There was a hearing in Olympia yesterday on state Sen. Eric Oemig’s impeachment resolution, and the hearing room was packed with citizens seeking to testify in favor. One attendee has a firsthand account posted over on Daily Kos:
Today I was privileged to be one of about 200 citizens who went to our state Capitol to ask our legislators to defend the US Constitution by directing Congress to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The atmosphere was boisterous and enthusiastic, but respectful. We were there to testify at a Senate committee meeting and we comported ourselves accordingly. Unfortunately, a Republican member of the committee was not able to do likewise.
It should come as no surprise that the Republican member in question was none other than state Sen. Pam Roach, Auburn’s own gun-toting, do-nothing whackjob, who’s considered a bit of an embarrassment even by some of the craziest elements of her own caucus. (Seriously Pam… when even your fellow Republicans share eye-rolling stories with liberal bloggers like me, you might want to start reeling it in.)
TVW has the video, and you can view Sen. Roach’s outburst here, starting at about 28:10, when she sternly warns the crowd:
“I’m going to be filing an ethics complaint, because I believe that the topic of this hearing in an election year with this content, especially because this issue has been aired in the year 2007, is specifically using state property, state facilities for campaign purposes.”
To which the audience laughs in derision. The committee chair, Sen. Darlene Fairley, attempts to restore order, but Sen. Roach wasn’t finished. As the next panel is assembling, Sen. Roach interrupts again, pulling out a photo of her son, Air Force Capt. John Adams Roach (not to be confused with Stephen, her gun-toting, drug-dealing son,) and angrily chastises the audience: “What you are doing is a disgrace!”
As Sen. Roach stands up waving the photo and yelling at the audience in mock anger, the crowd erupts, despite Sen. Fairley’s calm explanation that “She’s doing this for TVW, so let’s just let her do it.”
So what exactly did the panelists say that so offended Sen. Roach? Well, it’s interesting to note that while she starts her grandstanding at 28:10, the senator didn’t actually arrive in the hearing room until after 24:50, sometime during the three minute statement of Linda Boyd of Washington For Impeachment. So if Sen. Roach was genuinely responding to any of the comments made during the hearing, it would have been those of Boyd.
I’ve transcribed part of Boyd’s testimony below, but I urge you to view the TVW video to judge her “disgraceful” comments for yourself, especially those moments where Boyd’s voice cracks with emotion in describing her reverence for the Constitution and the rule of law.
“Without our Constitution we have nothing, and it threatens to make our entire government illegitimate, and I do not say this lightly — I cannot believe that these words are coming out of my mouth, that our government is illegitimate, and does not answer to the people.
Impeachment was promised to us by the founders as a way to restore integrity and to restore the power of the people in their government. Articles of impeachment introduced by Dennis Kucinich, have been waiting in the Judiciary Committee in the House, but the bill is stuck in committee. We have turned to you to magnify our voices, to bring Congress to do their job. This is a traditional role of the state Legislature; Jefferson’s Rules 602 through 604 guaranteed the right of legislatures to call on Congress to do their job.
We have a beautiful vision in this country — impeachment is not a mere act of castigation, it is to preserve the beauty of our document of our initiation of the ideas that connect the people of this country. The price of not impeaching is very high. The eyes of the world are upon us; let them know that the senators of Washington State understand that politics here is not just a game of winning the next election, politics are the lives of the people.”
It is to this fervent plea that Sen. Roach responds with nothing less than naked political grandstanding. She doesn’t even display the courtesy of sticking around for Sen. Oemig’s closing statement: at 34:40, less than ten minutes after arriving, Sen. Roach gets up and leaves, remaining absent for the hearings on the following bills as well. (Watch the video; Roach’s seat is empty for almost the entire hearing.) That’s the kind of thoughtful, dedicated public service we’ve all come to expect from Sen. Roach.
Sen. Roach threatens to file an ethics complaint charging that hearing the impeachment bill — giving the citizens of our state the opportunity to give public testimony for or against — is somehow an abuse of state facilities for campaign purposes… and I sure hope she does. For the only person I saw campaigning in that hearing room yesterday was Sen. Roach, and if she files her ethics complaint I intend to file mine, charging her with abusing the ethics complaint process for political purposes.