Editor’s Note: Once considered a fringe idea, impeachment is moving quickly into the mainstream of American public opinion, as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney insist on flouting the rule of law and defying congressional oversight.

In this guest essay, Stephen Crockett of DemocraticTalkRadio.com casts the impeachment of Bush, Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as not just an option but an imperative:

The Bush Administration began by Republican politicians thumbing their noses at the rule of law. The past seven years have been an unending assault on Constitutional government, American political traditions and personal freedom.

It is time to place impeachment fully on the table for the top members of the Bush White House and Cabinet.

The appointment of Attorney General Gonzales should never have been approved by the Senate. His record of distorting the truth in order to protect the political career of George W. Bush is the only real qualification he had when nominated. It was the reason he was appointed and the reason the appointment should have been soundly rejected.

Gonzales has always been an advocate of radical legal theories that attack the essence of our Constitutional protections of personal freedom. The Attorney General holds legal theories that would give the President dictatorial powers.

Bush, Cheney and Gonzales have resolutely claimed powers not given by the Constitution to the Executive Branch. These claims are essentially “high crimes” by their very nature. They subvert the American Constitution and border on treason.

Claims that the President can place in prison any American citizen by declaring that person an enemy combatant, without court hearings forever, are criminal violations of Constitutional guarantees of personal freedoms.

These claims are illegal bids for power – not granted in our Constitution – by Bush, Cheney and Gonzales. These legal theories are fascist in nature. All three need to be facing impeachment.

Impeachment is designed to check corrupt, dictatorial members of the Executive and Judicial Branches of government.

Bush has issued executive orders that negate laws passed by Congress like the Presidential Papers Act. The signing statements routinely and radically used by Bush to gut the intent of Congress concerning legislation are assaults on the Constitutional checks and balances and are illegal.

Cheney’s claims that he does not have to comply with laws limiting the powers of members of the Executive Branch or Congress are illegal. His role in almost every scandal connected to the White House seems apparent but Cheney remains secretive and defiant. The power claims of Cheney are assaults on the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.

Impeachment hearings are needed for Bush, Cheney and Gonzales for many reasons. All three are claiming Constitutional powers that are not Constitutional. All three have played major roles in subverting federal law enforcement and an independent judiciary.

All three have deceived both the American public and Congress. All three are hiding their activities, using false national security and executive privilege claims to hide their law-breaking.

Bush has demonstrated his willingness to use Presidential powers to keep his White House cronies from paying the costs of their illegal behaviors.

Scooter Libby committed perjury to obstruct justice in a federal investigation of White House operatives who broke the law by intentionally outing a covert CIA agent. Bush protected him. It appears that Bush and Cheney may have been directly responsible for the crime.

The political firings of U.S. Attorneys has been another issue where Presidential powers may be used to obstruct justice, hide the truth and subvert the rule of law. It certainly appears that Gonzales has committed perjury like Libby and for similar reasons.

Presidential pardon powers do not apply to impeachment.

Because Bush is willing to misuse his Presidential powers and the Supreme Court has been packed with radical, partisan Republican appointees, only impeachment hearings will reveal to the public the abuses of the Bush White House. Only impeachment will bring these powerful criminals to justice and preserve the Constitutional rule of law.

Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio, http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com. His e-mail is midsouthern@aol.com.

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