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The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism [Kindle Edition]

John Nichols
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This surprising and irreverent book by one of America’s leading political reporters makes the case that impeachment is much more than a legal and congressional process—it is an essential instrument of America’s democratic system. Articles of impeachment have been brought sixty-two times in American history. Thomas Jefferson himself forwarded the evidence for impeachment of the first federal official to be removed under the process—John Pickering in 1803. Impeachment is as American as apple pie.

The founders designed impeachment as one of the checks against executive power. As John Nichols reveals in this fascinating look at impeachment’s hidden history, impeachment movements—in addition to congressional proceedings themselves—have played an important role in countering an out-of-control executive branch. The threat of impeachment has worked to temper presidential excesses and to reassert democratic values in times of national drift.

The Genius of Impeachment also makes clear that we sorely need such a movement today, and that both the president and vice president deserve impeachment. In the spirit of maverick congressmember Henry B. Gonzalez, who introduced articles of impeachment against both George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan for making war without a declaration, this book is a fearless call to Americans to hold our leaders accountable to democracy.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Arguing that regular elections are an insufficient democratic guardian against corrupt officeholders, Nichols, a writer for the liberal journal the Nation, exhorts his readers to support an impeachment of President George Bush. The impediment, as Nichols assesses current affairs, is not doubt that Bush (and British Prime Minister Tony Blair) by invading Iraq deserves this constitutional ejection from office but the wariness of politicians on the Left to consider the procedure. Nichols rejects the view that impeachment is unrealistic in the course of surveying the history of the impeachment power, citing cases from England, commentaries about the U.S. Constitution, and the impeachment proceedings against Nixon. As if to deflect a charge of partisanship, Nichols extols Republicans who demanded Truman's impeachment, as well as Nixon's. And to mobilize the anti-Bush grassroots, Nichols lauds impeachment activists in Vermont and Wisconsin. Substantively slight on constitutional analysis of the war power, this work relies on its power-to-the-people persona for its appeal, which may extend past the moment should Democratic victory in the November elections augment the author's advocacy. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

John Nichols is The Nation's Washington correspondent and an editor at the Capital Times. He is the author of The Rise and Rise of Richard B. Cheney and Jews for Buchanan. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1013 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (May 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0053GO944
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,671,341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unimpeachable Source September 10, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When you take forever to read a book just over two hundred pages, you know you are reading a great book. When you take the time to highlight endless paragraphs and read them over and over again just to savor them, you know you are reading a profound book. It is not fiction; it is reality, and it is the story of impeachment from its creation in English law through its application under the Constitution of the United States. That is "The Genius of Impeachment," and that is the genius of this book.

A confirmed liberal who writes for the "The Nation," author, John Nichols takes the gloves off with liberals and conservatives alike castigating Nancy Pelosi who declared that impeachment of George Bush was "off the table." He accuses Ms. Pelosi of misusing impeachment as a political strategy rather than constitutional check, as did the republicans who used it to get Bill Clinton in a way they couldn't get him at the ballot box. He is angry with republicans for attempting to impeach Bill Clinton for the wrong reasons!

