On Garrison Keillor and Impeachment

Garrison Keillor, host of public radio’s A Prarie Home Companion, has an editorial at Salon.com weighing in on the case for impeaching President Bush:

These are troubling times for all of us who love this country, as surely we all do, even the satirists. You may poke fun at your mother, but if she is belittled by others it burns your bacon. A blowhard French journalist writes a book about America that is full of arrogant stupidity, and you want to let the air out of him and mail him home flat. You hear young people talk about America as if it’s all over, and you trust that this is only them talking tough. And then you read the paper and realize the country is led by a man who isn’t paying attention, and you hope that somebody will poke him. Or put a sign on his desk that says, “Try Much Harder.”

Do we need to impeach him to bring some focus to this man’s life? The man was lost and then he was found and now he’s more lost than ever, plus being blind.

This may strike some as a cynical case for impeachment–that maybe if charges are brought then Bush might pay attention to the way the world really is as compared to what he believes it is. But essentially Keillor lays out a credible reason–that Bush, by being asleep at the wheel, is guilty of a dereliction of duty in defending the country and what it stands for.

Our adventure in Iraq, at a cost of trillions, has brought that country to the verge of civil war while earning us more enemies than ever before. And tax money earmarked for security is being dumped into pork barrel projects anywhere somebody wants their own SWAT team. Detonation of a nuclear bomb within our borders — pick any big city — is a real possibility, as much so now as five years ago. Meanwhile, many Democrats have conceded the very subject of security and positioned themselves as Guardians of Our Forests and Benefactors of Waifs and Owls, neglecting the most basic job of government, which is to defend this country. We might rather be comedians or daddies or tattoo artists or flamenco dancers, but we must attend to first things.

The peaceful lagoon that is the White House is designed for the comfort of a vulnerable man. Perfectly understandable, but not what is needed now. The U.S. Constitution provides a simple ultimate way to hold him to account for war crimes and the failure to attend to the country’s defense. Impeach him and let the Senate hear the evidence.

In my book, maybe a plain-spoken Minnesotan has the right idea. The question that needs to be asked, though, is this: Is anyone in Washington paying attention? For the sake of the future, I hope so.

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