The following interview originally appeared as part of a longer blog entry at Gavin’s Journal on this site.
Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell represents Iowa’s 3rd district and has served the state for six terms, since 1997. When he first entered the House he voted in favor of a bill that would have limited representatives to six terms, but he ultimately decided to seek a seventh term, where he is facing his first primary challenge from former state representative and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon. On February 14, the same day that Democracy for America endorsed Fallon’s candidacy and called Boswell a “Bush-Democrat” for having voted for various pieces of Bush administration-backed legislation, Boswell cosigned Ohio Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich’s bill calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. The bill charges Cheney with lying to Congress and the American people about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and alleged-but-nonexistent links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, and with threatening war with Iran.
Gavin Aronsen: What [made you decide] to sign the impeachment bill?
Leonard Boswell: I met with a group of progressives … and we talked about this, and [I had] a long conversation with them. And I have said all along – I’ve felt all along – that if it came up, the impeachment process, I would support it.
So [after] we had that discussion not too long ago … I sat down with staff and said, “You know, that’s where I’m at. I just haven’t gotten involved in it because I’ve talked to the leadership. Who’s more progressive than John Conyers?” And John said, “We can’t make it happen.” And so I’ve been applying my energy on doing other things.
But there seemed to be some strong feelings that it would be good to be on the bill, so I went back and said, “Well, that’s what I feel,” and I’m on it.
GA: Your primary challenger Ed Fallon’s response … is that you’ve signed this now in order to seem more progressive for the primary challenge. How do you answer to that?
LB: I say nonsense, because I was on this issue since the get-go.
This president has lied to me, and I feel very strongly about it, so I went early on and talked with John Conyers, and you can just go check with him yourself if you want to. And I said to exorcise the last administration over the Clinton situation. [He] said [by] the time we would get there it would just bog us down and we probably couldn’t get there anyway with the way the numbers [of sympathetic representatives] are right now.
He said we probably ought to concentrate on other things. So I’ve been concentrating on other things.
GA: What was your primary [reason for your] support for impeachment?
LB: I’m one of those that believed in the commander in chief when he said, yes, there are weapons of mass destruction that [are] coming down on Americans. And knowing what I know and what I’ve been trained to know in my ears, that brings a whole new picture to my mind.