(Yes, that is a pic of a zombie. What graphic would you have used?)
Bush to Dems: "I dare you to impeach me."
There was no reason to do this except one, and it wasn't pandering to the arch-conservative base. It was nothing more or less than a display of power as an act of high political theater. It was a dare. The Democrats in Congress will do nothing.
Consider what initial hearings (preparatory to impeachment) would show about this scandal alone (leaving aside the other crimes: the lies, the war, the torture, the eavesdropping, Katrina, the abuse of the separation of powers):
(*) Libby was the one indicted, but others did the leaking.
(*) Disclosing Plame's CIA status violated not only the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act of 1917, but a Clinton-era executive order (which has been modified but continues to carry the force of law).
(*) Under Ashcroft, the FBI & Department of Justice dragged their feet for almost five months after the CIA formally requested an investigation into the leak, in July 2003. The first sign that the White House would cooperate with the investigation is here (PDF warning) and is dated December 16, 2003.
There's much more, of course, and all the other bloggers nail the details.
The point for today is merely this: Bush knows what will come in hearings, and he thought his best plan was was to give two great big middle-finger salutes to the world, just to show he can. And his assessment is almost certainly correct: The Democrats will let him get away with it. Unless they are made not to.