Republican leaders today emerged from a closed-door meeting to announce that proceedings to impeach President Bush for plagiarism would begin as soon as members returned from the St. Patrick's Day recess.
"You can talk warrantless wiretapping, CIA leaks and WMD's up the yingyang," said Sen. Bill Frist and Rep. John Boehner in a joint statement. "But when it comes to taking someone else's words and trying to palm them off as you're own, that's where we draw the line."
The drawing up of the articles of impeachment follows on the heels of the resignation of Washington Post blogger Ben Domenech. Washingtonpost.com editors said they had been unaware of the charges of plagiarism that had been circulating online against Domenech for some time; "maybe it's because they were only in the blogosphere," commented one editor, who declined to be identified because doing so would connect his identity to his comment. Until Domenech's resignation, Post editors had defended his appointment as bringing a "fresh new voice" to the paper's Web site. Of Domenech's contention that Coretta Scott King was a "communist" and that Hillary Clinton "ordered the hit on Vince Foster," the editor said, "Everyone is entitled to their own facts."
Examples of President Bush's alleged plagiarisms have been posted on thesmokinggun.com. They include entire paragraphs of speeches, signing statements and executive orders lifted directly, and without attribution, from the writings of Bill O'Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Joseph Goebbels, Father Coughlin, Senator Joseph McCarthy, and Dr. Seuss.
Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan refused to comment on the plagiarism charge, saying, "There is an ongoing investigation going on." Privately, a senior White House aide speculated that the plagiarism might be "some kind of mixup," owing to the President's habit of taking extensive notes on 5x8 cards while reading and doing research. "Maybe he didn't realize some of the words he'd written down weren't his own," said the aide, who declined to be identified because, he said, "Bob Woodward said I didn't have to be."
McClellan said that despite the cloud of impeachment, the President would continue with his current speaking tour. His upcoming speeches are being given under the banner of "War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength."
Calls to the estate of George Orwell were not immediately returned.