Vermont lawmakers push for Bush impeachment
Times Argus (Vermont)
By Darren M. Allen Vermont Press Bureau
April 26, 2006
MONTPELIER — More than a dozen lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a resolution calling for President Bush's impeachment, making the Vermont Legislature the second in the nation to consider such a move.
Introduced by Rep. David Zuckerman, P-Burlington, and signed by 12 other Democrats, Progressives and the body's lone independent, the resolution requests that Congress "initiate impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush" under an obscure set of rules that allows state legislatures to directly seek such an action.
It comes a little more than two weeks after the Vermont Democratic Party decided to write a letter to Congress seeking impeachment, and a day after a similar resolution was introduced in the Illinois Legislature.
"George W. Bush has committed high crimes and misdemeanors as he has repeatedly and intentionally violated the United States Constitution and other laws of the United States," Zuckerman's resolution said.
His resolution would carry more force than the Democratic Party's letter because if the Legislature actually approved the measure, Congress would be obliged to at least begin an investigation into impeachment.
Zuckerman's approach was endorsed weeks ago by many grassroots-level Democrats in at least eight Vermont counties before the state party's central committee decided to leave the General Assembly out of its resolution.
Republicans scoffed at the latest example of growing anti-Bush sentiment in Vermont, calling the impeachment effort a waste of time.
"Instead of focusing on the real priorities and needs of the people of Vermont — like affordable health care, property tax relief, college scholarships and good paying jobs — Democrats in the Legislature continue to consume themselves with partisan fantasies of impeaching the president, raising the gas tax and banning the cropping of dogs' ears," said James Barnett, chairman of the state Republican Party.
"If this is the best they can do at this late hour of the legislative session," he said, "then it's time to close down shop and go home for the summer so they can explain to their constituents that they didn't reform health care because they were too busy trying to impeach the president."
Democratic officials, too, weren't keen on Zuckerman's measure.
"We support the resolution that was passed unanimously by the Vermont Democratic Party state committee and encourage Congress to initiate an investigation into President Bush's blatant disregard for the law," said Andy Bouska, communications director for the party.
The legislative measure has little chance of success, given that it has been introduced in the waning weeks of the session and had a tepid reception from legislative leaders. House Speaker Gaye Symington, D-Jericho, has indicated that the impeachment resolution would first have to be sent to at least one committee for testimony.
Moves to push for Bush's impeachment have intensified among rank-and-file Democrats in at least four other states. When Vermont's Democratic Party decided on April 8 to notify Congress of its intent to call for an impeachment investigation, it was the fifth state party to do so.
The Vermont party's central committee that day wrestled with whether to ask for the General Assembly's intervention — a move that some said would give the impeachment request more teeth. In three hours of contentious debate, the party's rulers decided that it would be better simply to ask Congress.
No one — including Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean — seriously expects the Republican-controlled Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings. Nonetheless, supporters said it was important to be on record about their displeasure with the president.
"Impeachment should not be used simply because you disagree with a person's policies," Zuckerman said in a brief interview. "If you disagree with someone's policy, you vote them out. But President Bush has committed crimes, and that's what impeachment is for."