Her op-ed earlier this week focused on immigration. Today’s op-ed is a more comprehensive indictment, starting with the case that “high crimes and misdemeanors” includes dereliction of duty, not just statutory crimes.
I want to quote this part:
Impeachment is the ultimate check on an out-of-control executive branch. It is serious, not to be used for petty partisan purposes; and it is imperative that it becomes a matter of legitimate discussion before the American people lose all trust in our federal government.
Impeachment requires moral courage to advance what is right, and it requires political will. A complacent or disheartened electorate may silently endure these abuses from the administration, the permanent political class is only too happy to maintain the status quo, and the mainstream media is not a fair watchdog. So, the nation’s last line of defense is for We the People to rise up and say, “enough is enough.”…
Some argue that at best the House might vote for articles of impeachment, but the Senate is unlikely to convict. But that is no argument against holding a president accountable and sending the people’s message to all successors…
The only thing necessary to transform America into something unrecognizable is for good men to do nothing! If not these violations and the president’s promise to continue to “go it alone” in ignoring the separation of powers and rule of law, what will it take for you to take a stand? How bad does it have to get?
Ultimately, she’s saying, this all comes down to public outrage, which is exactly right — but that’s why there’s going to be no impeachment. Right? If the wider public shared her many objections to Obama — power grabs, amnesty, ObamaCare, NSA spying, Benghazi, the Bergdahl prisoner swap — his job approval would be in single digits. As it is, he’s at 41 percent, which is poor but not nearly so atrociously bad that any congressional Democrats would feel compelled to remove him from office. Even among the 54-55 percent who disapprove of his job performance, there are bound to be loads of people who think that he’s guilty of nothing more than incompetence, not dereliction of duty worthy of the first successful forcible ouster of the president in American history. I haven’t seen any polls on impeachment lately, but I’d guess that impeachment supporters would start with something like 55-60 percent of the public opposed (all Democrats and a majority of indies) and 40 percent or so in favor (most Republicans). Once the media went to work on “GOP extremism,” Democrats started rolling out talking points about how the “party of no” isn’t interested in real solutions for the middle class, and a few centrist Republicans in Congress publicly expressed opposition, it’d probably move another 10 points against. What then?
Rick Wilson wrote a post for Ricochet yesterday about the impossible politics of steering impeachment through Congress:
Give me your elevator pitch, not for impeachment qua impeachment, but for how the story plays out from the announcement to Obama mounting the steps of Marine One and flashing a Nixonian farewell salute. What’s your Day One communication strategy when we begin impeachment proceedings? What’s the Day Two strategy? What’s the strategy after the first week? Who are the legislative handlers? Who are the key faces for the media? What’s the timetable, the media plan, the surrogate plan…all the boring block-and-tackle stuff? What happens when your rock-solid arguments melt under legal challenges from every quarter?
Did you remember there are other players in this game? Did you forget that the American people are notoriously fickle? Did you forget that the media still yields a mighty power to misrepresent, to distort, and to flat-out lie about what you’re trying to accomplish? What happens when this raises $50 million in online donation for the bad guys? What happens when they start dropping oppo like nukes on every member of the impeachment committee? What happens when Americans who are bored and restless decide you’re not talking about their lives, but just playing inside Washington games? What happens to the message strategy of every GOP House, Senate, and Governor candidate in the country? What happens when this doesn’t turn bring the White House to heel but instead becomes the only rallying cry that could wake Democrats from their post-Obama, post-Obamacare funk? What happens when Harry Reid slits your throat by not allowing the Senate to pass judgment.
All of which, again, is to say that Palin’s right — it’s the public that will determine whether impeachment is viable or not. What evidence do you have, though, that they think it’s viable? Outside of conservative media, who out there in the electorate is terribly exercised about Obama planning to unilaterally amnestize five million illegals once he’s busy shrugging off the current border crisis? Jonathan Turley seems pretty upset, and … that’s about it. The hard truth, I think, is that Americans don’t much care how the federal government operates as long as it gets them to an outcome they prefer. Raising the minimum wage is popular within the general electorate; if Obama issued an order tomorrow decreeing that that wage shall be raised, whether or not Congress approves, that’d be an egregious affront to separation of powers but even that probably wouldn’t inspire much outrage outside the right. Most voters would conclude that they like the outcome, so oh well. Whether that’s always been the case or is something new that’s developed, possibly (and ironically) as a reaction to growing cynicism about government, is beyond my reach. But it may be (also ironically) that our complacent political class, which Palin correctly identifies as being happy with the status quo, is nonetheless a better bet at this point to police itself on civic issues like separation of powers than the broader public is to police it. That’s the only reason I can think of for why Obama hasn’t (yet) issued the sort of minimum-wage order I just described. Maybe, for now, that’s a constitutional bridge too far even for him, although probably not for most of his voters. Gonna take a very high crime for Americans to ever support impeachment, I suspect, even as the weak norms against broad executive control of government continue to erode.
In related news, even some of the more solidly conservative members of the House see impeachment as an exercise in futility. Exit question: If I’m wrong about all this and the public is secretly ready to rally to the GOP’s side against O, then impeaching him would be a political winner even if Harry Reid blocks it in the Senate. Political parties usually rush to seize a political winner when they see it — and yet Republicans across the spectrum, from Boehner and McCain to Ted Cruz and Erick Erickson, seem reluctant to pursue this one. How come?