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The Progressive

A Cameo by the Old John Conyers

Matthew Rothschild

I'd been waiting for the old John Conyers to reappear.

Conyers rightfully brags about being a leader in the movement to impeach Richard Nixon back in the day.

And in the last Congressional term, before the Democrats took over, Conyers introduced a bill to explore grounds for impeaching Bush. He explained to Lewis Lapham of Harper's in early 2006 why he was doing so:

" 'To take away the excuse,' he said, 'that we didn't know.' So that two or four or ten years from now, if somebody should ask, 'Where were you, Conyers, and where was the United States Congress?' when the Bush Administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that 'somehow it escaped our notice' that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law."

Well, this old John Conyers made a cameo on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Detroit.

Now the head of the House Judiciary Committee, he finally declared his independence from Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the urgent question of impeachment.

According to, Conyers said: "Nancy Pelosi has impeachment 'off the table,' but that's off her table. It is not off John Conyers's table."

That's a relief, since I thought Pelosi had permanently gagged Conyers on the subject.

Not anymore.


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Nancy Pelosi, he said, "cannot prevent me from introducing an impeachment resolution."

He added: "I want you to know that I have no reticence, no reluctance, no hesitation to use the tool of impeachment . . . whenever I feel that it is appropriate."

So what's his hesitation now?

And when is a more appropriate time than now, after all the crimes Bush and Cheney have already committed?

When is a more appropriate time than now, just as they are about to commit another heinous one, by illegally attacking Iran?

Under pressure from Cindy Sheehan and other impeachment activists, the old John Conyers this week put his toes back in the impeachment pool.

It's time now for him to dive right in.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

© 2007 The Progressive

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