Impeachment of President Bush has emerged as a central campaign theme in the race to unseat Gordon Smith of Oregon, the only Republican U.S. senator representing a West Coast state. The most recent candidate to call on the U.S. House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings is former U.S. Justice Department environmental attorney and Portland political activist Steve Novick.
He said the roles that President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice played in "offering faulty intelligence" to make the case for the Iraq war and the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 domestic surveillance program merit congressional scrutiny.
"I am fully aware of the political calculations that have brought many Washington, DC Democrats to put impeachment proceedings off the table," Novick said. "But I believe that it would set a very dangerous precedent to say that we will simply overlook the possibility that a president violated the Constitution, or misled a nation into war, because we are concerned about division and distraction."
Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley of Portland, the presumed Democratic front-runner, has said impeachment should never be off the table &
a departure from Democratic leaders in Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Novick's call for impeachment hearings Tuesday came after Independent candidate John Frohnmayer did so last week when he announced he was entering the race.
Frohnmayer, who describes himself as a "defender" of the Constitution, contends Bush has violated his oath of office by choosing not to enforce some 1,200 laws passed by Congress whether by ignoring them or opting to interpret them, legally a function of the judiciary.
"Everyone in Congress &
Democrat and Republican &
is chickening out on this issue," Frohnmayer told the Tidings. "They are choosing partisan advantage, as they see it, over honoring their oath of office to support the Constitution." Responding, Oregon Republican Party Chairman Vance Day criticized Frohnmayer for "pandering to the left," and decried his calls for impeachment as "a reckless and wrong thing to do."
"Gordon Smith is a statesman; he knows how to work together and that's what Oregonians want in their senator," he said.
covers politics for the Daily Tidings. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Senate candidate calls for Bush impeachment