Something very strange is happening on Capitol Hill. Democrats can’t talk enough about impeaching a president of their own party. And Republicans keep saying that there isn’t a chance they’ll give it a try…
There is some concern within GOP leadership that the movement could swell if Obama soon takes unilateral action to halt the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Congress will be out of session for all of August, and many lawmakers will be spending time with their constituents back home in their solidly conservative districts, with the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border simmering. These are not prime conditions for moderation…
“I don’t think it would be a problem getting a majority of votes out of the House” to impeach Obama, said a conservative House Republican. “But once it got to the Senate, it’s not going to go anywhere. … Not everybody is going to agree with this, but we got a lot on our plate right now of things we’ve got to fix immediately rather than doing some type of symbolic action.”
Chris Wallace of Fox News: Will you consider impeaching the president?
Scalise: This might be the first White House in history that’s trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president. Ultimately, what we want to do is see the president follow the laws…
Wallace: If he overreaches again on executive action to defer more deportations, what will the House do?
Scalise: We made it clear we’re going to put options on the table to allow the House take legal action against the president when he overreaches his authority… We’re going to continue to be a check and a balance against this administration.
Wallace: But impeachment is off the table?
Scalise: The White House wants to talk about impeachment and ironically they’re going out and trying to fundraise off that, too.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said Scalise was “refusing to rule out” impeachment.
“The fact that the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House is refusing to rule out impeachment offers a stunning view of the extreme measures this Republican Congress will take to push their reckless partisan agenda,” Israel said. “Republicans will spend the final week before their summer vacation plotting their lawsuit against the president, and now Scalise just made it clear that impeachment is absolutely on the table for House Republicans.”…
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) told WND.com that Obama wants House Republicans to impeach him.
In an interview with the conservative news site, he said Obama wants House Republicans to impeach him before the midterm election “because his senior advisers believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat.”
Back in 1998, there was an intense internal debate among Republicans over how much to make the midterms about President Bill Clinton. The strategists who favored attacking the president won the day, but in the end their strategy didn’t work out. Now, there is an intense internal debate among Republicans over how much to make the 2014 midterms about President Barack Obama…
Democrats had successfully argued that Republicans were so obsessed with getting Clinton that they weren’t paying enough attention to the concerns of the American people…
Still, the GOP base is infuriated with Obama, particularly his abuse of executive power. And although Speaker Boehner has shown zero interest in the topic, a few Republican lawmakers are mentioning impeachment. Some party veterans worry that an Obama-focused midterm campaign will yield the same lackluster results as 1998.
Of course, Democrats would love to see Republicans blow their own chances. From the White House down to the party fundraising machine, Democrats have been trolling 24-7 in a transparent effort to goad Republicans into a self-destructive impeachment attempt. “They are desperate to reprise ’98,” says the GOP veteran of his Democratic adversaries. “Not just impeachment, but this whole idea that we’re going to make it all about the president again.”
“There is a rumor that the president, around Labor Day, may use executive action to legalize five million people who are here outside the law,” Gingrich said during a speech Tuesday, sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation. “And I think if they do it, it will be trying to provoke the Republicans to institute impeachment.”
Asked if Republicans should impeach Obama, Gingrich replied: “No.”
“It won’t succeed in impeaching Obama,” Gingrich said. “It’s the Democrats who want to talk about it because they raise money off of it.”…
“These people are pretty desperate,” Gingrich said. “Nothing is working. And so they are looking for some fight that allows them to re-polarize the country in terms that help them in the election.
After Pfeiffer made his comment about impeachment at a breakfast with reporters on Thursday, the Democrats’ congressional campaign arm sent out a series of e-mail pitches that cited impeachment — and pulled in $2.1 million in online donations, the best four-day haul of the current election cycle.
The average donation was under $19, a sign that the appeal was reaching deeply into the Democrats’ grassroots, and 75,000 of the contributions came from donors who had never given to the DCCC before, officials said…
Democratic strategists also believe that a perceived threat to impeach the first African-American president will also give that crucial segment of the Democratic base an incentive to vote.
