So the question is: what next?
We're already hearing a lot from the mainstream media about how this was all about voters wanting less extremism and more civility in government.
This was about voters who have had it with neocon imperialist militarism, had it with government lying, had it with corruption, and had it with campaign tactics that equate opposition to the president with support for terrorism.
Of course it's true that some of the Democrats who will be replacing Republican office-holders are conservative (some are liberal, too). That's not the point, though. They are almost all honorable people who entered their races as underdogs earlier this year, not expecting to win, and who ended up winning because the voting public, whether liberal or conservative, wants them to clean the Stygian Stables, which have filled up with six years with of crap and bullshit.
Now the Democratic leadership in Congress doesn't see it that way. They seem to be buying into the media illusion that what the public wants is civility in government and respect for the president. That's certainly how Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the likely new House majority leader, puts it (even though her home district in San Francisco voted 61 percent for an impeachment resolution).
But civility and respect are not going to get the job done (my em).
It is perhaps wishful thinking to believe that Bush, as richly as he deserves it, will be impeached for war crimes. We can leave that to future prosecutors, either in a better post-Bush America or in other nations, since war crimes don't have a statute of limitations, and Bush has a good 20 years left in him if he manages to stay off the bottle.
That said, there are crimes and constitutional violations that even Republicans should agree call for his impeachment (and in some cases Cheney's). Among these are:
Long list follows. Eat lunch here.
American voters don't want politeness. We want our country back. We have just proved to Republicans that we will punish lying and corruption. In the next election, Democrats should be on notice that we will also punish cowardice and inaction.
A great start for newly empowered Democrats would be to revoke or rephrase the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed to authorize Bush to invade Afghanistan and to pursue Al Qaeda. Bush has been claiming ever since that the 2001 AUMF made him permanent "commander in chief" in an unending "War" on Terror, with the right to ignore the courts and acts of Congress. It is clearly in Congress's power to redefine that AUMF more clearly, to make it unambiguously clear that it did not authorize the president to be generalissimo, that it was referring exclusively to combat outside the U.S., that it expects him to stay within the law and the Constitution under the resolution, and that the AUMF itself in any case has an expiration date. This is a move that even some Republicans--especially after their recent drubbing--will support.
The new Congress should also promptly revoke the military commissions law, and especially the parts that revoke habeas corpus, that grant the president and his gang retroactive immunity from prosecution for authorizing torture, and that undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, making it easier for a president to declare martial law. Again, it should be possible to get significant Republican support for this effort.
Although it doesn't deserve it, the Democratic Party has by default been given a chance in this off-year election. So far, the leadership is showing every sign of preparing to blow it.
That means it's up to us voters to make sure elected Democrats in Congress get the message, first by voting them into power, and then by riding them hard to make sure they take aggressive action to put the administration in the dock and rescue the Constitution and the country. A good start would be to go to Starting an Impeachment Movement.
Remember, we only got one-third of the government back. We still got King George to deal with, and deal with him we must.