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Web Letter

Katrina vanden Heuvel notes the ostensible logic of Nancy Pelosi's decision to keep impeachment off the table.

Let's deconstruct that logic. Vanden Huevel suggests that Pelosi "wants Democrats to control the House for many years to come, in order to stop the wealthiest 1 percent from 'sucking the money out of the middle class' and creating a 'caste system.' "

OK, fine. But what evidence is there to suggest that impeaching Bush would further allow the wealthiest 1 percent to demolish the middle class? It sounds like a conveniently cynical conclusion.

I don't think I'm being naive when I assume that holding the champion of that 1 percent accountable will bolster the middle and lower classes' sagging confidence in the US government.

Michael Trudeau

Allston, MA

Aug 5 2008 - 7:44pm

Web Letter

Pelosi is a charter member of the "see no evil" right wing of the Democratic Party. Pelosi places the maintenance of her power above defending our Constitution and the rule of law.

It is time for the House Democrats to get a spine and throw Rove and all the others in the jail cell under the Capitol if they don't show up for hearings. Most importantly, the House Democrats need to start impeachment hearings as soon as they come back from their month-long summer recess

On a Friday recently the House Judiciary Committee held a six-hour preliminary impeachment hearing. CSPAN still has the video available if you are interested. Be aware that the House Democrats did not allow thispreliminary impeachment hearing out of the goodness of their hearts. There is only one dynamic that recently changed: Even Democratic voters are now threatening to un-elect incumbent House Democrats. The Democrats are afraid of massive voter retribution in the November election. They are afraid of losing their jobs, their power, and the perks that go with it.

Did the media note that this preliminary hearing, scheduled for two hours, ran over six hours and that two overflow rooms were packed, that hundreds were left outside in the halls, and that the testimony was mostly for impeachment? This is getting serious.

The voters have recently and loudly told the House Democrats that we are sick and tired of their stonewalling on holding Bush and Cheney accountable. The refusal of the House Democrats to stop the Iraq War and impeach is unforgiveable.

In Colorado, we Democrats, Independents, Republicans and others are currently doing negative campaigning against all incumbent House/Senate candidates who have refused to support and even discuss impeachment. If the House Democrats do not immediately announce the date of the first full impeachment hearing scheduled prior to the election, we will greatly increase our negative campaigning.

The race for the promotion of incumbent Colorado Representative Udall to the US Senate is a statistical dead heat. Udall refuses to discuss or support impeachment. We can affect the outcome of this race and push Udall to back impeachment or stop him from winning election to the Senate.

Democratic Congressmen have our support only if they hold serious full impeachment hearings before the election. If they fail to do that, and we will campaign against them. It is time for a change in the behavior of Congress. Voters who want accountability via impeachment should follow our example.

You all need to call Congress every day (800-828-0498) and demand that impeachment hearings start before the election.

John H. Kennedy

Denver, CO USA

Aug 4 2008 - 8:53am

Web Letter

Pelosi as Speaker has proven that when given the chance and the power, women can be just as duplicitous, mean-spirited and blood-thirsty as their male counterparts.

Before the 2006 election, Pelosi told the American public to give Dems the majority in the House and we'll end the war and bring impeachment articles against the Bush/Cheney junta.

Less than twenty-four hours after voters gave Pelosi her wish, she immediately pulled the plug on the impeachment hearings. She has voted to fund the illegal an immoral Iraq war and has given Bush the green light to start another war in the ME, against Iran.

Pelosi is now going around the country, singing that same song from 2006 about voting for the Dems.

Sorry, Nancy.

But you do get my vote to send you and your buddy, GW, to war crimes trials, and I also vote that you spend the rest of your sorry life in prison for being a traitor.

BTW, Nancy dear, there's no Botox available in the slammer.

Greg Bacon

Ava, MO

Aug 1 2008 - 1:12pm

Web Letter

What a pathetic interview. Did you even have one tough question? She really is the perfect leader for the spineless gutless Democrats. She refused to consider impeachment for this this criminal administration because because they had so much to do. They've done nothing. Go to her website and look at her list of accomplishments. She's refused to stand up for the Constitution or the rule of law. All she's done for women is prove that a woman can be a worthless, triangulating millionaire politician just like the men.

No, I will not be subscribing to The Nation.

Tom Krueger

Andover, MA

Jul 31 2008 - 8:42pm

Web Letter

As a critic of Nancy Pelosi and of most Congressional Democrats, I was somewhat taken aback by the authentically oral quality of this carefully transcribed interview, which clearly presents our Speaker of the House as the both personable and fallible human being that she is. How wrongly we misjudge this remarkable woman when we assume that she somehow "commands" the House of Representatives--as our President in fact does command the executive branch! And we do Pelosi injustice when we speak of her "taking impeachment off the table," as if she did this all by herself. We should take care not to ascribe Pelosi's cowardly decisions to her own cowardice alone. This malaise is widespread among Democrats and has been spreading among them for a quarter-century at least.

The primary symptom of this malaise is the assumption, echoed but by no means introduced by Pelosi, that winning the next election is the prerequisite for winning the election that follows. Recent events have demonstrated how debilitating this assumption really is over the long term. Suppose more Democrats had bravely voted against the war in 2002--and had suffered for this decision in 2004. Surely they would have experienced an even more dramatic comeback in 2006! Moreover, they would have come back as a party with its principles intact, rather than reduced to empty pieties. I would like to offer this definition of a principle: it is something that you are willing to fight for simply because you know that it is right, even if you know that in the short term at least, you will lose.

If we define "principle" in this way, then the Democrats today seem to have become a party without any principles, because they are unwilling to fight for anything unless they feel certain that they will win, and win quickly. Already during the Carter Administration, many Democrats began to betray both the New and the Old Left by deregulating banks and weakening labor laws. By "moving to the center," many Democrats since Carter, most notoriously the Clintons, have too often temporarily improved their strategic position by taking actions of convenience that in the long term have weakened their own base.

This weakness is a legacy that has been passed on to today's Democrats, including Pelosi. It is a bitter but true fact of recent experience that cowardly actions in the past make brave actions in the future all the more difficult. In her interview, Speaker Pelosi observed, correctly, that the Democrats' votes for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act have weakened their ability to build a strong case for impeaching Cheney and Bush. Pelosi is right to point to this legacy of cowardice and to explain how much it hampers progress within her party and our country today. However, this explanation falls short of a solution, just as it falls short of an excuse.

Eric Paul Jacobsen

West Saint Paul, MN

Jul 31 2008 - 6:17pm

Web Letter

Nancy Pelosi has led the United States House of Representatives in funding the Iraq war as well as acts of war against Iran, both of which are appalling failures of judgment.

However, her blocking consideration of George W. Bush’s impeachment is a gross violation of her oath of office.

Until she is removed as Speaker, I will not contribute to, nor vote for, any member of the Democratic Party.

William H. White

Cape Cod, MA

Jul 31 2008 - 11:15am

Web Letter

Mrs. Pelosi has mistaken "We the People" for "I the Speaker." Instead of listening to the people and allowing drilling, Mrs. Pelosi is out hawking her book and issuing dictates.

The Speaker has a constitutional responsibility to maintain the Republic; however she is going out of her way to destroy it. There are things she can do constitutionally and things she cannot. All the items listed in this interview do not fall within the constitutional powers of the Speaker or even the government.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying, "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet." She was responding, of course, to pressure that she and her fellow Democrats are experiencing to suspend a Congressional ban on offshore oil drilling in the face of skyrocketing energy prices. It would be really wonderful, however, if the liberal Congresswoman could get as energized about saving our once great republic.

Someone needs to remind Representative Pelosi that it is not her duty (nor does she have the power) to "save the planet." Nancy Pelosi can talk about saving the planet all she wants to: her duty, however, is to preserve, protect and defend the US Constitution.

Our public servants are not charged with saving the snail darter or other so called endangered species, saving the profits of the international bankers or Wall Street in general, saving Freddie and Fannie or saving the peoples of the world from all the bogeymen, or even saving humankind or the planet itself.

What our public servants are charged with, however, is preserving (saving) our constitutional republic.

We are not the slaves of any king or despot. Our elected leaders are public servants, not private masters. In a nutshell, they work for us. They are contracted to preserve our liberties and our way of life. When they fail, they must answer to us.

Mrs. Pelosi has been corrupted by power; as Baron Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." She has taken a two-year temp job and turned into a lifetime appointment. She is an elitist that only represents powerful factions, and could care less about the average citizen or "little guy."

After being in Congress for almost a quarter of a century, she has no idea what it is like to be a citizen of San Francisco or America. She has never had to undergo humiliation at the airports, because she has a government-paid for private jet; she has no idea what it is like to try to buy something from a person that does not understand English, because her staff does that for her; she does not get stuck in rush hour traffic or have any interactions with common folk. In fact she has not even debated an opponent in over twenty years. Most election she spends time going to the opera instead of the town hall meetings used to decide representatives.

Our Founding Fathers wanted constant change; that is why the President's term is four years, a Senator's is six and a Representative's is two. However, our system has been so corrupted and biased in favor of incumbents that 90 percent of the time, the only way they are removed from office is when they succumb to an illness and die.

Representatives like Pelosi have lost touch of what it's like to live in America, and need to be voted out. As Robin Williams says, Politicians should be changed as frequently as diapers, and for the same reason.

Robert Exton

San Francisco, CA

Jul 30 2008 - 6:54pm

Web Letter

Ms. Pelosi, in defending high-minded views of what can be realistically be accomplished, has lost sight of what is now lost--the rule of law. Taking impeachment off the table because "there aren't enough votes" is a frank admission that from here on out the President is above the law for all intents and purposes. The losses in privacy rights will never be regained. The loss of respect any citizen might have had for the law is forever diminished.

For people interested in justice, bringing the impeachment and rebuking the lawlessness stands as the important goal, not ultimately winning the verdict. Ms. Pelosi has now given her tacit approval, a wink and a nod to domestic criminality and international war crimes. From this point forward a new precedent has been set for executive power from which it will be forever impossible to back down.

Most progressives understand we've lost the war for economic justice to the unchecked influence of money on politics. Now, we've also lost the war for simple justice and equality too. The weakness, the fear and the rationalizing being done today by the Democratic leadership represent the last breakdown before fascism grabs the reins in America. In my 60 years I have never been as disappointed in a politician as I have been in Ms. Pelosi, who at one time had me convinced she was a warrior.

Mark Deneen

Ferndale, CA

Jul 30 2008 - 9:45am

Web Letter

Unfortunately for America, Nancy Pelosi--like those in Congress who do support impeachment--totally misses the point about it. When asked about impeachment, why on earth does she talk about Iraq? Why on earth talk about unity and the chances of the Democratic Party? These are not what impeachment is about.

Impeachment is not about Iraq, it's about America. Specifically, it's about the Constitution. Iraq is a divisive issue, and as long as impeachment is linked to it impeachment will go nowhere. The Constitution is something we can all rally around. Except for our intellectually and ethically challenged Congressional leaders, who appear to have forgotten about it.

And since when did Nancy Pelosi swear an oath to pursue "unity" or further the short-term partisan advantages of her party?

Are these causes really more important to her than the Constitution?

Did you swear an oath, Nancy Pelosi? Were those words empty?

I challenge you, publicly, to explain how your opposition to impeachment fulfills your oath of office.

Colin Wells

Westport, NY

Jul 30 2008 - 8:38am