The Constitution states that “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” are the only acts that can result in the president of the United States being impeached. According to the Vermont Democratic Party, President Bush is guilty of at least one of these, and they passed a motion on April 8 that calls on congress to start impeachment proceedings immediately. However, because of the republican majority in congress, it is unlikely there will be any further action.
Because of that, many around the Castleton State College campus and the state are left wondering if taking the time to pass the motion was worth it, calling it a “symbolic gesture.”
Jon Copans, executive director of the VDP, disagrees.
“It’s only symbolic because we have a republican congress that refuses to acknowledge the crimes being committed by the president,” Copans said.
The motion is a direct result of several towns that passed resolutions calling for the president’s impeachment during last month’s town meetings. It will now be sent to the U.S. House of Representatives for (its) review – where it will almost certainly die.
“Since when does the republican controlled congress listen to a state’s wishes,” Copans said.
Symbolic or not, there certainly are those in favor of doing everything possible to impeach the republican president.
“I think the Bush administration has been unreliable at best and dishonest at the worst,” said James Tasse, who teaches public relations at Castleton State College. “Once again Vermont is leading the nation in pointing out malfeasance and bad policy.”
Of course, like everything in politics, there is always another side. In this case it’s the Republican one.
“It’s draining attention from something that might be closer to getting done,” said Tom Rutkowski, a professor at Castleton, referring to the recently stalled immigration bill.
Rutkowski believes that most of the calls for the president’s impeachment are just “he said, she said” type debates and would be very difficult to prove in an actual court.
Regardless of individual stances on the president, the impeachment talk is certainly having an effect on the polls. President Bush’s approval rating has recently sunk to under a 40 percent and that has certainly had a toll on the rest of his party.
“Republicans are unpopular because of Bush,” said Melisse Pinto, a political science professor at Castleton who added that the recent-growing resentment could affect the elections in November and possibly turn the house over to the democrats.
That situation could make the impeachment effort more real since only a majority vote by the House is needed to impeach.
“I think yes,” Tasse said, about the probability of Bush being impeached if the House was won by the democrats. “But I also thought that there was no way Bush would be re-elected.”
Christina Labarge, a student at Castleton, said although she considers herself a Republican she, “can’t wait to see that idiot (Bush) leave office.” But she does not think impeachment is the answer.
“I don’t think you should switch over the commander-in-chief in a time of war,” Labarge said.
For now the motion stands not just as a symbolic gesture of the attitude of the Vermont democrats, but also as a symbol of democracy.
“It’s very indicative of the element of grassroots democracy in Vermont,” Pinto said. “Because of town meetings citizens get together and talk about issues, it’s not just a voting in a booth.