Impeaching Bush junior after lying to go to war and sanctioning torture was "off the table," according to Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker.
Compare that to today when Michigan Rep. Kerry Bentilovio, a tea-party Republican, said it would be a dream come true to impeach Obama.
"I stood 12 feet away from the guy and listened to him, and I couldn't stand being there," Bentilovio said in a quote picked up by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.
As Dowd summed it up, "For some of the rodeo clowns clamoring for impeachment around the country, Barack Obama's real crime is presiding while black."
After two centrist Democrats - Clinton and Obama - party members seem appeased just to have their logo on Pennsylvania Avenue. Those presidents and members of Congress have done very little to promote Democratic policies.
As a result, Republicans have moved steadily to the right, and ideas that were once howlers when Barry Goldwater espoused them are now the norm. We get bank deregulation, war without end, war on women and minorities, and an economic system that rewards the rich for being rich.
It's not only Democratic cowardice to stand up to the right-wing surge. The right has a highly organized network of think tanks and deep pockets (think Koch brothers) to feed free-market, undemocratic ideas to Republicans who take them all the way to the goal line, especially in some states where they command huge majorities.
Liberals have nothing like this. They sit back and think that the common sense of Americans will eventually triumph.
I confess I don't know what liberals are afraid of. But the 2014 midterm election is just around the corner, and Republicans are already demonizing Hillary Clinton well ahead of 2016.
What are liberals doing? I don't know, but I know what they should be doing.
Stephen Dick is a columnist for CNHI News Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.