Impeachment for Salmonella Outbreaks?
The Unglued Idiot of the Day Award for June 19, 2008 is given to Lou Dobbs for his statement on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that President Bush should be impeached for the tomato salmonella outbreak.
Thanks to the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky episode, almost all Americans, with the apparent exception of Lou Dobbs, are familiar with our Constitutional grounds for impeachment.
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
According to Mr. Dobbs, the Food and Drug Administration leadership is in a 'sorry condition' and its inability to 'protect the American consumer' is 'sufficient reason to impeach the president.'
Since it does not seem Mr. Dobbs considers the salmonella outbreak to be a result of treason or bribery, that leaves him using the commission of a high crime or misdemeanor as the grounds for impeachment. With Bill Clinton it was very easy to see that laws – perjury and obstruction of justice – were violated, and that crimes were committed. Although Clinton confessed his perjury and obstruction of justice, he was not convicted. However, his violations of law resulted in Clinton ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to Arkansas state's bar officials and his Arkansas law license suspended for five years. In addition, Clinton was suspended by the Supreme Court in October 2001, and, facing disbarment from that court, Clinton resigned from the Supreme Court bar in November.
Mr. Dobbs, what laws did President Bush violate that resulted in the tomato salmonella outbreak?
Mr. Dobbs, if salmonella outbreaks were grounds for impeachment, there would not be one president spared. A bit of Googling shows that salmonella outbreaks have occurred in many forms for many years during all presidential administrations, and many were far more serious than this recent one.
The worst occurred in 1986 and involved low-fat milk in Chicago. I suppose this would inspire you to call for the impeachment of President Reagan, since 16,284 persons were known victims, and five died, compared to the 383 sickened by tomato-carried salmonella, and the cancer patient who died. However, the problem was the responsibility of the State of Illinois, not the Federal Government.
Contamination of chickens by salmonella was 20 percent during the latter years of the Clinton presidency, and has been reduced steadily since. Of course you know, Mr. Dobbs, that salmonella outbreaks have usually been blamed on chickens and eggs, and that a virulent strain of drug-resistant salmonella developed during the Clinton administration.
Apparently, Mr. Dobbs, the Food and Drug Administration leadership was in a 'sorry condition' then, too, and its inability to 'protect the American consumer' was 'sufficient reason to impeach the president.'
You must agree that this should have been added to Clinton’s impeachment charges. Consistency would require it, don’t you think?