Cheney, too.
September 2, 2005 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Can Bush be forced to resign? Criminal incompetence is probably not an impeachable offense, but something has to be done about Bush. I'd be interested in being part of a "Bush Must Resign" movement, but absent the threat of impeachment, what kind of pressure could be put on him? Can anyone think of another country, with a system similar to the US, where the leader was forced out without revolution?
posted by barjo to Law & Government (32 answers total)
How about the US? His name was Richard Millhouse Nixon.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:14 AM on September 2, 2005

Response by poster: But Nixon was facing impeachment, possibly criminal charges.
posted by barjo at 9:16 AM on September 2, 2005

Nixon was forced out. It has to happen within his own party, in fact Nixon didn't leave until his own party members called him up. Preaching to the choir does not help. In the US the only way to impeach a president is to find a clear criminal offense and expose it.

I think you're more angry at the current administration, in that case the Republicans will still be in charge. In fact not much would change with Bush gone. Cheney would take over, whether you like it or not. Impeachment isn't meant to get rid of someone because you don't like them, but because they acted outside of the law.
posted by geoff. at 9:16 AM on September 2, 2005

It's called voting. We elected him. He won the popular vote. He was our choice.

Not to be snarky, especially since I think Bush is the most vile and criminal president our nation has ever had, but given that we elected him I don't think there will be much......... will....... to ask him to leave.

Said another way - He is our national shame, and we did it to ourselves. And no, there is no process in the Constitution for a "do over".
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:18 AM on September 2, 2005

"...where the leader was forced out without revolution?"

It's called an election -- the next one is scheduled for 2008.
posted by davidmsc at 9:19 AM on September 2, 2005

Yep, it's all down to the election. What you really want to do is annex the gangs of maurauding idyuts that infest large swathes of the country. I'm still surprised California hasn't decide to go independent, really.
posted by wackybrit at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2005

Maybe we should force the American people to resign. It really bugs me that his popularity rating dipped to the low forties only a couple of months after the election. Such little conviction from the people who supported him. It's not like they didn't have any time to get to know what he was about.
posted by any major dude at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2005

Haven't seen Fidel Casto resign, and I'd rate their changes of doing so are about equal.
posted by eas98 at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2005's not completely because Bush was/is perceived as a great leader (why he was re-elected), per se, but his competition didn't really distinguish himself all that well. Empty rhetoric might win a few popularity polls against an incumbent, but IMHO, only concrete solutions can force a sitting president off his stoop.

Quite frankly, though, that's neither here nor there. While I empathize with your frustrations regarding Bush's incompetent leadership, AskMeFi is not the place to vent such disgust. Try any of the Katrina threads, where your feeling will be roundly applauded, commended, and glorified.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2005

In the US the only way to impeach a president is to find a clear criminal offense and expose it.

posted by Vidiot at 9:53 AM on September 2, 2005

It's called an election -- the next one is scheduled for 2008.

Actually, there's one scheduled for 2006 that can leave this guy impotent.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:08 AM on September 2, 2005

Pollomacho hit the nail on the head; if you want to clip Bush's wings, take away complete Republican control of the government. It's the fastest solution.
posted by lowlife at 10:13 AM on September 2, 2005

if you want to clip Bush's wings, take away complete Republican control of the government. It's the fastest solution.

I second it....
posted by phredhead at 10:21 AM on September 2, 2005

We have to live with the consequences of our republic. Somebody said that the amazing thing about America is that every four years ordinary people meet in fire stations and school gymnasiums and overthrow the government.

Presidents don't step down because of public opinion, nor should they have to. It's an awful, awful precedent to set—not only because it's short-sighted, but also because it hands over control of the country to Zogby, Gallup, Reuters, and Murdoch. Say what you want about voting irregularities, I'll take a ballot-counter over a pollster any day.

I share your unpronounceable hatred of George Bush, but he won, so he gets four years to justify himself. So it is written.

And, indeed, a 36% approval rating, even if it's true, does not mean that 64% of people want him to step down. It simply does not follow.
posted by Hildago at 10:39 AM on September 2, 2005

How about invading another country that sounds pretty damn criminal to me......

