Saturday, May 19, 2007

Councilwoman Conyers Skips Vote on Her Own Impeachment Resolution

In what is surely one of the sillier examples of how Detroit’s ineffectual and hyper-partisan City Council sends its time and taxpayer funds, the body voted 7-0 on May 16 to approve a resolution calling for the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. According to the Detroit News, “The resolution says Bush and Cheney conspired to defraud the United States by ‘intentionally misleading Congress and the public regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify the war.’”(“Detroit City Council votes to impeach Bush, Cheney”).

As if that is not silly enough, Councilwoman Monica Conyers, wife of Michigan’s own impeachment-crazed Rep. John Conyers, sponsored the resolution, and then couldn’t be bothered to vote on it because she was junketing in Hawaii.

On the subject of defrauding the United States, husband Conyers himself only recently slithered out of a Congressional ethics investigation of his own use of paid staffers to help in his campaigns, do personal chores, babysit his kids, and help his wife with her law-school homework, in addition to other “allegations that his aides also worked on the Carol Mosely-Braun presidential campaign and JoAnn Watson’s Detroit City Council race." (“Editorial: Is Pelosi serious about cleaning up the House?") By an amazing coincidence, Councilwoman JoAnn Watson was Councilwoman Conyers’s co-sponsor on the impeachment resolution. Watson recently revealed the stuff she's made of by gushing that Louis Farakhan is a role model. ("When it Comes to Role Models, Allah Knows Best").

In short, the Council and its resolution come across as cynical, half-baked, and frivolous. Nevertheless, as explained by Detroit attorney Bill Goodman of the National Layers Guild, (the lefty group actually originating the resolution), the resolution was “significant…not only because of the Conyers relationship, but because Detroit is the largest city to date to approve a resolution endorsing impeachment.”

Of course, it doesn’t mean a damn thing that Detroit is the largest city endorsing the resolution, both because the resolution is a legally meaningless symbol, and moreso because Detroit's status as a large city is getting smaller and weaker all the time, thanks in part to the witless leadership and goofy priorities of Detroit city government.

In spite of how Goodman explains it, the real significance of the resolution isn't the immense prestige Detroit brings to it, but “the Conyers relationship.” Goodman “said he met Monday with Conyers and the resolution's co-sponsor, Councilwoman JoAnn Watson. At that time, Goodman said Councilwoman Conyers told him she was ‘very interested in pursuing this and would share her views with her husband.’”

(I note that Councilwoman Conyers was once accused, though without being charged, of punching out a fellow bar patron in December 2005. ("Wife of Congressman Involved in Bar Fight"), but that is no reason to assume that she has the ability to exercise more than ordinary marital influence over her hubby.)

According to Goodman, passage of the resolution “‘ may tell us that … the Democratic leadership is closer than one may have thought to looking at the crimes of this administration.'"

No one would suggest that JoAnn Watson or Monica Conyers qualify as among the national "Democratic leadership." As Goodman unashamedly explains, the object of the resolution, (and of using the wife of a US Congressman to sponsor it) is to pressure husband Conyers back into the impeachment mode he was forced to surrender when Nancy Pelosi warned him off before making him House Judiciary Committee chairman.

Which is all politics as usual, I suppose.

But when I observe this kind of politicizing of the Conyers’ marriage (otherwise exemplary, I have no reason to doubt), for the purpose of pushing an anti-Bush agenda by means of a powerful Congressional committee, it clashes badly with the harping of Chuck Schumer, Russ Feingold, and John Conyers himself that the Bush White House is guilty of “politicizing” the Justice Department by participating in the incontrovertibly legal decisions to fire eight US Attorneys.

As a matter of simple justice, which do you think is more egregious--that the City Council of a once-great American metropolis (and desperately in need of leadership) can be played by a group of activist lawyers into forcing a powerful Congressman—by means of his spouse—to initiate impeachment proceedings against a President in wartime, or that a President and his staff participate in decisions regarding replacement of appointed US Attorneys explicitly serving at the pleasure of the President?

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