WASHINGTON President Bush has demonstrated an "unprecedented" abuse of power and needs to be impeached, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said at a rally Wednesday on a terrace outside the Cannon House Office Building.
A day after Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, introduced a resolution in the House calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, Kucinich joined Anderson and about 50 other activists including war protester Cindy Sheehan at their rally. Also in attendance was Daniel Ellsberg, the whistle-blower who in 1971 leaked to newspapers classified documents known as the Pentagon Papers, which revealed information about casualties in the Vietnam War.
Anderson and the other activists outlined their reasons why Congress should move forward with proceedings to impeach Bush and Cheney.
"They have betrayed our Constitution in the most fundamental way," Anderson said. "Impeachment is absolutely critical."
Using similar lines from his speeches at anti-war rallies in Washington earlier this year, Anderson said that prior to Bush and Cheney coming into power, the United States looked down on other nations that tortured people, violated treaties or otherwise disregarded laws. But under this administration, the United States is becoming "just like them," the Salt Lake City mayor said.
"We are going to stand up for the most fundamental patriotic values," Anderson added.
The mayor said impeachment proceedings would send the message to other nations that torture, kidnapping and wiretapping are "not American values."
"Imagine how others in other countries view us," Anderson said. "These are frightening times."
Kucinich, who is also running for the Democratic nomination for president, said Wednesday that he may not have the support from other members of Congress just yet, but he does have the support of "the people." As he spoke, the crowd behind him raised their hands to show that they want the impeachment resolution to move ahead.
Author John Nichols, who wrote "The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism," told those at the rally that the matter of impeachment also goes beyond Bush, by not allowing future presidents to abuse power in the way Bush has.
Nichols said that to put the issue in perspective, he asks his Republican friends if they would want Hillary Clinton, if she won the presidential election, to have all the power Bush has.Whether the impeachment calls will gain momentum remains to be seen. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she does not support going forward with impeachment proceedings and that they are "off the table."