Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

July 18, 2007

James Madison on Impeachment

Filed under: history, politics, protest — codesmithy @ 10:25 am

As a note from history, the prospect of the president abusing his pardoning power was brought up during the framing of the constitution.

In the same convention George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to “pardon crimes which were advised by himself” or, before indictment or conviction, “to stop inquiry and prevent detection.” James Madison responded:

[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty…

I don’t see the spiritual difference between preventive pardoning and obstruction of justice followed by commutation, since they are both quid pro quo’s for protection. This president has passed the bar for impeachment long ago. If we don’t impeach now, then that part of constitution is effectively dead, just like our copyright laws. There will always be some reason, not to impeach the president, at least not over something as important as war, civil liberties, the fundamental function of our democracy, and governmental transparency. Have at the president, if he has a personal failing and later lies about.

I don’t mean to Godwin the post, but here is what Adolph Hitler had to say about the matter of big lies and small. This isn’t meant to compare Bush with Hitler, but rather give some insight into lies and the government, which I think we can all agree Hitler was an expert at lying to people.  The war in this case being the big lie, versus a more relatable lie of infidelity.

Hitler went further. He explained in Mein Kampf that it really was more worthwhile to tell big lies rather than small ones:

in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously…

The true test of a democracy and a people is its ability to recognize men of this ilk and ultimately to oust them. It takes a lot of mental wrangling to overcome the cognitive dissonance, trust of authority, and ingrained assumptions. It is important to look for neutral opinions in the world, and see what they have to say about the situation.

Don’t think for a second, that this administration is in its last throes. Or that it is lame-duck. If they do nothing in Iran, we luck out. But is that really a chance that we want to take? The war plan for Iran has been on the back burner for years. Honestly, we could militarily defeat Iranian government in a matter of months, we’d just be locked down in an insurgency like we’ve been in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, I ask you to think through the scenario from a disinterested perspective.  American people get sick of the war, and don’t care if democracy is brought into the region, they just want out. U.S.A. withdraws. A power vacuum arises, but the government supports, through the covert CIA operations, a couple of puppet regimes in the region and gain access to the oil for our corporations (like we did with the Shah). Democrats will initially win some seats, but with potential political repercussions from these foreign operations (terrorism), people will demand tough action, and are likely to elect tougher Republicans to protect them.  At that point, four to eight years down the road, people will consider Bush to be an aberration or our first great protector (aka I guess we really should have stayed the course, because now we are fighting them over here instead of fighting them over there). No view will have to dominate, and both will probably exist. However, there are reasons why Guiliani and Romney are talking about expanding on policies already in place by Bush. The only candidate on the Republican side speaking against it is Ron Paul, and he seems to be the only one on the Republican side actually enlightened about the foreign policy issues. But in this disinterested view, invading Iran is not completely irrational from a certain stand-point. Morally corrupt, yes. Irrational, no.

In closing, I will reiterate the three points. One, a founding father says Libby commutation is grounds for impeachment, not doing so is a dereliction of duty. Two, this administration still has plenty of time to do a lot of damage.  Three, an invasion of Iran is not as far-fetched as might be initially believed, both from a foreign-policy perspective or a domestic one.

Serious Protest


  1. […] The phrase “other high crime and misdemeanors” is not meant to imply egregious criminal offenses. A high crime in this context means a crime against the state related to office. This intent is clear from discussions on the subject by framers such as James Madison, as I have covered before. […]

    Pingback by An Utter Contempt For Democracy « Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind — February 2, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

  2. […] his agents broke the law. Bush already commuted the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby. It was the recommendation of James Madison that any President caught using his power in such a fashi…. Dennis Kucinich presented 34 other articles which can be read in summary here. So it is worth […]

    Pingback by The Disquieting Keith Olbermann « Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind — June 16, 2008 @ 8:09 am

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