When you’re the
419th 401st most powerful member of the House of Representatives, chances at the national limelight are few and far between. You must carefully weigh which, of the many pressing issues facing the body politic, you can expend your limited political capital advocating for. You don’t get many chances to shine; you gotta make ‘em count.
So it’s sorta fascinating, in a gruesome car wreck kind of way, to see Rep. Dave Reichert (“Conscience Driven Independent™”-WA) in the pages of The Hill’s Congress Blog on Friday, taking a bold stance against the impeachment of President Bush:
As one of the nine Republicans crossing party lines yesterday on the vote moving Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment resolution to the Judiciary Committee, I cast my vote not to hold hearings, but to move the bill off the House Floor so the House could focus on more important issues….
There are less than 30 legislative days left in the Congressional calendar. And this is what we are voting on? No wonder the country has lost faith in Congress. There are so many things that we need to take action on and impeachment votes that are guaranteed not to pass is not one of them.
Now, it’s pretty hard to argue with the assertion that members of the House of Representatives should, you know, do stuff. Although a reasonable observer might add that, with fewer than 30 legislative days left in his fourth year of Congressional service, Sheriff Dave has thus selected as good a time as any to start. Had he actually started to do anything.
Plus, to be sure, no matter how many high crimes and misdemeanors the Bush cabal has committed — and they are undoubtably legion — genuine impeachment, based on a full accounting of those crimes, at this point isn’t even physically possible; Republicans and Democrats alike have so run the clock out on Bush’s second term without mounting any sort of serious investigation of their crimes that at this point none could be conducted in time. Politically, it’s preposterous to think it could or would happen anyway. Neither party’s leadership is interested in turning over that rock.
So why is Reichert wasting his time writing about it?
More to the point, why is Reichert wasting his miniscule influence defending a widely reviled administration he’s supposed to be independent of? (Except for fundraisers.) (And his voting record.) And why does he think it’s a waste of time to investigate some of the crimes that have helped create those crises (illegal wars, soaring energy costs, an economy crippled by deregulated and corrupt financial dealings) he’s failed to help address for four years?
And if crimes leading to multiple crises crippling the country aren’t worth tying up the House’s time, why did his party think impeachment over lying about a blow job was worth bringing Congress to a full stop for over a year?
You’d almost think Reichert was using a meaningless vote to try to score exactly the sort of cheap political points he was allegedly deploring, on behalf of an administration he is allegedly independent of. But then, that’s exactly the sort of expediency-driven political hackery we’ve come to expect from the Seattle Times’ favorite “moderate.”