The Impeachniks Roar

There have been only two presidential impeachments in the 224 years since George Washington became America's first president. Both—of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and of Bill Clinton in 1998—failed to get the required two-thirds majority in the Senate. And Richard Nixon, of course, was about to be impeached in 1974 when he chose to resign instead; unlike the other two, there would have been nothing partisan about Nixon's impeachment and he almost certainly would have been convicted. There are always some partisans of the party out of power who would like to impeach the president, simply because it's the only way to get rid of him if you can't beat him at the polls. But a presidency without too much actual criminality shouldn't produce too many such armchair prosecutors. Or so you'd think.

But these are no ordinary times, and the Republican thirst for impeaching Barack Obama (or "Barack Hussein Obama," as impeachniks inevitably call him) has gone mainstream, as evidenced by the fact that The New York Times featured a story about it over the weekend. The pattern is becoming familiar: at a town hall meeting, a member of the House or Senate is confronted by a constituent practically quivering with anger and hatred at the President. The constituent demands to know why impeachment hasn't happened yet. The Republican politician nods sympathetically, then explains that though he'd like nothing more than to see Obama driven from office, it would require a vote of the House and then a trial and conviction vote in the Senate, and that just isn't going to happen.

As Steve Benen said, "I remember the good old days—back in 2011—when unhinged conservative Republicans in Congress used to come up with pretenses of high crimes when talking up presidential impeachment. Lately, they don't even bother. Obama is the president; he's a Democrat; the right doesn't like him; ergo impeachment is a credible option. QED." Take, for instance, Representative Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan. When the ritual question came to him, Bentivolio said it would be "a dream come true" for him to submit a resolution to impeach Obama. But he lamented the fact that "Until we have evidence, you're going to become a laughingstock if you've submitted the bill to impeach the president." I mean, come on—evidence? What is this, Judge Judy or something? No constitutional scholar he, the congressman only realized this bit about "evidence" after doing some careful research. "I've had lawyers come in—and these are lawyers, PhD.s in history, and I said, 'Tell me how I can impeach the president of the United States.' [They replied,] 'What evidence do you have?'" The nerve!

Meanwhile, out in the ideological hinterlands, the rabble are getting roused. People are putting "Impeach Obama" signs on overpasses! There's a Facebook page! "Movement To Impeach Obama Snowballing" shouts World Net Daily (along with a plea to "Visit WND's online Impeachment Store to see all the products related to ousting Obama").

To be sure, it isn't that there aren't plenty of Republicans who reject impeachment out of hand, because there are. But they're regarded by many in the base as contemptible quislings; within the party, the moderate middle position is now occupied by those who wouldn't mind impeaching Obama, but realize that the practical hurdles are too difficult to overcome. And yes, there were liberals who wanted to impeach George W. Bush back in the day, but they were almost all fringe characters. They weren't the people making our laws. As always, on the right the extremism goes much farther up the tree.

There will come a point—around October of 2016, I'm guessing—where this insanity will just peter out. But between now and then it could well grow more intense, with more and more members of Congress (not to mention 2016 presidential candidates) forced to take a position of sympathy toward impeaching Obama. For the base, disappointment long ago turned to anger, which is now turning to a kind of guttural explosion of rage. Like early primates who find that all the shrieking and pounding of chests has failed to drive off the interlopers who had the temerity to walk right in and think they could coexist in this part of the forest, they're left with nothing to do but to fling their shit in the general direction of those they hate and fear. But hey, America is "polarized" and both sides are equally to blame, right?

Comments

No, not right. George bush was a nice guy, not very bright, but nice. His cronies assisted in lying to us about a need to invade Iraq. We have muddled through two unfounded wars started by bush and an economy that fell to its knees, but is recovering. the war in iraq ended and the war in afghanistan is coming to an end. Obama did that. The debt has been cut in half. Obama did that. We have healthcare reform. Obama did that. Regulatory reform of Wall Street, although that needs to be tougher. Don't ask, don't tell. Saved the auto industry. Is investing in clean energy. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter bill for equal pay for equal work. Killed bin laden. Passed the economic recovery act. Protected unemployment benefits. Gave tax benefits to employers who hired veterans. Provided consumer protection from financial institutions. Forced BP to pay for the damage from the gulf oil spill. Won an $11 billion settlement for freddy mae and freddy mac.

Obama did all that and many other good things, all while a destructive Republican Party tried to block everything he tried--and admitted that's what they were doing.

Impeach obama? For what? I would suggest that we arrest bush and his neocon buddies and try them for treason. I think that there is more than enough evidence to support that. since treason can only occur during war, I think the murder of thousands of soldiers and civilians brought about by countless lies passes the litmus test.

