Clift: “Next Logical Step is Impeachment” of Bush Who “Can't Tie His Shoelaces"

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-11-05-MCGClift.jpg" />On this weekend’s <a href="http://www.mclaughlin.com/"><i>McLaughlin Group</i></a>, veteran <i>Newsweek</i> Washington bureau reporter Eleanor Clift hailed the secret session of the Senate stunt as “a welcome show of spine that Democrats needed.” She proceeded to predict that “the Democrats are going to push” the contention that President Bush “abused his authority” in going to war and so “frankly, if the country, according to the polls, believes by a margin of 55 percent that President Bush misled us into war, the next logical step is impeachment and I think you're going to hear that word come up and if the Democrats ever capture either house of Congress there are going to be serious proceedings against this administration.&quot; Sounds like a motivation for journalists covering next year’s campaigns. (Clift had concluded her weekly Friday column on MSNBC.com: “On the day the Scooter Libby indictments were handed down, Conyers invoked the language of Watergate: 'What did the President and the Vice President know, and when did they know it?’ If the political tables turn, impeachment may not be so far-fetched after all.”)<br /><br />Picking up on how fellow <i>McLaughlin Group</i> panelist Pat Buchanan described the administration’s use of pre-war intelligence, Clift charged: “'Hyped,’ 'cherry-picked,’ 'misled,’ whatever the words you use to me are criminal offenses when you see the suffering that has gone into this war and the cost of this war. It was a war of choice that was sold to American people on fear.&quot; Asked to predict if Karl Rove will resign, Clift said no before she condescendingly asserted that President Bush “can't tie his shoelaces without Karl Rove.&quot;<br /><br /><b>Video</b> of Clift raising impeachment, in <a href="/media/2005-11-05-MCGClift.rm">Real</a> or <a href="/media/2005-11-05-MCGClift.wmv">Windows Media</a>. (Fuller quotations of Clift follow as well as an excerpt from her posted column.)<br /><br />
<!--break--># Some of the remarks made by Clift on this weekend’s <i>McLaughlin Group</i>, which airs at various times in different cities. Washington, DC area readers can watch this edition at noon on Sunday on WRC-TV channel 4, which already ran ii at 1:30pm on Saturday:<br /><br />Clift on the closed session of the Senate engineered by Minority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday to bring attention to a supposed cover-up of how the Bush White House used intelligence before the Iraq war: <br /><blockquote>“First of all, what the Democrats did was a welcome show of spine that Democrats needed and the Libby indictments have opened the door to making the wider case against the Bush administration that they misled the country into war and so Democrats now have an opportunity to re-think their vote in support of going to war, although they claim they gave the President the authority to go to war and he abused that authority. It’s a little tricky argument to make. But the point is, they interrupted the White House message that Libby is some single, rogue aide and that this has nothing to do with the case for war. And the Democrats are going to push this and frankly if the country, according to the polls, believes by a margin of 55 percent that President Bush misled us into war, the next logical step is impeachment and I think you’re going to hear that word come up and if the Democrats ever capture either house of Congress there are going to be serious proceedings against this administration.”<br /> <br />Mort Zuckerman, owner of <i>U.S. News</i>, called it a “great political move without substance” and went on to explain how every intelligence agency believed Iraq had WMD.</blockquote><br />Clift, picking up on how Pat Buchanan characterized the administration’s use of intel:<br /><blockquote>“'Hyped,’ 'cherry-picked,’ 'misled,’ whatever the words you use to me are criminal offenses when you see the suffering that has gone into this war and the cost of this war. It was a war of choice that was sold to American people on fear.”</blockquote><br />At the very end of the half-hour program, host John McLaughlin made the panelists offer a prediction in response to his question: “Will Karl Rove quit or be dumped before Patrick Fitzgerald gives a judgment on indictment of him?” <br /><blockquote>Clift patronizingly replied: “No, the weaker this President is the more embattled he is, the more likely he is to cling to Karl Rove. He can't tie his shoelaces without Karl Rove.”</blockquote><br /><br /># An excerpt from Clift’s “Web-exclusive” <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9927371/site/newsweek/">November 4 “Capitol Letter</a>” commentary: <br /><blockquote>Democrats feel emboldened, and they’re dropping the euphemisms. They’re saying straight out that the president and his administration lied and manufactured evidence to take the country to war. The logical extension of such an explosive charge would be impeachment, says Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council, though Wittman doesn’t personally advocate this strategy....<br /><br />Impeachment seems a bridge too far, but when the question was posed to a former senior member of the law-enforcement community, he didn’t dismiss it out of hand. “Not at this stage,” he told NEWSWEEK, “but there are three more years left to this administration, and I can see it unraveling.”<br /><br />Someone passed along the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to administration officials, setting the stage for what her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, calls a “tawdry political hit job” that has metastasized into a crisis of government. Asked if Bush should be impeached, Wilson sounded remarkably measured considering his personal involvement. “One of the reasons I played an active role in the last campaign [working for John Kerry] is because I believe these are issues we settle at the ballot box,” he told the National Press Club....<br /><br />The more we learn about the secretive White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and the role of Vice President Dick Cheney in pressing his dark views on the country, the likelier it is that the administration will be found culpable for exaggerating the threat Saddam Hussein posed in its zeal to go to war. If the Democrats win back the House in the ’06 election, Michigan Democrat John Conyers will chair the House Judiciary committee. On the day the Scooter Libby indictments were handed down, Conyers invoked the language of Watergate: “What did the president and the vice president know, and when did they know it?” If the political tables turn, impeachment may not be so far-fetched after all. </blockquote><br />END of Excerpt from MSNBC.com

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center