This column was written by Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
The other night, Pat Buchanan said on Scarborough Country's segment about "The Politics of Impeachment" that my views on the subject are irrelevant.
I suggest Pat check out a little known book, "Everything I Needed to Know About the Constitution I Learned in Third Grade." He might rediscover some basic American tenets such as a system of checks and balances, loyalty to the Constitution and shared power and accountability between three branches of government.
It's the shredding of these ideals that has led to growing, mainstream support for discussing the impeachment of Mr. Bush: conservative business magazine, Barron's...John Dean...leading constitutional scholars...former intelligence officers…even some Republicans...and the 53 percent of Americans who said in November that Bush should be impeached if it is found that he lied about the basis for invading Iraq.
During the segment, high webstress Arianna Huffington suggested that Democrats should focus on ending the disastrous war in Iraq — an issue that is building new (and productive) alliances between the left and right — rather than focusing energy on an impeachment drive.
While I agree that Democrats need to expose how this Administration has made us less safe through a messianic and hyper-militarized foreign-policy, I also agree with Elizabeth Holtzman, who made a strong point drawn from her January cover story in The Nation: Our greatest imperative is to preserve our democracy.
So when impeachment is the right thing to do, citizens and leaders must begin building that case — because it won't happen overnight. And there is no reason that laying out Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors — as well as the need to end the war and strengthen our security &$151 should be mutually exclusive.
In the meantime, Pat Buchanan should visit his local elementary school and brush up on our Constitution. And while he's doing that, how about the rest of us contemplate the basic American values that Bush & Co. have apparently unlearned since their own school days.
By Katrina Vanden Heuvel
Reprinted with permission from The Nation