After the Midterms: Impeachment?

As analysts and strategists and politicos keep reminding us, Barack Obama isn’t on the ballot this coming midterm election, except for the way in which he is. It’s now clear to anyone who doesn’t need it spelled out—and if you do, increasingly in recent weeks it’s being spelled out for you anyway—that the stealth issue of the upcoming congressional contest is the president’s impeachment. On the right, impeachment has become the wildfire crucible, and the purest purity test yet for those sanctified few who have managed to pass the others; that Obama hasn’t actually done anything to warrant impeachment, or at least anything as egregious as misleading a public into war, couldn’t be more beside the point. He’s Obama; his very existence calls for nullification; the historic fact of his presidency is a transgression against the national image of those Americans who more and more come to the conclusion that things started going very wrong in this country sometime around 1861.

Loath as it often is to do so in its various forms of self-righteous petulance, and sharing with the other end of the ideological spectrum as it does an ecstatic impulse for martyrdom, the left might want to consider waking the hell up. Presently the president’s low approval rating is due largely to falling numbers among Democrats for whom ending two wars, keeping out of two more, reforming health coverage, salvaging an economy, and setting back world terrorism is oh-so-two-or-three news-cycles ago. Republicans understand what’s at stake in this election, though the agitated base and the jaundiced professionals have different ideas as to what that is, the base believing it’s the salvation of an America that not only never existed but was never intended to, and the professionals believing it’s the salvation of the party. The professionals give impeachment lip service or at least silent assent while quietly realizing their party could do some waking up of its own; a political cynic, if that’s not a redundancy, might conclude that losing control of the Senate this November and thereby setting impeachment in motion is the best thing that could happen to Democrats, given the clarification it finally would bring to a slumbering—we’re a nation of somnambulists—center too uninterested to take the right seriously. Counting on both math and the possibility some lingering sense of justice may yet exist among Senate Republicans not named Inhofe or Kyl or Cruz, this assumes the drive to remove the president would fail.

As impeachment gains momentum, this all adds up to a predicament for the two men each likeliest to win (if the other doesn’t) their party’s presidential nomination in 2016. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senator Rand Paul would have no choice but to vote for impeachment and conviction respectively—otherwise dooming any prospective nomination—even as they fervently hope impeachment collapses before it dooms any possible election. Nothing would behoove them less, just as nothing will behoove Democrats more, to put the loose talk about impeachment front and center and make the midterms a referendum on it. Because everything about and around Barack Obama has always been high stakes, impeachment represents the current politics’ critical mass in an age when foreign policy crises, in the Crimea or elsewhere—a mere decade after partisanship still ended at the ocean’s edge when it came to invading Iraq, before that adventure unraveled—is just one more opportunity for trying to bring a presidency down. Over the next 30 months, rage at Obama will reach such velocity as to hurl off or suck under those who ride its whirlwind.  

Comments

Oooooh, let's really scare 'em into voting!

Scaremonger much? It *would* fail. Republicans are slightly favored to take the Senate, it's true, but there isn't a chance in hell they will get a two-thirds majority, which is what you need to convict an impeached President. Unless Issa somehow comes up with a real example of Obama malfeasance at last, no Democrat will vote for such a travesty, and I suspect a few Senate Republicans would break ranks to join them.

And Republican leaders know this perfectly well. They won't do anything of the kind. If they do well in 2014 and take the Senate, Republicans will have a shot at the trifecta in 2016; they aren't about to throw that away for a doomed impeachment gesture. If they do? Then Hillary Clinton will take them to the cleaners.

"Presently the president’s low approval rating is due largely to falling numbers among Democrats for whom ending two wars, keeping out of two more, reforming health coverage, salvaging an economy, and setting back world terrorism is oh-so-two-or-three news-cycles ago. "

The president's low approval rating is due largely to taking 6 years to end those two wars, not closing gitmo as he promised, taking too damn long to do much for the economic recovery, for being way to weak on world terrorism, and for not standing up for his own health care reform.

If Obama had let the Bush tax cuts expire the first time around this country would be much farther along to full recovery.

If Obama had closed Gitmo and pushed forward the investigation of torture the republicans would be running scared, instead of walking all over him.

If Obama spoke the simple truth about terror he would be respected, instead of a joke. I don't support Hillary, but she is right, Crimea is the Suedentenland of the 21st century. If Obama spoke plain English on that he would get more respect. Saudi Arabia is the source of 9-11 and almost all terror against the US, it not completely all. Iran is not a source of terror in this world, and is no threat at all to the US or any US ally. Obama should say so and start dismantling the sanctions.

The promise that you can keep your policy and your doctor is written into the law. If Obama actually knows what is in the law, if he actually cared, he needs to say it's there, and the insurance companies that claim canceling those policies is forced by the ACA are guilty of fraud, and the company officers will be criminally prosecuted if the don't get it right.

Obama needs to grow some balls. I don't give a damn what you think about my wording, that job is too damn important to be weak in it. It's time to start speaking plainly. Then and only then will he be respected.

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