Thursday, March 23, 2006

Lewis Lapham on C-SPAN

The editor of Harper's Weekly, Lewis Lapham, appeared on C-SPAN this week promoting his article in the March 2006 issue, "The Case for Impeachment: Why We Can No Longer Afford George W. Bush." After almost thirty years at the helm, Mr. Lewis is retiring, but his swan song is a doozy. The article documents extensively the justification for the build-up to the war, but the money quotes are Mr. Lapham's editorial assessments, where he throws down the gauntlet to both Congress and the press:

We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiple the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal -- known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?....

But in the news media [the American electorate] find no strong voice of dissent, in the Democratic Party no concerted effort to form a coherent opposition. Which places the work of protecting the country's freedoms where it should be placed -- with the Congress, more specifically with the Republican members of Congress. What else is it that voters expect the Congress to do if not to look out for their rights as citizens of the United States? So the choice presented to the Republican members on the Judiciary Committee investigating the President's use of electronic surveillance comes down to a matter of deciding whether they will serve their country or their party. I don't envy them the decision; the rewards offered by the party (patronage, campaign contributions, a fat retirement on the payroll of a K Street lobbying firm) clearly outweigh those available from the country-- congratulatory editorials in obscure newspapers, malicious gossip circulated by Focus on the Family and Fox News, an outpouring of letters and emails from grateful citizens not in positions to do anybody any favors.

The March issue is still available at newsstands. On March 2, Harper's Weekly held a forum, "Is There a Case for Impeachment?" moderated by Sam Seder, and featuring Rep. John Conyers Jr., John Dean, former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, Lewis Lapham and Michael Ratner. Click here for a transcript and podcast of the forum, and the text of Conyers' impeachment resolution.

4 comments:

Bradley Bowen said...

When the Democrats control Congress, they should get someone like Ken Starr to investigate and publically humiliate President Bush for all of his shortcomings, if not impeach and remove him.

texas toad said...

On the C-SPAN call-in Mr.Lapham said, and I'm paraphrasing here, we should impeach more often. The U.S. system is too rigid. If we had a parliamentary system of government, the Bush administration would already have received a vote of no confidence and we'd be having new elections.

Bradley Bowen said...

Well, we'd not only need a parliamentary system, but a majority of representatives that felt the Republicans were abusing their power or doing something wrong.

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