Nader has a snit over impeachment hearing

So the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by John Conyers, D-Mich., will hold a hearing Friday on “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.” From the committee’s Web site:

“Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush Administration,” said Conyers. “At the same time, the administration has adopted what many would describe as a radical view of its own powers and authorities. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I believe it is imperative that we pursue a comprehensive review commensurate to this constitutionally dangerous combination of circumstances. Next Friday’s hearings will be an important part of that ongoing effort.”

The Committee is expected to examine a range of legal and legislative responses to allegations of administration misconduct and their expansion of executive branch power.

Among those called to testify will be Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who earlier this month introduced an article of impeachment against President George W. Bush, based on “Deceiving Congress with Fabricated Threats of Iraq WMDs to Fraudulently Obtain Support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq.” Impeachment advocates shouldn’t get all that excited: Kucinich will have a chance to talk about it, but House Democratic leaders have made that’s not the hearing’s main focus. Instead, the committee aims to generally review what it believes to be the president’s abuses of power. Still, even a discussion of impeachment is a milestone for Kucinich and this Congress.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader isn’t on the list of invited witnesses, and that sure does seem to starch his boxers, as evidenced by the letter he sent to Conyers today:

July 23, 2008

Chairman John Conyers
House Judiciary Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Conyers:

For years I have been urging you to initiate a resolution of impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for chronic, repeated violations of our Constitution and the many “high crimes and misdemeanors” they commit day after day. These two men are the worst recidivist impeachable occupiers of the Presidency and Vice Presidency in American history.

Since assuming power over both Houses, the Democratic leadership declared impeachment to be “off the table.”

During our 2004 Nader/Camejo independent campaign for the Presidency, we invited the American people to sign on in support of our demand for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Many thousands of citizens signed.

We have had several conversations and two meetings where impeachment was discussed. On March 24, 2008, I wrote you a letter describing the various options open to you as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (see enclosed.)

A few days ago, it was reported that your Committee will hold hearings this Friday July 25, 2008 on Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s article of impeachment referred to your jurisdiction.

You have invited four members of the House to testify including, of course, Congressman Kucinich and several observers of the subject, including the inestimable former mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson, Bruce Fein and John Dean. The Libertarian candidate for President, Bob Barr is also on the witness list, but I am not.

This is not the first time that I have been excluded from testifying on subjects both of us have been concerned about and have discussed. Remember your invitation to testify at your unofficial public hearing right after the 2004 elections regarding “irregularities” in Ohio? Within two days, your chief of staff, Perry Applebaum, persuaded you to disinvite me.

Applebaum has been a problem with my appearing before a Committee Chairman whom I have known, admired and worked with for nearly forty years. He has performed his exclusionary behavior on other occasions. It is time to make this public and to ascertain why he prevails again and again with his superior either not to invite or to deny requests to testify regarding subjects well within my knowledge, experience, and forthrightness.


Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 34103
Washington, D.C. 20043

But why should Nader be invited? What special viewpoint or knowledge would he bring to such a hearing that others can’t? Lots of people are “concerned” about it and I’m sure many people have “discussed” the matter with Conyers, but not everyone gets to testify.

This seems to me like yet another example of Nader’s indefatigable ego: It’s not good enough for him that impeachment is being discussed; HE must be invited to hold forth on it.

Uh, Ralph? It’s not all about you.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Shiu Hung

    We disagree, Mr. Nader is a public interest lawyer, and has been a champion of Americans freedoms for more than forty years. He deserves a place at the table, and it is unacceptable if he is excluded.Explain why Libertarian candidate Bob Barr is invited, and not Independent candidate Ralph Nader? This is unfair, and nothing short of a double standard. We want to know that Mr. Nader can attend these important hearings, and share his insights, knowledge and assessments with the public.

  • Jerry

    MR Nader has been a champion of and for himself for forty years. His biggest and only noticable accomplishment during his tarnished career was to kill the production of the Chevrolet Corvair. The reason was becuse the gas tank set in front and the engine in the rear making it to dangerous to operate.He failed to mention that this car was a best selling compact of it’s time . Nor did he mention that the gas tanks on pick up trucks were commonly installed behind the seat in the cab. Nor did he attack the VW Beetle for the same reason. NADER is and always has benn for NADER!!!

  • Jerry

    A simple question for all. Who is going to elect the PRESIDENT OF OUR NATION ? THE MEDIA AND BLOGS OR WE THE PEOPLE? Am I the only one who wonders? I will be voting as I always do for the person whose public sevice records and policies will best serve this nation’s needs!!!

  • jonathan elliott

    as an englishman it seems to me that the congressional commitee chair wants to close its ears and eyes to what mr Nader has to say.
    I can only guess to as to why but this is my susspion, the chairman is playing politics and not looking for “truth” since mr nader has been investigating the rights and wrongs of the bush administration for meny years so has a wide and expanded knolege on the subject.
    since he is being put down so much i have to ask who has the real problem with their egos or is it insecurities?

  • Dems to Win

    Nader is a pathetic whiner. He’s the one who said “there’s no difference between Bush and Gore”. So why in the world would anyone consider him a public policy ‘expert’ after he spouted such nonsense?