"The debt has been cut in half. Obama did that." Don't let facts get in your way, you are on a roll!!! :-)

I think he meant the annual "deficit" has been cut in half. Noticed you only picked one item for your disputing of "facts." Care to tackle some of the others?

sure, how 'bout "healthcare reform" that unions and congressional staffers are end running as fast as their dirty little feet will let them. how bout the nevada afl-cio issuing a damning statement on this debacle. yeah he "passed it", with the help of partisan cronies, but that doesn't mean it goes automatically in the "plus" column. wait til people witness the famous lie ("if you like your doctor, you can keep him, if you like your plan, you can keep it) as it descends on their own little lives. maybe they'll finally realize what a narcissistic propagandist looks like.....

sure, how 'bout "healthcare reform" that unions and congressional staffers are end running as fast as their dirty little feet will let them. how bout the nevada afl-cio issuing a damning statement on this debacle. yeah he "passed it", with the help of partisan cronies, but that doesn't mean it goes automatically in the "plus" column. wait til people witness the famous lie ("if you like your doctor, you can keep him, if you like your plan, you can keep it) as it descends on their own little lives. maybe they'll finally realize what a narcissistic propagandist looks like.....

dbtexas,

The comment made was too inane and ignorant to be worthy of addressing point by point. It would be a waste of time and energy to try carrying on a debate with a person like rwittwer.

"The debt has been cut in half." lmfao. on mars, where you live?....

rwittwer,

To borrow a phrase from the author "...they're left with nothing to do but to fling their shit in the general direction of those they hate and fear." You are very successful at emulating that behavior and it also demonstrates very well how you need to learn to use your head for something besides a space maintainer.

We are still in afghanistan, and Iraq does not look so hot. We had less justification for intervening in Libya, and less again in Syria. Benghazi is a caldron of lies and incompetence.
"The Debt has been cut in half" ROTFL
Dodd-Frank is a disasterous mistake that the administration can not figure out how to impliment, PPACA - same.
The AutoBailout and the Recovery act were pork to unions and public employees.
We got into the housing mess atleast party as a result of "consumer protection from financial institutions"
Fanny and Freddie as one of the other big cuases of the current mess.

The GOP was upfront about blocking this and more. Someone has to say no to this idiocy.

I don't understand why liberals aren't leading the charge to impeach Obama, led by the fellow that would take over, Joe Biden. In 2007, Joe said he'd work to impeach Bush if he started a war without Congressional approval. The video is on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dRFJ6CF2Mw . As this author put it, Biden is seething with rage and anger as he draws his line in the sand: Congress must approve it first.

As for Obama's accomplishments, I must admit I am impressed too. He reset relations with Russia. He closed Guantanamo Bay. He cut the annual budget deficit to $200B by the end of his first term. He healed the planet, and caused the sea level to stop rising. We are much more respected throughout the world because Bush isn't running foreign policy. His health care plan has reduced medical costs and provided more access to everyone. His economic policies are a huge success; we now enjoy strong economic growth and lots of jobs. He reduced tensions with Iran. He calmed racial tensions in the US. He restored our faith in government. He stopped unauthorized wiretaps. He protected whistleblowers.

/Sarcasm off.

Obama has engaged in unconstitutional acts and is fair game for impeachment. His despotic and tyrannical acts include the following:

--He has spied on Americans via the NSA, violating the rights of thousands.
--He has used the IRS to harass and bully political dissenters.
--Like a Roman emperor, he hopes to govern by executive edict, though he has no authority to do so. When the DREAM act on immigration failed in Congress, he forced his views on us by fiat in 2012, declaring he would not enforce the laws on illegal immigration.
--He issued exemptions to members of Congress on aspects of the Affordable Care Act, though he had no authority to do so.
--He is not enforcing the laws on illegal immigration, violating the requirement that "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" (Article II, section 3).
--He has made a scapegoat of an innocent filmmaker, blaming him for the attack on our embassy in Libya even though the administration knew all along that Al Qaeda was behind the attack. He allowed this lie to be promulgated partly in order to deflect criticism and win the 2012 election.
--His disastrous economic policy has helped contribute to 22 million unemployed or underemployed. It has choked and stifled the rights of many Americans, including the young, to pursue the careers of their choice.
--He has put his party above the Constitution and the common good of the nation.
--He sent troops to Libya without Congressional authorization, violating Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

"early primates who find that all the shrieking and pounding of chests has failed to drive off the interlopers who had the temerity to walk right in and think they could coexist in this part of the forest, they're left with nothing to do but to fling their shit in the general direction of those they hate and fear."
--Actually, this seems like a fairly good description of how many on the left treat dissenters. It's no secret at this point that many leftists are exceedingly intolerant. They've tried to get rid of dissent in many left-controlled institutions, including many media outlets and universities. Even a poor rural rodeo clown must not be allowed to perform a satire; he must be fired. All dissent must be rooted out and destroyed, with Saul Alinsky as the guiding star.

