August 19, 2002

DO I REALLY WANT TO IMPEACH NORMAN MINETA? Some people have emailed with that question. And the answer is — Hell, yes!

But what they really mean, I think, is: do I really think that impeaching Norman Mineta is the way to do something about the idiocy of air security? That’s a bit more complicated.

It’s certainly possible to impeach a cabinet official — they’re “officers of the United States,” and hence subject to impeachment. But it never happens, because a cabinet official who’s that unpopular will be fired by the President first.

Mineta isn’t the whole problem, of course. He’s a symptom as much as a cause, a symptom of a bureaucratic mindset in which — it must be said — he participates fully. (And according to Gary Leff, who is all over this story, James Loy, the new TSA chief, is no better).

But since everyone knows that Mineta personifies the very mindset that is causing the problem, and since “Impeach Norm Mineta” makes that point nicely, it’s not a bad slogan. And judging by the glee with which a colleague of mine grabbed one of those bumperstickers, it reflects a widely shared sentiment.

Mineta will probably withstand the blogosphere-generated juggernaut, of course — especially as Republicans won’t want to attack a member of the Administration, and Democrats won’t want to attack one of their own. (Yeah, Mineta’s a Democrat, actually). But there’s nothing like bumperstickers calling for impeachment to bring home the unpopularity of a politician’s actions. So get one, and display it proudly!

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