I’m honestly surprised. I knew most Republican pols would disagree with her simply because of the politics involved, but I thought there’d be a few tea partiers in the House who sided with her on principle. As it is, unless I’ve missed something, not a single member of Congress is willing to say that Obama not only deserves to go but that the House should make a move in that direction.
House tea partiers are cool to the idea too. Raul Labrador, who challenged Kevin McCarthy for majority leader last month, was especially blunt:
“I believe that Sarah Palin, who has given us good information on some issues, doesn’t have the burden of leadership right now,” Labrador said. “It’s really easy for her to go on Fox News and make statements that she doesn’t have to be accountable [for] to anybody but herself.”
Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) said he worried that impeachment could be politically disastrous for Republicans in November.
“Every political analyst, almost, that’s really looked at this … has said that nothing would fire up the base of the Democrats more than an impeachment action, and also perhaps more importantly that it would turn off some of the independents who are right now leaning our way, ” Duncan said. “If you want to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate, this would be one way to do it, to start impeachment action.”
Other attendees at the presser were skeptical. Jim Jordan said he’s happy with Boehner’s plan to challenge Obama by suing him instead. Tim Huelskamp said Palin is echoing Americans’ concerns about Obama’s lawlessness but he feared that trying to impeach him would rile up Democrats and independents and jeopardize expected GOP gains in the midterms. (“So if you want to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate, this would be the right way to do that.”) Randy Weber went so far as to say that Obama deserves impeachment — but “it’s not practical, we don’t have the Senate.” Literally no one’s willing to endorse this idea, even guys like Huelskamp from solidly red districts who have nothing personally to fear by way of a backlash. Everyone on the Hill is on the same page — no diversions before November.
What about after November, though? If Republicans take back the Senate, 2015 and 2016 will be two of the most boring years on record legislatively. The only major bill with a prayer of being signed into law is immigration reform, and the longer the border crisis drags on, the less likely that seems. You could, in theory, try to impeach O next year with no fear of damaging any policy initiatives — except that the emerging GOP presidential field will be terrified of the backlash they might face at the polls in 2016. And even people like Weber who are lukewarm to the idea will end up arguing that it’s silly to try to impeach a guy who’s in his seventh year as president. Just ride it out, focus on winning the White House, and then undo his worst executive actions with a few penstrokes. Only a mass amnesty could potentially change that equation, I think. Which, given O’s interest potentially in baiting the GOP into trying to remove him, might just sweeten the pot for him in following through.