Sunday, January 06, 2008

When Did George McGovern Lose His Mind?

I've met George McGovern. In fact, I know George McGovern… well at least as well as Hillary Clinton knew Benazir Bhutto.

George McGovern is a true American hero, one of those of the greatest generation that don't go around talking up their contribution to saving civilization in World War II. He is a man strong enough to have knocked off Lyndon Johnson, the 800 pound gorilla of the politics of his day, but a man humble enough to admit his limitations after competing and failing in the private sector.

He was a good friend of and to Barry Goldwater, and for that if nothing else I respect him.

Today, though, the former Senator from South Dakota called for the impeachment of both George Bush and Dick Cheney. In that effort, he follows the lead of Dennis Kucinich.

According to his op-ed in The Washington Post, McGovern's bill would read

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.
I'm amazed that Senator McGovern would accuse so loosely. High crimes and misdemeanors require just those, but the senator is unable to articulate even one. Their conduct doesn't hack it. Nor does barbaric policies, nor, shame of shame, does historic low as a concept (of what, exactly?), let alone provable point.

In fact, in 1,430 words the good senator is unable to point to even a single example of an act on the part of either President Bush or Vice President Cheney that arises even to the level of parking ticket, let alone high crime or misdemeanor. Heck, even in the last, deplorably weak use of the power of impeachment there was at least a real crime (perjury, testifying untruthfully under oath before a court of competent jurisdiction) at the core of the effort. In this case all that drives the effort are political differences.

George McGovern doesn't like war. I understand that and respect his position. The proper task is for him to support a candidate or candidates who will take that position in the halls of government—Kucinich is still in the running, and Obama holds nearly similar views. Pick one!—and to then win the political debate.

To push for the criminalization of political differences demeans the very Republic for which you fought senator.

UPDATE: Jonathan Adler points out at The Volokh Conspiracy that Senator McGovern has also re-written history in his article.

UPDATE II: Don Surber piles on with a point-by-point critique of McGovern's article. Some of the comments point at The Washington Post for printing it.

Years ago, the John Birch Society wanted to criminalize political differences. They lost. So should those on the left who espouse that same goal today.

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