Bob Michel on Impeachment

Chatterbox, who’s been scurrying around Capitol Hill today on behalf of Another Publication, was very excited to nab an exclusive interview with former Rep. Bob Michel of Illinois. Mr. Michel was the House minority leader during the 1980s and early 1990s, retiring, as luck would have it, just as the Republicans seized control of the House. Michel was on the Hill lobbying on research funding for the National Institutes of Health, but kindly paused to share his views on Flytrap. Unfortunately, after reviewing notes of the conversation, Chatterbox can’t really tell what Michel does think about Flytrap. It came back to Chatterbox, from his days covering Capitol Hill for a Major Newsweekly, that this was what one commonly felt after interviewing Michel in his heyday. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are some interview excerpts:

Chatterbox: What do you make of all this impeachment talk?

Michel: “Having gone through two of ‘em–that’s too much from my point of view.”

[Note: Michel had the misfortune to be chairman of the House Republican congressional campaign committee in 1974, the year Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. He would “get up in the morning and hate to turn on the tube,” he told Chatterbox. Now, the Democrats, he said, have “gotta be very wary.”]

Chatterbox: What do you think of former president Gerald Ford’s suggestion that Congress forget about impeaching Clinton and instead call him to the well of the House and force him to witness his own censure?

Michel: “You just can’t let the thing go back with nothing happening….If you asked me today, would I vote for impeachment I’d say no.” [Michel then said something about how the president needs to be heard, and the process should go forward: “To short circuit that would be wrong.” He also said something about how he talked to Ford a couple of weeks ago and Ford didn’t mention this censure proposal.]

Chatterbox will continue to monitor developments….

Timothy Noah