Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment play; architects of the subprime mortgage disaster; sexism and the Clinton campaign.



Impeachment is usually proposed toward the close of a President’s tenure. The House tackled

Richard Nixon

deep in his second term; articles of impeachment were filed against

Harry Truman

for seizing steel mills nine months before his presidency finished; the Senate considered removing

Andrew Johnson

in the spring of his final year. This makes sense, as it takes time to recognize the seriousness of high crimes and misdemeanors, and even longer to loosen the tongues of former aides–such as ex-White House spokesman

Scott McClellan

, who will testify before the House Judiciary Committee June 20. So the thirty-five articles of impeachment Ohio Congressman

Dennis Kucinich

filed against President Bush June 9 are timely.

They are, as well, compelling; Kucinich’s extensive charges detail presidential lawlessness ranging from deliberate disregard of Congress’s authority to declare war, to authorizing warrantless wiretapping, to “obstruction of justice in the matter of

Valerie Plame Wilson

.” Democratic leaders would prefer to play politics in this election year, but Kucinich–and allies such as Florida Congressman

Robert Wexler

and the

American Freedom Campaign

–are right to note that the Constitution does not exempt a President from accountability simply because the campaign to replace him has commenced.   JOHN NICHOLS


In 2007 the national median price for a home was $239,000. To afford a down payment and monthly mortgage installments for such a purchase, the Center for Housing Policy estimates, the home buyer’s income should exceed $78,000. But for many working people–like childcare workers (median salary: $26,647), electricians ($45,406), even software programmers ($60,265)–that figure is becoming increasingly remote.

Not so for the architects of the subprime mortgage disaster, however.

Angelo Mozilo

, CEO of disgraced

Countrywide Financial

, a leading provider of subprime loans, took home a total compensation package of $48,133,155 in 2006, and as the market unraveled and foreclosure rates began to tick upward, Mozilo made hundreds of millions more by dumping company stock. Last year

Raymond McDaniel


Moody’s Corporation

, one of three principal credit rating agencies that continued to issue sterling reports on mortgage securities backed by defaulting loans, made $7,376,555.

Lloyd Blankfein


Goldman Sachs

, which made a $6 billion windfall betting against those securities, received $70,324,352, enough for him to toy with the idea of making a home purchase of his own–a 10.4-acre Hamptons estate listed at $41 million.

The deal fell through, but it would not have approached the most extravagant real estate grab of the year. That honor goes to hedge-fund manager

Louis Bacon

, number 286 on Forbes‘s list of the 400 richest Americans. In November, as home foreclosure rates reached Depression-era heights, Bacon spent $175 million on a 171,000-acre ranch in Colorado–the largest amount ever paid for a piece of residential property.   MAX FRASER


Five months ago, in what now feels like a different epoch,

Hillary Clinton

was addressing a packed auditorium in New Hampshire when two men suddenly began shouting, “Iron my shirt!” The air went out of the room, but as soon as the miscreants had been tossed out, Clinton shot back with relish: “Ah, the remnants of sexism–alive and well.” The crowd went wild. As I sat in the auditorium it struck me that it was the most rhetorically alive I’d seen her during the entire campaign.

Fast-forward to Saturday, June 7, when Clinton officially suspended her campaign and endorsed

Barack Obama

. The speech has been praised as the best of her campaign (if not her career). “I am a woman,” she said. “Like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious, and I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us.”

Clinton’s campaign did not emphasize her gender for most of the seventeen months she was running. “When I was asked what it means to be a woman running for President, I always gave the same answer,” she told the crowd at the National Building Museum, “that I was proud to be running as a woman but I was running because I thought I’d be the best President.” It’s hard to second-guess this tactical choice, since the path of a serious woman presidential contender is an uncharted one. Many of Clinton’s supporters have noted, rightly, that she was operating under gendered constraints, like making voters believe a woman could be commander in chief, to name the most obvious. All of that said, the campaign began to embrace a kind of feminist core as the race went on, and it culminated in Clinton’s final speech, which was, without a doubt, the most unabashed feminist address in the history of presidential politics.

Running for President can be a radicalizing experience.

Al Gore

ran as a safe centrist, and in the wake of his illegitimate defeat he became an outspoken and full-throated progressive voice.

Howard Dean

began as a DLC governor and ended up an antiwar icon and the man who has reinvested the DNC with grassroots energy. Clinton laid out her mission going forward in strong terms: “We must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and their mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay and equal respect…. Let us resolve and work toward achieving very simple propositions: there are no acceptable limits, and there are no acceptable prejudices in the twenty-first century in our country.” That may not have been the raison d’être of her campaign, but recent history proves that sometimes the most ambitious goals can be sought only outside the confines of presidential politics.   CHRISTOPHER HAYES


Nation columnist

Katha Pollitt

has been named a finalist for

The Molly

National Journalism Prize

, named after the famous leftist wit and writer

Molly Ivins

. Established by The Texas Observer, Ivins’s longtime home, the Molly recognizes journalism that challenges conventional wisdom and embodies the “intelligence, deep thinking and passionate wit that marked Molly’s work”–which Katha’s 2007 columns demonstrate in spades.

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