According to the American Research Group, 54% of Americans want impeachment proceedings brought against Dick Cheney, which 45% of them want impeachment proceedings against Bush. While it’s nice to see a clear majority of Dems in favour of impeachment (76% for Cheney, 69% for Bush) it’s reassuring to see that Independents favour impeachment of both of them (51/50 in favour, 29/30 opposed, 20% undecided). Looking at people who have made up their minds, there appears to be a large groundswell for impeachment among Independents.
Impeachment is, as Digby pointed out, a nuclear option. And the problem is that the options are bad and worse. If Bush is impeached (and convicted), then Cheney becomes president, which seems even worse. Of course, since Cheney is de facto president already, it may not be that big a change. Impeaching (and convicting) Cheney first is probably a more appealing scenario. The only problem with impeachment is that you then end up with an incumbent president or vice president who can run again – that it’s never good to run against an incumbent. I think that’s probably that reason why the Dem leadership is against impeachment – Bush in office makes a Dem victory in 2008 all the more likely. I see the strategic reasoning, I just don’t agree with it. Too much damage is being done now. The national interest should beat out political calculations.
Update: I missed this by Dave Lindorff (also at Democrats.com)
Impeachment is not about conviction and removal in the Senate. Impeachment is a stand-alone action of the House of Representatives, and requires a simple majority.
Under the Constitution, there is no obligation for the Senate to even hold a trial after someone is impeached. It is an option, which is up to the will of the Senate.
When the Founding Fathers drew up the impeachment clause, they envisioned it as its own punishment. Trial and removal were seen as a wholly separate process, in addition to impeachment.