Cafferty Channels McGovern: 'Why Won't Congress Impeach Bush?'

CNN's Jack Cafferty on Monday advanced former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, posing as his “Cafferty File” question in the 6pm EST hour of The Situation Room: “Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?” Highlighting McGovern's bombastic op-ed in the “Outlook” section of Sunday's Washington Post, “Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,” Cafferty quoted McGovern's contention Bush and Cheney “have repeatedly violated the Constitution,” “have lied to the American people time after time” and have carried out a “murderous, illegal, nonsensical war.” So “illegal” that the House and Senate, controlled by Democrats, continue funding it.

All six of the posted answers, read later in the hour by Cafferty, castigated Congress for not following McGovern's advice. One argued “the Democratic Congress will not move on impeachment because we have nothing but cowards in Washington,” another Cafferty chose to spotlight asserted that “the collaborators who gave Bush everything they wanted won't condemn themselves now by impeaching him” and Cafferty ended with this sarcastic take from Sally, a neighbor of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia: “Because all they did was cause death, destruction, torture, defiling of the Constitution and decimation of the nation's finances. Thank goodness they didn't have sex with an intern.”

(Cafferty didn't quote it, but three years after Bush's re-election and a little more than a year after the opposition party won the majority of House and Senate seats, McGovern ludicrously claimed: “American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime.”)

Last August, Cafferty deplored Democratic presidential candidate/Senator Chris Dodd for arguing against impeaching Bush. My August 21 NewsBusters item recounted:
In the 7pm EDT hour of Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, Jack Cafferty expressed disappointment in Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd for rejecting efforts to impeach President Bush because of how it would hurt Democratic chances in 2008. "So, Senator Dodd is putting the election prospects of the Democratic Party next year ahead of whether or not President Bush might be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors of a kind which would mandate his removal from office," Cafferty lamented. He noted that "Congress's job is oversight of the executive branch" and then, he sniffed, with a disapproving shake of his head: "Unless, of course, that oversight interferes with getting elected." Cafferty soon reiterated his displeasure with the liberal Connecticut Senator: "It's a pretty amazing statement to come out of Senator Dodd's mouth."...
A transcript of Cafferty's segments during the January 7 third hour (6pm EST) of The Situation Room, a transcript provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who checked CNN's posted text against what aired:
JACK CAFFERTY: It's time for Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney -- so says George McGovern, the Democratic Party's 1972 candidate for President. He wrote an editorial in yesterday's Washington Post. He wrote that, "Although the chances of impeachment are unlikely, the facts most definitely point in that direction." Quoting McGovern here, "Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly high crimes and misdemeanors, to use the constitutional standard," unquote.

McGovern points to specific instances, like Iraq. He calls that a "murderous, illegal, nonsensical war," the administration's strategy to encourage a climate of fear here at home, denying prisoners of war habeas corpus, shipping them off to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other foreign lands, and the administration's dismal response to Hurricane Katrina.

In fact, McGovern says that the case against impeaching the current President and Vice President is far stronger than was the case for impeaching President Nixon. He goes so far as to say the U.S. would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than under what we have today.

But, of course, we all know that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a long time ago, took impeachment off the table. And even though there are some in the House who are calling for an immediate start to hearings, don't bet on it happening. Probably won't. But the question is this: Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney? You can go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my new blog.
Later in the hour, Cafferty returned with the replies:
CAFFERTY: Eighty-five-year-old George McGovern, who ran for President in 1972, wrote a piece in the Washington Post over the weekend suggesting that George Bush and Vice President Cheney are more deserving of impeachment than Richard Nixon was. And so we asked: Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney? And we got the following.

Chris in Ithaca writes: "The Democratic Congress will not move on impeachment because we have nothing but cowards in Washington. The Congress changed because the American people wanted change. Instead, we've gotten Republican light. There is no change in Washington -- only slaves to big business, oil and imperialism. Washington stinks."

Eric in Moss Beach, California: "The collaborators who gave Bush everything they wanted won't condemn themselves now by impeaching him. They have no principles. They have no morals. They are politicians to their slimy cores. They all deserve defeat in the next election -- Democrat, Republican -- makes no difference. They have betrayed their oath, they have betrayed their country. They are scum."

Scott: "Why won't we impeach Bush and Cheney? Because the country is over, that's why. We're done. The crooks, the special interests and the corporations have won."

Dell in Colorado Springs: "The Democratic Congress won't impeach the President or Vice President simply because they're more concerned with winning back the White House. It would be too timely, too costly. Bush has destroyed our reputation abroad, done nothing domestically. The Democrats believe the damage is done and the administration will ultimately go into the books as one of the worst in history."

Roy writes: "It's not going to happen. Everybody knows you need corporate sponsors to get anything done in Washington."

And Sally in Alexandria, Virginia: "Because all they did was cause death, destruction, torture, defiling of the Constitution and decimation of the nation's finances. Thank goodness they didn't have sex with an intern."

WOLF BLITZER: A lot of angry people out there, Jack.

CAFFERTY: I guarantee, and I hear from them every single day. And I think that's one of the reasons, quite frankly, that there's so much interest in a guy like Barack Obama. The country is saying, "How much worse can it be? Give me anything that's different, something fresh and new."
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