All politics is national. At least that was the case in 2006. According to both major political camps, the reason the Democrats captured Seattle's Eastside suburbs in November's state legislature elections was simple: anger at President Bush and the war. In 2006, the Democrats picked up five of five contested Eastside seats in the state house and senate. One high-profile Republican who doorbelled on the Eastside last fall recently told me that when voters learned he was a Republican, they told him to get lost. Democrats had the opposite experience; they were welcomed as liberators. One Democratic winner, former Microsoft number cruncher and now freshman state senator Eric Oemig (D-45, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Duvall), says when he was out doorbelling, a voter with a pro-war bumper sticker on his car broke down crying on his porch, pleading with the candidate to do something to end the war if elected.
At the time, Oemig told the man the war was a federal issue. But after several other angry voters told Oemig the state legislature could initiate impeachment proceedings against the president (true) and asked him, rhetorically, if he would vote yes if one were proposed, he changed his mind. The newly elected state senator is now—foolishly, I think—mistaking campaign-season octane for meaningful legislation.
On February 14, Oemig filed a resolution enumerating Bush's transgressions: stripping citizens of their legal rights by imperiously labeling them enemy combatants, fabricating the case for war with distorted intelligence, and conducting surveillance of civilians without warrants. An early draft of Oemig's proposal leaked to The Stranger called all this shit "subversive of constitutional government," and concluded: "To preserve confidence in the office of the presidency," Congress should "determine whether there is sufficient evidence to charge President George W. Bush... with the above offenses, and if so, to follow the constitutional process of impeachment."
Amen to that, Brother Oemig. And if I were still a 10th grader in my Clash T-shirt and magic-markered Converse, you'd be my hero.
But I'm not a high schooler, and neither are most voters. Your resolution is an ill-conceived, immature freshman stunt that will give Democrats a black eye in Olympia.
First, your reasoning is disingenuous. You say the war is robbing money from things such as education and health care at the state level. Okay. But putting Bush on trial over the next year has nothing to do with hastening an end to the war. If anything, impeachment hearings would divide Congress and sap the necessary bipartisan will that's needed to end the war in a timely fashion. And that's all hypothetical anyway. Because more to the point: Your resolution isn't likely to pass. And so what's the practical result? The Republicans get the opportunity to exploit a meaningless bill into a meaningful sound bite about the Democrats' power-hungry excesses. All the good work the Democrats are actually doing around funding education and health care at the state level gets lost in Oemig's national-level grandstanding.