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Buchanan's Subtle Hint at Impeachment


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Buchanan's Subtle Hint at Impeachment
Rick Gagliano | 9/01/05

Near the end of his August 29 editorial, entitled "A national emergency" on the failure of the Bush administration to halt illegal immigration, conservative columnist Patrick Buchanan suggested, "Some courageous Republican, to get the attention of this White House, should drop into the hopper a bill of impeachment, charging George W. Bush with a conscious refusal to uphold his oath and defend the states of the Union against 'invasion'."

Buchanan, at one time a presidential speech writer and at another a candidate for the office, can usually be seen exchanging barbs with the likes of Tony Blankley and Eleanor Clift on the PBS-syndicated show The McGlaughlin Group - a show that far too few Americans watch - and whose opinions appear regularly on the site which he founded, The American Cause, is no stranger to the topic of toppling presidents. The president he wrote speeches for was Nixon, and he is also a renowned student of history, and that is why his suggestion and timing are so intriguing.

Buchanan certainly is no flag-waving, neocon promoter of Bush doctrines. He has routinely criticized the President and his administration over policy ranging from Iraq to terrorism to immigration. This latest broadside from his endangered position on the conservative right not only gives him a unique perspective from which to launch into any political discourse, but the kind of credibility not usually enjoyed by critics of this particular administration.

The Bushites, a petulant group fond of making ad hominem attacks on any and all enemies, perceived or real, can't simply dismiss Buchanan as a crackpot, tin-hat type or even a leftist lunatic. As conservatives go, Mr. Buchanan might be described as just to the left of the legendary John Birch, a place skewed considerably to the political right.

It would be unfair to characterize the remarks in Buchanan's diatribe on immigration as anything but forthright and honest, but a part of me - and surely many others in the world of punditry and politics - might be inclined to begin reading between the lines.

The call for impeachment on grounds that President Bush has not protected the borders sufficiently to the requirement of his charge is probably not going to be taken seriously by many in Congress, and by even fewer in the American mainstream. The use of the word "impeachment" though, couched in an issue obscured by other more grandiose events and discussions, serves to raise the topic without raising any red flags.

Most of those opining openly to discharge the commander-in-chief of his powers and dislodge him from office cite reasons such as misleading the nation into war, dereliction of duty over 9/11, or stealing the 2004 election (or even the 2000 election!) as principal rationales. Buchanan, however, has crafted an argument that is compelling, a bit under the national radar, and to some degree right out of the neocon playbook. With it, he's called out the Republicans in Congress, questioning their manhood and/or integrity, starting with the fighting words, "Some courageous Republican..."

This is either a clarion call to take up arms against the sea of hogwash, lies and deception coming straight out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or a rejoinder to those on the right who are seemingly putting their party ahead of their country and their heads in the sand.

Buchanan has deftly done the nation a great service just by using the word "impeachment" in his column, but, he's been especially magnanimous towards the Democrats in Congress, because everyone on the Hill knows that impeachment proceedings, while venturing into the dark, gloomy underside of our government, will go absolutely nowhere without the firm backing of committed, steadfast people on both sides of the aisle.

He may have gone on a bit of a fishing expedition, but Buchanan has at least cast his line into the deep water where the big ones are.