37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
An Unimpeachable Source
, September 10, 2007
This review is from: The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism (Paperback)
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.
Most importantly, Nichols tells us that our obligation is to a nation and its constitution, not to a man, a political party, or a policy, that impeachment is the sole device we have to check the excesses of an executive, that even the threat of impeachment in the past has reigned in presidents who forgot or sought to stretch their constitutional limits. He refers to all nine presidents who were considered for impeachment charges. (That's right--nine!) He chastises democrats who espouse to the popular and inaccurate notion that criticizing the president about Iraq will make them appear weak on national security.
The biggest skeptics of wartime presidents and promoters of the impeachment threat were, according to the author, republicans for whom he heaps praise and accolades. Congressman Abraham Lincoln, challenged President Polk for sending troops into Mexico and occupying it. Theodore Roosevelt challenged Woodrow Wilson when he targeted the censorship, arrest, and deportation of his critics: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Dwight Eisenhower stated: "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted." The author also quotes a broad list of republican senators and congressmen of a bygone era.
What would today's republicans have said about such criticism?
With all this background and information, it is obvious what Nichols is leading up to--the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney for which our grievances are legion. He illustrates a number of instances in town halls and state legislatures where people are already drawing up petitions and articles of impeachment against them.
The bonus to this book is a thorough appendix of how our impeachment process works in congress, and organizations and websites that are involved in impeachment activism and issues.
It has become cliché to read that "every American must read this book," but this author provides not only an understanding of the impeachment process, but also what our founding fathers wanted, and how they envisioned its use. It makes this an essential read to give us a better understanding of our constitution and our civic obligations.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, "Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly."
Where does your loyalty lie?
09 11 07 Lest we forget!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?