Former Vice President Al Gore came out recently and stated that he was against impeaching George W. Bush because of the time, money, and distraction it would cause. I had to rub my eyes a couple of times and check the website to ensure that I wasn't reading The Onion, but it's true. And I think Gore's right, but not for the reasons he mentioned.
As we learned from the Bill Clinton impeachment, there has to be a national will for it to happen. Republicans suffered in the court of public opinion because they couldn't get the people to acknowledge that Clinton deserved to be removed from office for lying under oath about sex. Mainly, this is because a) the people didn't think lying about sex was that big a deal (thanks to the Clinton spin machine), and b) people really didn't care since they liked Clinton as a person. Due to people connecting with or looking down on Clinton, he was able to get by with a warning.
George W. Bush is in a similar situation in that people tend to look down on him or don't really care what he does. Although Gore doesn't come right out and say it, the Democrats laid the groundwork to exonerate Bush because of their attitude towards impeaching Clinton. Sure, they'll try to say that lying to get us into war is more serious than lying about sex, but the problem with that notion is that many of the Democrats crying for Bush's impeachment said Iraq had WMDs and that Saddam should be removed from power. Oops.
Let's also remember that Democrats raised a huge stink about how much money Ken Starr spent to investigate Clinton. How much do you think it will cost to investigate Bush? If the Democrats aren't just blowing smoke about all the crimes Bush committed, it will take more money to investigate them than it would be worth.
And let's not forget that Nancy Pelosi said impeachment was "off the table." Given recent polling data showing Congress's approval rating being lower than that of Bush, to put impeachment back on the table would be a flip-flop that would drive the Democrats' approval ratings even further down. Starting impeachment proceedings would bring back visions of the Clinton impeachment, where Democrats complained that it "distracted" Clinton, that it was a "partisan witchhunt," and that Congress "wasn't doing the work of the people." And they'll be hard-pressed to come up with justifications for distracting Bush (who they already say is dumb), going on a partisan witchhunt, and not doing the work of the people.
Al Gore may not be on the cutting edge of much, but he deserves some credit for coming to the conclusion that Congressional Democrats shouldn't try to impeach George W. Bush. It would be an exercise not only in futility, but in hypocrisy.