Sorry had to do it
posted by kashmir772 at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2005

His disapproval rating is 53% (scroll down), not far off, though it doesn't necessarily they want him to leave.

In the UK, the Prime Minister requires the support of both a clear majority in the House of Commons and of their party. If not they are obliged to resign and/or call an election (as has happened a number of times).
posted by cillit bang at 10:52 AM on September 2, 2005

Is it possible to take him down, seeing that he has squandered American resources (read that as money and the National Guard) on a pointless war in Iraq? If Bush were impeached, forced out, whatever, wouldn't that mean we'd have Cheney in the Oval Office, leading to a continuation of the current administration policies and personnel?
posted by Lynsey at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2005

Theoretically, Bush could be impeached. Realistically, that will never happen. A majority of the House of Representatives must vote to impeach the President. If that's successful, he's put on trial by the Senate (presided over by the Chief Justice of the U.S.), after which two thirds of the Senators are required for conviction.

Consider that the Republican Senate didn't vote to convict President Clinton in 1999—they didn't even get a simple majority, let alone two thirds (the vote was 50-50). What do you suppose the odds are they'd vote to convict Bush, even on the outside possibility a majority of Congressmen would actually vote to impeach him in the first place?

Even if the impeachment and conviction were somehow successful, Dick Cheney would immediately become President, which hardly seems an improvement, at least to me. If he were also impeached and convicted, which seems even less likely if that's possible, Rep. Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, would become President. That would also seem not to be much of an improvement.

No, I think the best way to get rid of whatever power Bush has left at the moment (a lot of Republicans in Congress aren't very happy with him at the moment) is to vote for Democrats in next year's Congressional elections.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:35 AM on September 2, 2005

I'm with Pollomacho & cerebus 19 -- if we want to take our country back from these incompentents, the 2006 election is the first step. If they can be denied their majorities in both Houses, then on with the impeachment proceedings! There's no lack of impeachable offenses.
posted by omnidrew at 11:41 AM on September 2, 2005

Dick Cheney would immediately become President

Not if he's been impeached too (not that any of this is likely other than a retaking of Congress in November).
posted by Pollomacho at 11:48 AM on September 2, 2005

omnidrew: You misunderstood me, I think. I'm not suggesting that, if the Democrats take over both houses of Congress in next year's elections, that Bush and/or Cheney should then be impeached. I think that just having some real checks and balances on Bush's power will be enough to prevent him from completely flushing the country down the toilet in his last two years in office.

I think it would be a huge mistake for the Democrats to try to impeach either or both of them. First, they would fail to convict, because there's no way the Democrats are going to have 67 seats in the Senate (remember that only a third of the Senate is up for re-election in 2006). Having failed, they would look like jerks for having wasted time and money in a political grandstand.

Far better is to take away some of Bush's power by making him deal with a Congress that won't let him get away with much. He'll look even worse than he does now, which will make it easy to get a Democrat elected to replace him in 2008.
posted by cerebus19 at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2005

Having failed, they would look like jerks for having wasted time and money in a political grandstand.

Yeah, see how much it backfired on the GOP when they failed to get Clinton booted?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:12 PM on September 2, 2005

Pollomacho: It would've, if the Democrats had pushed the issue at all. They felt it was too likely to backfire on them for doing so, because after all, Clinton was an unfaithful husband and had demonstrably lied to the American people. If they hadn't shied away from pushing the issue, Al Gore would've won the electoral college vote as well as the popular vote in 2000, and everything would be different now.

The Republicans would have no compunction about accusing the Democrats of disrespecting the troops by officially saying the war was illegal by impeaching Bush. And a lot of people will buy it if they do.
posted by cerebus19 at 12:26 PM on September 2, 2005

Regarding Clinton getting his knob polished: Are you saying perjury and obstruction of justice aren't criminal offenses?

The reality is that a LOT of things are criminal offenses; while a lot of sodomy laws have been amended and stuck down in recent years it was, on paper, illegal to get a blow job from another consenting adult when and where I went to college.

