Sean Hannity in his showdown with Rocky used so many of the tactics typical to right-wing defenders that I can hardly help but using it as a springboard for addressing issues related to those tactics.
One of his efforts to parry the actual topic of the debate (should President Bush be impeached) was to raise the question whether or not various high-profile Democrats who had initially supported the War in Iraq should themselves be impeached. This point is considered by some (such as this blogger) to be one of the high points in Hannity’s presentation, and the question has been taken up by other bloggers (such as this one).
For those who felt that Rocky’s response was unsatisfactory, I’ll give it a shot.
Congress was not responsible for the use of torture, rendition, suspension of habeas corpus, or unauthorized and illegal wiretaps which Rocky and other liberals (including myself) consider part of the case for the impeachment of President Bush. The President’s administration alone should pay for those crimes.
The one crime for which Congress must share blame is the War on Iraq. Though some brave souls did dissent (Representatives and Senators), the majority in Congress—Democrat and Republican—aided and abetted this administration in entering the U.S. into a war under false pretenses. Some of our legislatures were complicit out of honest fear, sincerely caught up in the paranoia of the time. Others supported the war out of political expediency. Either way, they willingly allowed themselves to be deceived as to the threat Hussein posed. There was abundant evidence disproving the administration’s claims, evidence which concerned citizens like myself were able to find, and which should have been much more available to those with the resources of Congress. But they chose to ignore that evidence. They did indeed become accomplices to the administration in the War on Iraq.
Hannity is incorrect in his assertion that Liberals hold a double-standard, unwilling to criticize “our friends” in the Democratic Party. I myself have frequently denounced the craven complicity of many national Democrats in allowing this administration to abuse its power and pursue destructive policies. I have called for we liberals to unite to pressure the Democratic party to be more diligent in standing for our liberal values. From the time that the Democrats began to gain momentum in the last year or so, I insisted that we should hold their feet to the fire and make them answer for colluding in this disastrous and unethical war.
I can’t speak for Rocky, but I can guarantee that he is no a “friend” of the party establishment. Just ask Jim Matheson. Or consider the fact that Rocky not only attended the 2000 Los Angeles Shadow Convention, an alternative convention for those dissatisfied with the mainstream of the Democratic Party, but gave an address. He is as ready to criticize Democrats when he feels they have betrayed their principles as he is Republicans.
But while I am eager for Democrats to be held accountable for their misdeeds, I have no interest in calling for their impeachment. First of all, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, et al, are not my elected officials. They are accountable to their constituents in Massachusetts, New York, and so forth. I’m concerned with taking action against those who represent me: Hatch, Bennett, Bishop, and President Bush, whose constituency is the entire nation.
But more importantly, we need to recognize the relative nature of the responsibility among the various parties. Yes, the members of Congress aided and abetted this administration in their plans. They allowed themselves to be deceived by the fraudulent justifications for war. But this administration is responsible for that deception of Congress. They plotted to undertake this war virtually from the first day in office. They were determined to fix the evidence in order to connect it to Hussein, pressuring Richard Clark and the CIA to manipulate data to suit the administration’s agenda. They presented misleading testimony to the U.N. Security Council. And when their efforts came to fruition, it was the administration who neglected to adequately prepare for the occupation.
Many prominent Democrats jumped on the bandwagon, and need to answer for that. But it was the Bush administration which hitched up the horses and drove the wagon down this ugly road. The greatest responsibility for the disgraceful affair is theirs to shoulder. From them we should expect the highest price as well.