Wednesday, July 12, 2006By David Swanson from OpEdNews.com
A radio show reported yesterday that Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul said the following:
"I would have trouble arguing that he's been a Constitutional President, and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office."
And this: "Congress has generously ignored the Constitution while the President flaunts it, the courts have ignored it and they get in the business of legislating so there's no respect for the rule of law."
And this: "When the President signs all these bills and then adds statements after saying I have no intention of following it - he's in a way signing it and vetoing - so in his mind he's vetoing a lot of bills, in our mind under the rule of law he hasn't vetoed a thing."
And Paul said the United States had entered a period of "soft fascism."
The report of these statements might surprise some people, especially people who rely on the corporate media for their news, but it fits with previous remarks by Congressman Paul, including these wonderful speeches recently made on the floor of the House of Representatives by Rep. Paul and Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/12673
The report also comes from a media outlet that has repeatedly interviewed Paul, and they've posted a link to the audio of the interview here, although you have to join the site to hear it:
Rather than do that, I phoned up Congressman Paul's communications director in Washington this morning. More than confirming this report, I wanted to ask Rep. Paul why he would declare that the President should be removed from office, yet fail to introduce an article of impeachment or even sign onto Congressman John Conyers' (D., Mich.) bill, H. Res. 635, to create a preliminary investigation. I also thought I wouldn't mind knowing why Paul used the plural: "...these people should be removed from office." Whom would he include along with Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Rice?
Paul did give something of an answer in the interview to why he would not act on his conviction that impeachment was merited, namely he asserted, without any evidence, that the Democrats, if they won a majority, would probably try to impeach Bush for the wrong reasons: politics and revenge. There are a couple of problems with this excuse of Paul's for his inaction:
1. Out here beyond the Beltway it's progressives who couldn't stand Clinton and have no use for defending him and spend their time these days attacking his wife who are pushing impeachment.
2. The Democrats, even if they have a majority, will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to attempt impeachment, having - as they do - significantly less in the way of spine than Congressman Paul, who is probably failing to realize entirely how timid and useless they are.
3. If a president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors - as we all know this one has - then whether some Members of Congress might support impeachment for impure reasons can in no way justify a failure to impeach. In persuading nonprofit groups to work for impeachment it is often necessary to explain to them that supporting such action by Congress is not partisan just because the President belongs to a party. Is it really necessary to explain to Congressman Paul that impeachment is not partisan just because Congress Members belong to parties? This is about defending the Constitution, and either you obey your oath to do so or you violate it.
Millions of U.S. citizens, like Paul, support impeachment and removal from office. And we can rightly be challenged by anyone as to whether we are sacrificing enough to make it happen: are we working every moment of the day that we can to drag a few more Congress Members onto H Res 635? Are we passing resolutions in every town and city and state possible? Are we straining enough to try to shove the peace movement and the labor movement or other potentially helpful organizations onto the impeachment agenda? Are we protesting? Going to jail? Fasting? Do we wear our Impeach Bush and Cheney shirts every day?
Just as we can very reasonably be asked such questions, Rep. Paul can be asked this one: Why have you not introduced articles of impeachment, or at least signed onto Conyers' bill for a simple bipartisan investigation?
How does Congressman Paul think history will look on one of the 435 people in a position to act who declared action needed and then sat down and did nothing, who actually summoned the courage to admit publicly that he recognized the slide to fascism, but stood aside and wished the country well as it slid down the slope? Will history smile on such behavior?
Were Paul to put his signature where his mouth is, he would become an instant hero, the chances of impeachment would dramatically increase, and the chances of impeachment being dominated entirely by partisanship would be eliminated. And Paul would catch a ton of flack from partisans, btu they'd be partisan Republicans, and I think he could handle it.
But I digress.
So, anyway, I phoned Paul's communications guy, whom I'd never spoken to before, Jeff Deist. But Deist turned out to be, like most Hill staffers, more cautious than his boss. Deist did not deny what Paul had said on the radio, but changed the topic to telling me what Deist believed.
For those who care, Deist believes that the issue that matters is Congress's failure to insist on its power to declare war. "Bush is not really the culprit, the blame is with Congress," Deist said, complaining of "Congress's cowardice."
I asked Deist if I could check with the Congressman on whether he agreed, and Deist said I could do so by sending a detailed request, explanation of the article I was writing, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org
While Deist made it very clear through his defensiveness and hostility that I'd never get an interview on this topic, I'm not sure it wouldn't have an impact if, say, 10,000 people sent an Email to that address thanking Paul for his statements and asking him to do more than talk. Can you do that please?
We thank you, Congressman, but we can all talk, and talk is cheap.
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DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.