Political judo, part one: rolling with the punches

Recently, the Vermont legislature debated a non-binding resolution calling for the impeachment of Vice President Cheney. (That’s a bit redundant; state legislatures have absolutely no place in dealing with impeachments. No body does except the United States House of Representatives. But I digress.) This is part of a general putsch push by the moonbat fringe to achieve by extraordinary means what they have failed to do so twice: to rid themelves of President George W. Bush. The plan is simple: impeach and convict Cheney, stall Bush’s nomination of a successor, then impeach and remove Bush.

One of the key principles of judo is the use of one’s opponent’s strength against him. In politics, this is used to look very carefully at what your opponent wants to do, is trying to do, and helping him achieve it — and then using that to achieve your own ends. It’s a wonderful tactic, as it’s utterly ethical and principled — and remarkably successful.

The moonbats want Cheney impeached and removed from office as a stepping-stone towards removing Bush. They have to get Cheney first, because to remove Bush would just elevate Cheney to the presidency, and a lot of people would be “burned out” on impeachment after the first successful removal of a sitting president. But if Cheney can be removed, and then Bush also removed before a vice president is named, the presidency will fall to the Speaker of the House — and Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat.

So, I say let them go ahead and impeach Cheney. In fact, we should help them.

Of course, when I say “help,” I don’t mean being overly helpful. The assistance (always couched in terms of “making sure we get everything right” and “don’t want to let him slip on a technicality” and such) would be oriented towards a single, specific goal: not to either head off or expedite Cheney’s impeachment, but to delay it for several months. To drag out the process, to keep it from coming to a head for at least a year or so — but never letting it completely fade away.

So, next May 1, we bring the formal Articles of Impeachment to the full House for a vote, and Mr. Cheney is impeached. Then what?

Why, he has to go to the Senate for trial, with Chief Justice Roberts presiding. Bill Clinton’s impeachment lasted just under two months, so we’ll use that as our benchmark. That means by the end of June, the Senate will be ready to vote.

That won’t happen in my scheme. Near the end of the trial, Cheney will resign, citing his health and various and sundry other reasons. Since the sole punishment for conviction upon impeachment is removal from office, the trial at that point will be declared moot and ended without a conviction. Dick Cheney will retire from public life with the stigma of having been impeached, but not for being convicted.

On July 4th, President Bush will nominate Dick Cheney’s successor. My suggestion would be to choose whoever is the Republican frontrunner in the race to succeed him. The thought having to run against a sitting vice president (historically, a good stepping-stone to the presidency, but 2000 and 1960 are notable exceptions) will terrify the Democrats, so they will stall the nomination as long as they dare while they race to impeach President Bush.

Let’s say they get those Articles passed by the end of July, giving up a good chunk of their summer recess. (Hey, it could happen. Besides, this is my fantasy.) That means that they will be putting Bush on trial right around the time of the nominating conventions. That will dominate both conventions, polarizing the hell out of the electorate.

Fast-forward to the end of September. President Bush comes to trial. At this point, it’s pretty much a win-win for the Republicans, as strange as that sounds.

If Bush is acquitted, the backlash will be severe. A large portion of the electorate will be furious at the wasted time and effort of the impeachment, and at the extremes that the Democrats have gone to in pursuit of their partisan agenda. And that will still be very, very fresh in their minds on election day — a smidgen over a month away.

On the other hand, if Bush is convicted (or resigns to head it off — not likely, but possible), then the Republicans can get a serious boost out of this, too.

First, they can spin the whole thing as a coup d’etat, an attempt to override the elections of 2000 and 2004. They can use the whole impeachment as a way to thwart the will of the people, and try to make that their rallying cry in 2008.

Secondly, it could utterly destroy Nancy Pelosi.

Upon George W. Bush’s removal from office (by impeachment or resignation), Nancy Pelosi will become the President of the United States. The Constitution is clear; the instant she takes the oath of office, she will no longer be a member of the House of Representatives and instead be the 44th President of the United States.

And she will be the lamest of lame ducks. She will be committed to her re-election in the House, and be unable (purely on practical grounds) to run for a full term as president. We’ve already seen how incredibly inept she can be when she first became Speaker. In that month or so between her ascension and the elections, she will have ample opportunity to demonstrate just how atrocious her administration can be — and, by extension, that of the Democratic nominee. (And if it’s Hillary Clinton, all the better grounds for comparison.)

This will also leave Pelosi in an incredibly awkward position. After holding the Oval Office, will she be willing to go back to just Speaker of the House? And would her fellow Democrats accept her back?

I also have great faith in our nation. It has survived many, many trials and tribulations. About four months of President Pelosi may by trying, but I’m fairly certain it won’t be fatal.

So, come election day, the Republicans could very well take the presidency in a cakewalk. They can present the impeachments of Cheney and Bush as partisan politics gone berserk, a coup d’etat (albeit a Constitutional one) little different than we see in third world nations. And they can point to Nancy Pelosi’s laughable “achievements” as indicative of just what a Democratic president would do. Between those two factors, a Republican victory seems not only possible, but downright likely.

And it would be possible only because the Democrats got precisely what they wished for.

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