On Monday night, members of the Congressional Black Caucus spent an hour on the House floor railing against what they declared the “GOP march toward impeachment,” arguing that the pursuit of a lawsuit over Obama’s use of executive actions is just the first step toward an attempt at his removal.
“What else can we possibly do with this impeachment stuff?”
“I got it. Put circles around the letters." pic.twitter.com/tFiWpc5zEr
— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) July 29, 2014
Boehner and other Republican leaders are now trying to walk an impossible tightrope. On one hand, they’re arguing that they have no interest in impeaching the president — they know that it would be a political catastrophe if they did — and any suggestion to the contrary is nothing but Democratic calumny. On the other hand, they’re arguing that Obama is a lawless tyrant who is trampling on the Constitution. If that contradiction has put them in a difficult situation, they have no one to blame but themselves…
According to a YouGov poll taken earlier this month, 89 percent of Republicans think “Barack Obama has exceeded the limits of authority granted a President by the US Constitution,” and 68 percent think there is “justification for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama at this time.” Even when given a number of options including “President Obama has abused his powers as president which rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution, but he should not be impeached,” 63 percent still said he ought to be impeached. A CNN poll found a smaller number of Republicans saying Obama should be impeached, but still a majority of 57 percent.
So the idea that Boehner characterizes as a crazy Democratic slander is the majority position among Republican voters. And they didn’t get the idea from nowhere. They got it because the people they trust — Republican politicians and conservative media figures — have been telling them for years, but with particularly ferocity in the last few months, that Barack Obama is a lawless tyrant who is trampling on the Constitution. They’ve been hearing this not just from the Sean Hannitys and Steve Kings of the world, but from every Republican, up to and including the GOP congressional leadership, on a daily basis. Of course those Republican voters think he should be impeached. It’s absurd for people like Boehner to turn around and say, “Whoa now, who’s thinking of impeachment? That’s just Democrats saying that.”
We slipped off of the foundations of the Constitution a long time ago. The fact is, nearly half of the country still supports Obama and his policies including his lawlessness (to the extent that they even know about any of that), and the fact is, the politics of impeaching the nation’s first black president are so dire that they ought to force even Obama’s most ardent critics to think long and hard about the full implications of taking that step.
Nevertheless, the threat of impeachment ought to hang over the head of every president as a powerful disincentive to act outside his powers. Presidents are not kings; Congress should be able to remove them for lawbreaking. President Obama’s recent talk of impeachment, his party fundraising off of the made-up threat, his communications advisers playing that made-up threat for all it’s worth, have cornered Boehner. Impeachment no longer hangs over Obama’s head. He has taken that piece off the board…
Barack Obama has set up his final two years in the presidency to be a continuing series of constitutional wars and crises, in which he will never face the most potent constitutional weapon that could be used against him. A national leader who cares about the nation’s well-being would recoil from even the possibility of instigated such conflict for the country. But Barack Obama is not and has never intended to be a national leader. He leads his party and those who support him, and the rest of us are mere enemies to be punished.
I think we’re at the point where Obama is actively doing things he knows he has no power to do — because he wants Republicans to mount an effort to impeach him. That would be a political winner, since Americans are generally rationally ignorant of constitutional processes, and impeachment polls badly as a result. They don’t really care whether Obama exceeds his lawful authority if they like what he’s doing, and they see impeachment, not as a necessary Constitutional corrective, but as an irritation brought about by those stupid politicians who can’t get along. And Big Media tells us that when the two sides don’t get along, it’s usually the Republicans’ fault, and who are we to argue?
We get the government we deserve. The idea that the Constitution restrains the branches is pretty much dead; its provisions don’t matter when the public is unwilling to back the side whose territory is being infringed.
Andrew Jackson is famous for saying: “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” Well, Barack Obama is saying: “Congress may have the ability to rein me in. Let’s see them do it.”
They won’t. And there goes the system of checks and balances. And what will the public do about it?
Via the Washington Free Beacon.
Skip to 5:30.