Which of the following is an impeachable offense for a United States President?:
- Spending most of your presidency under the influence of mind-altering chemicals.
- Using various government agencies to eavesdrop/investigate political enemies (take your pick).
- Privately negotiating with an enemy nation to keep American hostages in captivity until after you are elected.
- Selling weapons to an enemy nation and using the proceeds to fund the former forces of a dictator to oppose the elected government that deposed him.
- Being unable to remember that you sold weapons to an enemy nation and used the proceeds to fund the former forces of a dictator to oppose the elected government that deposed him.
- Abandoning allies after they defeated your sworn enemy, then ignoring them as they build a regime that ultimately attacks the US.
- Allowing a satellite owned by a political contributer to be launched by a foreign power.
- Lying to congress about an extramarital blowjob.
- Lying to congress about the reasons for taking the country to war.
(Extra credit for Ann Coulter: which of the above are treasonous?)
Clearly #8 is the correct answer, as it actually happened. I think everything else on the list is monumentally more severe, however. Item #9 became more topical a few weeks ago, when Bush held an interview that gave the distinct impression that a) he would have invaded Iraq anyway and b) he was not interested in invading Iran, a country that arguably is trying to develop WMDs. Some have taken this as a concrete admission that he lied about why we are at war, though it’s pretty clear the administration has been backpedaling on the reasons for war for some time.
While there will be some easily forgotten furor from the left about this, it won’t turn out to be nearly the uprising that it probably should be and some really foaming voices on the left will wonder why, genuinely baffled that the public isn’t furious for being duped.
I think the reason the public won’t be furious is that none of them were really that misled. Take you, for example: did you honestly, truly, deep-down believe that Saddam Hussein was rapidly preparing nukes, chemical and germ weapons to the extent that attacks with them against the US were a
imminent threat clear and present danger? I didn’t. I don’t know anyone who did. I don’t know anyone who thought that the “WMD rationale” was anything other than a pretext.
Basically, the public gave Bush a pass on lying to us, just like we seem to always do with our leaders. I suspect we won’t be so forgiving about the lie that more executive power is needed to make us safe, but more on that later.