by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
May 4, 2007
IMPEACHMENT ISN'T DEAD YET IN VERMONT
DUMMERSTON, Vt., April 28, 2007 -- One week ago, when I wrote about how the grassroots impeachment movement in Vermont was stalled by the Democratic leadership at the Statehouse, I truly believed that the cause was lost.
Instead, I saw the political equivalent of the Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series.
The stunning turnaround came on April 20, when Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, engineered a floor vote and managed to get an impeachment resolution voted upon in just five minutes.
Democratic Senators Jennette White and Dick McCormack joined Shumlin to put together the wording of Senate Resolution 16, calling for initiation of impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
With Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, the presiding officer of the Senate, absent, Shumlin got the resolution passed quickly by a 16-9 margin without debate and without having to refer it to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In one bold stroke, Shumlin was able to bypass House Speaker Gaye Symington, who refused to have her chamber take up Joint Resolution 15, the original impeachment measure that had been stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.
News of the vote flashed around the world, and suddenly even Symington had to bow to reality. There was simply no way she could credibly talk about her chamber's need to focus on "important business" in the face of calls, emails and letters from around the nation pleading with her to vote on impeachment.
So, on Wednesday, the House took up the measure. Despite the presence of more than 300 supporters of impeachment, lawmakers voted 87-60 against it. The opposition of Symington ensured that impeachment would not go anywhere.
It would have been more helpful to the cause had the Vermont House approved impeachment, but the vote in the Vermont Senate still stands and now, a copy of the Senate resolution will be sent to Vermont's congressional delegation. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch will be duly notified to initiate impeachment proceedings.
Chances are they won't, but now, the Vermont Senate is on record calling for impeachment - the first legislative body in the nation to do so. While the Vermont House missed its opportunity, other legislative bodies around the country are more than welcome to join the impeachment parade.
April 20 was a proud day for Vermonters. Thanks to the hard work of many people, our small state showed the power of democracy and how that power will help put an end to the long national nightmare of the Bush presidency.
Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 25 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.