I, thankfully, avoided prosecution.A fellow in Atlanta around the same time was less fortunate even though he married her first.

Clinton was impeached for lying in answer to a question he shouldn't have been able to be asked. While being deposed over a sexual harassment claim, he was forced to answer a question about consensual sex with someone. Personally I think it reflects poorly on him that he'd engage in that kind of activity with an underling even if she pushed for it, as supposedly was the case. I presume it was outside his marriage vows (though who knows what their actual agreement with each other is and it's none of our business) and that reflects poorly on him too.

But to the question of whether that's the kind of thing that is worth charging someone with a crime and worth attempting to remove a president otherwise doing a good job and presiding over a period of economic prosperity and all time low unemployment? Well, call me a closet Frenchie but as far as I'm concerned our President can anally penetrate every woman and some of the men in the west wing so long as he's getting the job done, and he's free to tell everyone it's none of their fucking business if they ask about it.

That may not be to the exact letter of the law, but personally I'd rather spend our time going after elected officials that lie to us about things involving our money & rights, not their own.
posted by phearlez at 12:54 PM on September 2, 2005

posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:13 PM on September 2, 2005

People get the government they deserve. The rest of the world tried to tell you all to get rid of him, and you didn't. So now you get to deal with the consequences of electing an asshole and I'm betting voters will forget this little fuck-up just as quickly as they forgot Abu Ghraib and every other shitty thing Bush and his administration were responsible for in the first four years.
posted by speranza at 1:24 PM on September 2, 2005

speranza: I resent the implication that I deserve the government we've got. I realize more people voted for Bush than voted for Kerry, but I did what I could do. I worked for the Kerry campaign; I voted for him, and encouraged everyone I knew to do the same. What did I do to deserve Bush as President?

People won't forget the war. And people won't forget what's happening now, not for at least a generation.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:28 PM on September 2, 2005

Well, you can resent all you like, it doesn't really change anything. I resent the fact that the leader of my country has his tongue firmly implanted in Bush's ass, but we elected him, so we deal with it.
posted by speranza at 1:30 PM on September 2, 2005

Two points. Firstly, other countries have got rid of their leaders internally, i.e. by the party voting him/her out. Thatcher is the prime example but watch for both Blair and Schroeder to go the same way if they don't quit on their own. The chance of the Republicans throwing Bush out is as likely as they will approve gay marriage.

Secondly, if Bush were to run for election tomorrow against Kerry, Ms Clinton or any other of the usual Dem suspects, he would win, however much we would not want him to.
posted by TheRaven at 3:38 PM on September 2, 2005

People get the government they deserve.

I hope you don't mean that anyone "deserved" to have Stalin ruling the USSR. Or Hitler, Germany.

In the USA, unfortunately, we have opted for majority rule. 50% plus one vote = winner. 50% minus one vote = loser.

Until the unlikely day that we come to our senses and turn to proportional representation, get out and vote (and urge everyone you know to register and vote.)
posted by Carol Anne at 6:37 AM on September 3, 2005

42% or the US population believes in the Genesis account of creation. I read in an article only yesterday that only 10% know what radiation is and an incredible 20% think the sun goes round the earth.

That's a remarkable number of profoundly stupid or ill-educated people for an allegedly civilised first world country. It's therefore no surprise that a foul and obvious scumbag moron of a man can win an election in such a country. Democracy can be a terrible and dangerous form of government when the people are poorly educated.

Answers? The nice one is do something about the lamentable education situation. Attack the mass ignorance in your population. The not-so-nice one? Revolution. Hey, it wouldn't be the first time, now would it?
posted by Decani at 6:56 AM on September 3, 2005

So I take it that it's impossible to change governments midstream? Take a hypothetical scenario where the Prez nukes England, so to speak. Legally, can all the people do, is hope that the legislature will impeach the Prez and then the VP. Isn't there a procedure to just "overthrow" the current govt. and call for fresh elections, a là California?
posted by Gyan at 9:47 PM on September 3, 2005

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