While a majority vote of the House of Representatives can impeach a President it takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. As Speaker of the House, Pelosi for 2007-2008 had a first hundred days campaign to pass legislation to change many of the basic policies of the Bush Administration. All of her programs passed the House easily. Very little of it was able to get the 60 votes to allow for debate and votes in the Senate as required by their rules. In a sense the policies were impeached but not convicted so they continued. To convict a President it takes a 2/3's vote, 67%. of the Senate
Instead of focusing on impeaching Bush, the focus continued on the policies and building the forces to defeat the next candidate of such policies who turned out to be John McCain. That approach worked. McCain lost (though not in Arizona) as well as 20 odd House Republicans and 8 or 9 GOP senators. It still will be hard to reverse policy on key items, and not likely to be able to impeach and convict many of the horrible judges Bush appointed. Bigger victories by liberal and progressives may achieve that with the 2010 election.
I have observed Pelosi and noted that her statements correspond generally to her ability to discern how the votes on this or that issue or concern are aligned in Congress, in the House of course, but also in the Senate. That's her job. I think our criticisms or pressures on her, Obama and others should continue to be on actually changing policy in the interests of the people. Doing this in many areas will bring out some more of the horrors of the Bush Administration and the detriment of those who pursue and defend his policies.
On some issues victories can be more readily won, if the coalitions of peoples forces are engaged and grow then bigger and bigger victories can be won, even those Pelosi or Obama are not ready or even willing to undertake at this time. Ending the occupation of Iraq will be hard, Afghanistan harder. Passing the Employee Free Choice Act could be the most significant for long-term change giving working people greater leverage, but it will not be easy. Getting out of the economic crises without putting the burden on the people is the biggest challenge at this point. Nuclear and conventional disarmament may be winnable piecemeal. Solving problems of climate change, absolutely necessary.
It is true that impeaching Nixon helped lead to his resignation, there was no vote to convict although the main charges were around the cover-ups and not policy. he resignation did help bring the war to an end sooner. But then Agnew had resigned.
The corporate forces behind them did not lose so much, and Ford continued many of the policies. Carter made few changes and Reagan and the Bushes brought them back in greater force despite the fact Nixon was indeed impeached.
We have to defeat the policies and the forces behind them, not just the personalities.
Rosalio Mu??oz fought against Nixon's policies during the Vietnam war, he remembers that impeachment did not really change the policies enough. Email the author