Reagan & Impeachment

In the first five minutes of “The Reagans”, the movie has Nancy and Ronnie getting all worked up because Mike Deaver says that some members of Congress were talking about –gasp—Impeachment.
If the movie had been based on reality, rather than a Streisand fantasy, it would have played out more like this:
Deaver to Reagan: They’re beginning to talk about impeachment.
Reagan: Shrugs and goes back to watching the cowboy movie on TV.
While that scene wouldn’t have been as dramatic, it would have been more accurate. By 1987, Reagan had heard plenty of talk of impeaching him:

March 16, 1983: Washington Post: “Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) told the crowd that President Reagan should be impeached…for failing to deal with joblessness. ‘Why don’t we impeach Reagan for incompetence,’ Conyers said, drawing loud applause from the crowd. Conyers said later that if enough people demand Reagan’s impeachment, he would lead the effort in Congress.”
August 14, 1983: Washington Post: “Enough of these ‘cream-puff’ constraints on presidential war-making decisions, cries Rep. Don Edwards [D-Calif]. Impeachment is the only way to stop Ronald Reagan’s ‘illegal war’ against Nicaragua.”
October 28, 1983: New York Rep. Ted Weiss “argued that the invasion [of Grenada] was illegal. After the committee session he suggested that Reagan could be impeached for unilaterally starting a war.” The New York Times noted that also among the seven calling for impeachment: Julian Dixon and…John Conyers.
April 13, 1984: “Jesse Jackson called on Congress to consider holding hearings on impeaching President Reagan for the mining [of Nicaraguan harbors]. ‘If an act of war is taking place without the consent of Congress, clearly it is surely an impeachable offense.’
October 10, 1986: On the downing of a U.S. plane in Nicaragua, Jesse Jackson “compared what he called the Reagan administration’s ‘disinformation campaign’ about the incident to a ‘Watergate’ that could be grounds for an impeachment.”
March 6, 1987: “Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, Democrat of Texas, who asked the House to impeach President Reagan after the Grenada invasion in 1983, today introduced new articles of impeachment against Reagan regarding the Iran arms affair.”
June 22, 1987: New York Times: “The chief substantive issue taken up at the [ACLU] conference was a proposed call for the impeachment of President Reagan for abuse of power in the Iran arms scandal.”
July 9, 1987: New York Times: National Organization for Women head Eleanor Smeal “called on Congress to begin investigating the possibility of impeachment proceedings against President Reagan, saying she disagreed with the notion that Mr. Reagan should be allowed to quietly finish out his term.”
(Source: Tim Graham, Media Research Center)

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Joe Carter

Joe Carter founded Evangelical Outpost in 2005. He is the web editor for First Things and an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. A fifteen-year Marine Corps veteran, he previously served as the managing editor for the online magazine Culture11 and The East Texas Tribune. Joe has also served as the Director of Research and Rapid Response for the Mike Huckabee for President campaign and as a director of communications for both the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and Family Research Council. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicaton.