Poll: More Americans Favor Impeachment

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

I saw a re-run of "The West Wing" from the first season recently.  That would have aired in 1998 or 1999.  In it, one of the characters says the following, which I paraphrase:

Josh, if there’s one thing that history has shown us, it’s that the real theat to democracy doesn’t come from radical lunatics.  It comes from those in power who flex their muscle against the citizenry.  And ironically enough, they often do that in the very name of democracy they’re destroying.

That Aaron Sorkin’s a pretty prescient guy.

Anyway, Knight Ridder tells us about the latest Zogby poll:

The word "impeachment" is popping up increasingly these days and not just off the lips of liberal activists spouting predictable bumper-sticker slogans.

After the unfounded claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and recent news of domestic spying without warrants, mainstream politicians and ordinary voters are talking openly about the possibility that President Bush could be impeached. So is at least one powerful senator, Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

So far, it’s just talk. With Republicans controlling Congress, and memories still fresh of the bitter fight and national distraction inflamed by former President Clinton’s 1998 impeachment, even the launching of an official inquiry is a very long shot.

But a poll released last week by Zogby International showed 52 percent of American adults thought Congress should consider impeaching Bush if he wiretapped U.S. citizens without court approval, including 59 percent of independents and 23 percent of Republicans. (The survey had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.)

Given those numbers, impeachment could become an issue in this fall’s congressional elections, and dramatically raise the stakes.