Monday, January 29, 2007

New Mexico Resolution Hits CNN and The Nation

Impeachment: The Order of Peace
New Mexico Resolution Hits CNN and The Nation
by Leland Lehrman

CNN's Jack Cafferty picked up the New Mexico Impeachment Press Conference and gave a balanced summary and analysis of the situation. John Nichols of The Nation reported on the subject; here are the relevant excerpts:

"Prior to CNN personality Wolf Blitzer's testy-if-not-particularly substantive interview with the vice president..., the network's resident rabble rouser, commentator Jack Cafferty, presented a reasonably favorable feature on a move by New Mexico state Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, and John Grubesic, D-Santa Fe, to get that state's legislature to petition Congress to impeach both Cheney and Bush. The New Mexico impeachment initiative, one of several currently moving forward in state legislatures around the country, is designed to force members of Congress to take seriously the increasingly-popular demand that the president and vice president be held to account for misleading Congress over the Iraq war, supporting torture, engaging in illegal spying on U.S. citizens and using their offices to punish critics. "I am an American citizen that believes that the Constitution is a sacred document and that the Bush administration clearly does not share this sentiment," explains Grubesic, while Ortiz y Pino says, "We're simply doing what all elected officials should be doing. That is, listening to the voice of the people and trying to carry it out as best we can."

"Most of the media and the political class has been inclined to neglect -- or in some cases ridicule -- efforts by state legislators to move the impeachment process along. But U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, a Democrat who represents much of New Mexico, expressed respect for the initiative. "These legislators speak for many of my constituents," explains Udall, who says he plans to talk with supporters of the impeachment resolution and closely monitor its progress.

Cafferty was similarly respectful. "[Although] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is quote, 'off the table' not everybody is so sure about that," explained Cafferty. "Two New Mexico state senators have introduced a resolution calling on Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The measure accuses Mr. Bush and Cheney of misleading Congress about the war in Iraq, torturing prisoners and violating Americans' civil liberties through the domestic spy program. One of the sponsors told a crowd of supporters 'We created a ripple. Your voice is going to turn it into a tidal wave hopefully.' Well the way it works is that a state of course, cannot mandate impeachment of a president but the impeachment charges can be forwarded to the House of Representatives. The newspaper in Santa Fe, 'The New Mexican' reports the measure already is running into trouble even though Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature, and that's because no Republicans support it. Senate leaders have assigned it to three different committee hearings, meaning that there are more chances to kill the measure before it ever makes it to a vote. But the fact that the issue of impeaching a sitting president is being discussed seriously in a state legislature like New Mexico's speaks volumes."

I spoke with Senator Linda Lopez, the Chair of Rules about the date of the Committee Hearing at which Citizens may speak to the Senators on the topic. Linda has already signed the resolution, so thank her for that when you call. Since the Rules Committee lacks a Democratic member - until the Governor appoints a replacement for Navajo Senator Leonard Tsosie hopefully today or tomorrow - Senator Lopez indicated that the hearing will be next week. She noted the many supportive phone calls and was entirely understanding. You can speak with Senator Lopez or her Committee Secretary Laine or her analyst Matt Baca by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (505) 986-4300 and asking for Senator Linda Lopez.

We are still looking for a House Sponsor, so keep calls into your Representatives, and ask them to sponsor or sign. We may have a sponsor, but the negotiations are ongoing and sensitive so I can't discuss it further at this point. Two representatives have said they would sign the bill, but we still need a sponsor to carry it in committee and on the floor. If your Representative might do that, please call them immediately and ask them to do so.

Although it is essential for both Executives to be impeached, a recent discussion with David Swanson of reveals that although we may get them both removed from office, it is unlikely that Nancy Pelosi would be the next President, despite what some think. The more likely scenario is that the Vice-President resigns, the President appoints a new vice-president, the President is impeached and convicted and then the appointed Vice-President becomes President. In other words, this is not about picking a President, it's about high crimes and misdemeanors and the necessity of removal from office for those who subvert the Constitution and break the law.

Legal counsel has advised me to be specific about how to financially support the impeachment process for tax purposes. If you wish to financially support the New Mexico impeachment, the best way to do that is to either support this newsletter directly with an advertisement or supportive contribution, or to advertise in the Sun News, our print partner. You can use the paypal link below for credit cards, or send a check to Leland Lehrman, 163 Old Lamy Trail, Lamy, NM 87540. Politics takes time, and we need to make sure the home fires keep burning.

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