He challenges the perception that amongst politicians and some Americans that impeachment is the "third rail" of American politics citing example after example of republicans who supported impeachment against Richard Nixon being returned to political office while those who stood by him were defeated. He shows that even though Americans may be apathetic at the ballot box, their civic participation increases exponentially during serious discussions of impeachment.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for all members of Congress January 15, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not just about impeaching Bush. This book outlines the history of impeachment from England though modern US. Discusses why our founding fathers gave us the power to prevent abuse of power. The founding fathers understood the need to maintain a balance of power which our Congress has failed to do over time (both Democrats and Republicans) and we now have a President that behaves like a king and locks up people, tortures and generaly disregards the law of the land when it gets in his way.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, balanced, and timely May 22, 2007
Format:Paperback
Informative and reasonably balanced discussion of impeachment that combines an historical review of impeachment in the American and British contexts with coverage of the movement to impeach G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney. While the author is upfront about advocating for immediate impeachment proceedings against Bush and other members of his administration, the author repeatedly stresses that the point of his argument (and the purpose of his book) is to restore impeachment to its proper status as a legitimate constitutional tool for placing checks on the executive branch of government. A good deal of effort is made to present a balanced view: "Old Right" Republicans are lauded as often (or more often, actually) than any liberal Democrats, and while the Bill Clinton impeachment is presented as having been largely motivated by all the wrong partisan reasons (thus explaining its failure), Nichols does point out that legitimate, non-partisan reasons for impeaching Clinton could have been found. In short, a fairly good introduction to the constitutional concept of impeachment and its uses throughout history, including some of the causes for current congressional leaders' apparent aversion to initiating impeachment proceedings. The two-page forward by Gore Vidal is remarkable for its concise power.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeachment Then and Now May 12, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best treatment of impeachment for the ordinary reader. Nichols places the case for impeaching Pres. George W. Bush in historical context, showing that impeachment is the political tool intended by the framers of the Constitution to reign in an out-of-control executive. Furthermore, Nichols shows by historical example that impeachment is effective even if it ultimately fails to remove an intended target from office. This is "must reading" for all citizens who are unhappy with Pres. Bush's mishandling of foreign affairs and his flouting of the laws that he swore to uphold.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rational Bi-Partisan Argument of Bush's Impeachment July 18, 2007
Format:Paperback
For a book that explains the constitutions reasons why both Bush and Clinton should have been impeached on...this is amazing. The people and congress need to realize that the call for impeachment is in every party's benefit! Do the Republicans want Hillary Clinton to become president with all the new powers Bush has given the president? Nooo he wouldn't! And even as a democrat I don't want ANY president to have this much power!!! Impeachment is for us to keep tyrants in check... or just people who have abused their powers. The founders made sure we could take care of ourselves through history. No pay back...just protecting our country. It is MORE patriotic to support impeachment than it is NOT to! Read your constitution, bill of rights, and declaration of independence again. It is QUITE clear this kind of thinking is what the founders wanted! And you can't call the founding fathers unpatriotic. Though I have a feeling SOMEONE in this administration would find a way!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting polemic in favour of imnpeachment
John Nichols is an angry man. This punchy polemic packs in a great deal of arguments in favour of restoring the principle of impeachment to, what he believes, is its paramount... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sirin
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom
The wisdom of the Constitution for our time. Justice is the foundation of society. When justice fails so goes the empire. Read more
Published on December 5, 2010 by Jordy
5.0 out of 5 stars Why are our legislators so cowardly about impeachment?!!!
Little stuff first: typos bother me. Make 'em a lot myself, but there's no excuse in a book w/ multiple editors. To wit:

Page 130, line 9: "... Read more
Published on April 5, 2008 by W. Wilt
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read if you love this country.
This is a great book for obtaining information on impeachment and what our founding fathers meant when they clearly wrote in provisions for it. Read more
Published on September 14, 2007 by E. Coronella
5.0 out of 5 stars Nichols is a patriot who knows his history
Such a educational and entertaining read! This book really gave my a clue about what the founding fathers were trying to do when they created this American experiment. Read more
Published on May 11, 2007 by Leah A. Ditullio
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Insightful
A great read! One of the best books on impeachment I have ever read. If you are disheartened and disillusioned with the way this country is going, it is a MUST READ! Read more
Published on May 9, 2007 by Wakawaka34
1.0 out of 5 stars Get the pitch forks and the village idiots!!
Yet another sad display of current liberals trying to regain power at the highest level. I guess paybacks are a b***h for Republicans who opened up the can of "impeachment" worms... Read more
Published on April 2, 2007 by Timothy Woodall
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the power and need for impeachment
Author Nichols carefully and fully lays out the history of Impeachment from the founding of the Constitution and why it applies more so than ever today.
Published on January 18, 2007 by E. Orsborn
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