Yeah someone in his administration did, but he didn't. Some deocrats need to get over the 2000 election.

    July 14, 2007 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  10. Jim, Scranton PA

    Why can't we focus on getting our troops out of Iraq first? Besides, if you impeach Bush you should impeach most of congress for being derelict in their duties by allowing Bush to illegally start the war.

    July 14, 2007 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  11. Craig, Springfield, Virginia

    Everything should be on the table, it's in their job contract – the Constitution. If they do not follow their oath to protect our most sacred document and way of life, they are certainly not worthy of the jobs they hold. Reid and Pelosi may need to be replaced himself if he is unwilling to consider all options open to the legislative branch. Personally I'd suggest that Cheney definately deserves impeachment hearings, he runs the palace anyhow.

    July 14, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  12. Dale Saginaw, MI

    Darn, she's talking about Bush. I was hoping that we were talking about her own impeachment!

    July 14, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Dennis, Bronx Ny

    i find it funny that those opposed to impeachment can't open their eyes to the crimes this presidnet has commited against all of us? our troops are being killed because of lies, wake up people this isnt a reality TV show. and this country isn't any safer now that we are on the "offensive", we have opened ourselves to be more of a target with this president and his failed policies.

    July 14, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Daniel, Richmond, VA

    Pressure, negotiate, impeach. George Bush and his entire administration are tr aitors and should be dealt with as such.

    July 14, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Terre, Chicago, IL

    The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ‘something to do’ with 9/11, is “lying by implication.”

    The impolite phrase is: "impeachable offense."

    July 14, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. cliff jones

    Bush more popular than Congress? I find that laughable unless of course you mean the Republican half of Congress then I think it might be a toss up.

    July 14, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Ann Brunswick ME

    Barbara Boxer, 65 years old. On medication? Brain cells all clicking in unison? Would she be allowed to fly a plane? Why is she flying American policy?

    July 14, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Sue Azia, Framingham, MA

    We need to impeach Cheney first or at the same time since he is the defacto president and is dong a terrible job. Should they be impeached – sure, With the help of the news media, they have made our government into an oligarchy and have deprived the American people of who they really voted for. We will pay for generations for this war and its harm. We were lied to not about sex but about something that really affected us and the consitution. Unfortunately, there is not enough time left for an impeachment. however the threat should be there so that they can go forward if Bush & cheney dont stop.

    July 14, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Liz, Houston, Tx

    Whatever happened to country over party?

    July 14, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Brad, Columbia, SC

    On the one hand I'm sure Democrats want to occupy the high ground by saying "we'd rather use our time to work on solutions than drag out impeachment hearings." On the other hand, I believe that the wrongdoings of this administration unqustionably amount to a greater breach of their sworn oaths than Clinton's sexcapades. Anyone who wishes to argue that point is being driven by blind partisan hypocrisy.

    But you know that the Democrats don't want to be viewed as being merely vindictive (even though their case would be solid).

    And of course Pelosi, right or wrong, doesn't want to incite further conservative "outrage" by stating - legitimately, if you ask me - that both Bush AND Cheney should be impeached... because she's next in line!

    July 14, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Linda, Newtown, PA

    PETTY!! "They would look petty."

    So what! These admin. gangsters should be impeached and serving time.

    After turning this country's good will into hatred around the world; wasting BILLIONS of American dollars, to say nothing of the thousands killed and even more horrificily wounded – this is PETTY? I don't think so. I've already e-mailed my two senators and my representative that impeachment proceedings should begin NOW!

    July 14, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Alicia, Fort

    As an American citizen and voter, I say "Impeachment Yes, Impeachment Now!"

    July 14, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. NS, New York

    Folks, until there are 67 Senators willing to convict, any impeachment proceeding would be a futile waste of time and the colossal failure. At least 16 Republican Senators would have to be willing to join with Democrats- and that ain't going to happen. All an impeachment try would do, besides tying the country in knots, is hand Bush an easy victory- something he hasn't had in quite a while. IMHO he is guilty of both war crimes and criminal negligence, but let's face reality and not waste effort on what has no chance of success (would that Bush had followed that advice too)

    And to Liz in Houston- your question should be asked of all the Republican legislators, who instead of exercising their constitutional oversight responsibilities, blindly allowed a reckless incompetent free rein solely because he was from their party

    July 15, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. snaber1959 Rockford,Il


    July 15, 2007 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  25. Mike Green Sylva NC

    The Bush Administration will go down in history as one of the most dishonest of all times. If we think that its record is bad now, wait until President Bush leaves office and the real "dirt" comes to the surface. We should not, however, look to impeachment. There is not time for this process to be concluded prior to 2008. We should instead look to resolve issues that can be resolved in the next 12 months. The primary issue is the war. I hear opinions daly that point out what a mess Iraq and the entire Middle East will be should we leave at this time. My question is when will be the right time, 1 year, 2 years? There will never be a good time! We are losing American lives daily and spending 12 billion a month fighting a war that can not be won...a war that America agreed to fight based on lies and deception. Was Iraq better off under Sadam...no. But America was better off prior to the war and that is the real issue. The war was not about WMD or terrorist elements. It was pure and simple imperialism with one key element...oil. NO, impeachment is not the answer...holding the President accountable and demanding he resolve the war issue as well as other issues is the answer. We do not have time for months of hearings in congress while American blood is being spilled in the sands of Arabia! Congress needs to get together and demand a deadline (thats right a deadline) for troop redeployment. We will need to leave a small number of troops, out of reach of the current civil war, to fight Al Qaeda and monitor Iran. Bottom line...we must hold the President responsible for this tragedy. Get ready for the "dirt". It will be shocking and will make Richard Nixon look like a saint in comparison. Impeachment is not the answer. We are in another Vietnam and cannot go another 6 years before we come to the same conclusion. Mr Bush....please save America blood and end this nightmare you created now!!!

    July 15, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
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