Monday, July 09, 2007

Why Sheehan’s Impeachment Call Won’t Happen

Nancy Pelosi is about to discover that Republicans aren’t as dangerous as an angry mother. Cindy Sheehan has made a simple challenge to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives: If you don’t introduce the articles of impeachment against President Bush within the next two weeks, you’ll have a fight on your hands come election time.

Sheehan, the champion of peace protesters, said she’s disgusted with the Democrats who haven’t impeached the president for a number of reasons. But let’s just focus on the one major allegation Sheehan and others have made against President Bush: That he misled the public for going into war with Iraq.

Now, if Sheehan really believes Pelosi is going to impeach the president over that, then she has another thing coming. Pelosi has already stated in the past that impeachment won’t be on the table. Why? Because in all fairness, Pelosi would also have to impeach her fellow Democrats who voted in favor of giving the president the power to use military force.

It’s something that Sheehan and many critics of the president fail to realize: The Democrats read the same information as the president had when they decided on how to vote. Information that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction came from our own intelligence service, including other nations. And let’s not forget that even the U.N. concluded that Iraq lied about its amount of WMD and how it couldn’t account for its missing stockpiles.

These Democrats came to the same conclusions as the president. And, of course, many of them at that time are quoted as saying how dangerous Saddam Hussein was and that he must be stopped.

So that is why Pelosi won’t try to impeach the president, because she would have to point an accusatory finger at her colleagues and that will not do, especially when some of the most popular Democrats are running for the presidency. And even if Pelosi was foolish enough to do that, it would be a gift-wrapped invitation to Republicans, conservatives and columnists like me to attack her and her party. And why ask for a headache like that?

But it seems unlikely that Pelosi will do that. Her only hope is that some other news item will be big enough to divert attention to that and not her problem. With any luck, Sheehan will become background noise.

And if Sheehan really does decide to run against Pelosi, she doesn’t have any experience in office. The only way she will win Pelosi’s title is by popularity alone, which should make the congresswoman from San Francisco quake in her shoes just a bit. Sheehan has the type of following and support that would make any politician’s mouth water. Sheehan may present a real threat to Pelosi if she runs as an Independent.

The question is what will Pelosi do since the gauntlet has been thrown? It’s a tough call. While I don’t agree with Pelosi on a number of things, I don’t think she’s a stupid person. A good politician views any opponent as a potential threat and Sheehan isn’t just some “weekend protestor” either. She protested next to the president’s Crawford ranch for nearly four weeks straight before going to the White House to protest some more.

And Sheehan isn’t just some opponent that Pelosi can start doing character attacks on either. It would be political suicide to trash the mother of Casey Sheehan, who died in the Iraq war in 2004.

The only thing Pelosi can hope for is that the voters will realize that she does have experience in office, something that Sheehan doesn’t.

But maybe that’s what the voters would rather have: Someone fresh who is ready to take a stand. Sheehan said people voted for the Democrats to end the war in Iraq but they haven’t done it. She said they caved into the president. Whether or not you believe any of that, it really does say something when a peace protester and a huge Bush critic basically calls Democrats a bunch of cowards.

And Pelosi thought she had to worry about conservative Republicans.