To paraphrase your response: "I know you are, but what am I?" Geez man, my 6 year old outgrew that one 2 years ago. Have some dignity.

It should be pointed out that impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one. High crimes and misdemeanors actually has a specific meaning in common law. That meaning is harm to the society you are in. A President who was a drunken sot and did not preform his duties or miss preformed them, even if he broke no actual laws could fall under this rule. Impeachment is a political remedy to remove a President that is harmful to our society. I can understand why conservatives would wistfully think about impeachment without actually contemplating it.

There are numerous excellent reasons to impeach Pres. Obama.
Flouting the rule of law at the top of the list.

But this is not going to happen.

That is a crime. The Nixon impeachment threat and resignation restrained presidential overreach for decades.
If congress fails to require this president to follow the law, subsequent presidents will be even freer to ignore it with impunity.

But the "high crimes and misdemeanors" of this administration are not particularly sexy, there are no stained dresses, no arguments over whether oral sex is sex. this presidents offenses are mundane, deliberate or incompetent failures to do the job, often failing at tasks he begged for.

The real outcome is that the next president will be even freer to rule by dictat rather than law.

Oh Please! A couple of Republicans have mentioned the word impeachment and the left is all atwitter. Clearly Obama is the most corrupt and lawless President to ever sit in the White House. Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the Justice Dept spying on the press, and now Obama's massive, domestic, police state, spy program that is totally out of control abusing the rights of American. You can bet that the Obama regime was reading every email from the Romney campaign and RNC during the election campaign last year. Obama has far surpassed the abuse and illegality of Richard Nixon. However, the facts are that the democrats and Poodle Media are supporting Obama's law breaking, and with a few exception cheering it on. They may regret it when it sets a precedent for future Presidents, but with the democrats in control of the Senate and backing Obama's massive violations of the Contitution there's no chance of a conviction. The Majority of Republican no doubt think Obama should be impeached. They are right. They also know it would be a waste of time to try. This isn't going anywhere, and this article is mostly nonsense.

Four GOPer's commented on impeachment, four! And three of them advised against it. Thats all it take these days to set off the MSNBC wing-nuts.

"And yes, there were liberals who wanted to impeach George W. Bush back in the day, but they were almost all fringe characters. They weren't the people making our laws. As always, on the right the extremism goes much farther up the tree." - Paul Waldman

A few seconds with Wikipedia turns up this:

"During the presidency of George W. Bush, several American politicians sought to either investigate Bush for allegedly impeachable offenses, or to bring actual impeachment charges on the floor of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The most significant of these efforts occurred on June 10, 2008, when Congressman Dennis Kucinich, along with co-sponsor Robert Wexler, introduced 35 articles of impeachment against Bush to the U.S. House of Representatives... The Kucinich/Wexler impeachment resolution contained 35 articles covering the Iraq war, the Valerie Plame affair, creating a case for war with Iran, capture and treatment of prisoners of war, spying and or wiretapping inside the United States, use of signing statements, failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas, the 2004 elections, Medicare, Hurricane Katrina, global warming, and 9/11."

Now, I suppose you could say that Dennis Kucinich, as a known wackjob with no legislative accomplishments, doesn't really count as someone who was "making our laws." But there's also this:

"On June 16, 2005 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) assembled an unofficial meeting to discuss the Downing Street memo and to consider grounds for impeachment.

Conyers filed a resolution on December 18, 2005 to create an investigative committee to consider impeachment. His resolution gained 38 co-sponsors before it expired at the end of the 109th Congress. He did not reintroduce a similar resolution for the 110th Congress."

Now, it's possible that today's Republicans have done much more than Democrats in 2005 or 2008, but Mr. Waldman doesn't actually mention any examples. I'd say his premise is rather weak.

Democratic Senate hopeful Kesha Rogers doubled down on her calls to impeach President Barack Obama in an interview taped Friday, as the party establishment continues to pull away from her candidacy.

Rogers refuted the suggestion that her stance might be unpopular with Democratic voters, whose votes Rogers needs in the party’s May runoff with Dallas dentist David Alameel.

“It is popular with Democrats who recognize that this president is continuing the Bush-Cheney policy, and recognize you have a Wall Street control in the Democratic Party that must be removed now.

Rogers received 22 percent of the March primary vote, but forced Alameel into a runoff. The interview was taped for the television show Lone Star Politics, a joint program between NBC5 and the Dallas Morning News. The entire segment airs Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on KXAS-TV(NBC5).

The Texas Democratic Party wants nothing to do with Rogers. Gilberto Hinojosa, the party chairman, sent out an email blast before the primary election warning voters against voting for Rogers, calling her an “insult to our party, our president, our state [and] our Democratic values.”
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