As the House Judiciary Committee continues to refuse any action on proposals to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, three of that panel's members tried to take their case to influential op-ed pages of the nation's largest newspapers.
They were turned down by every one -- including the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald -- so now one of the lawmakers has taken his campaign to the Internet.
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) on Friday launched a new Web site, WexlerWantsHearings.com to advance his call to impeach Cheney. The site hosts an op-ed article rejected by the nation's major newspapers and outlines the case for impeaching Cheney.
"The truth is the mainstream media have no interest in this issue," Wexler said Friday.
"They have bought into the notion that impeachment hearings are outside the bounds of what the congress ought to be doing," the six-term Congressman elaborated during a conference call Friday.
The House Judiciary Committee has before it a resolution introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) calling for Cheney's impeachment and accusing the vice president of a raft of high crimes, including manipulating intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, obstructing federal investigations and conspiring to expose the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment in strictly off the table, and the Judiciary Committee seems unlikely to move forward with any hearings. Wexler encouraged impeachment supporters to sign a petition on his new site to allay the notions of Democratic leaders that impeachment supporters are little more than "a fringe, marginal group of people."
Wexler said the House has the constitutional obligation to begin impeachment hearings to investigate malfeasance within the Bush administration, and he blamed the lack of enthusiasm thus far on the "bad taste" left by the GOP's last impeachment crusade.
"People are just afraid that we would just be putting the shoe on the other foot and just doing ... what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton," Wexler told the conference call, which was organized by Democrats.com.
The "kangaroo court" Republicans used to impeach Clinton, on grounds that he lied about his liaison with an intern, cannot become the precedent by which the constitutional tool is judged, Wexler said.
Although Bush and Cheney will be leaving the White House for good in 13 months, Wexler said impeachment hearings were necessary because of the need to ferret out possible criminality in the administration.
"We have to follow the evidence where it leads," he said. "We have an obligation to do it, and to do it as thoroughly as possible."
Wexler posted the following video appeal on his impeachment Web site.
Editors note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Wexler's op-ed was censored by newspapers; newspapers to which he and other lawmakers submitted the column simply declined to publish it