It is next to impossible to come up with a more cynical political strategy than the Democratic Party’s current attempts to goad their Republican opposition into impeaching President Barack Obama. Facing what could be a disastrous midterm season, the party in control of the White House has fired every last shot they have in the effort to gin up enthusiasm among their base voters, and they have all but given up on governing in a manner which might elicit a positive response from the electorate.
Republicans, well aware of how impeachment backfired politically in 1998, are not biting. So, the Democratic Party’s last hope is to convince the press that Republicans are plotting in secret to impeach Obama but are just too savvy to talk about this intrigue in public. This tactic worked for about a week, and the closed population inside America’s newsrooms did seem convinced that House Republicans may introduce articles of impeachment at some point in the future.
Now, however, the evidence is so overwhelming that it is Democrats and not Republicans who are most desirous of impeachment that even the press cannot maintain the fiction that Obama is facing any serious threat from the House GOP.
According to a report in The Hill, since the beginning of the 113th Congress in 2013, Democrats have talked about impeachment 20 times more than have their Republican counterparts.
Since the start of the 113th Congress last year, Democrats have used the word “impeach” or “impeachment” regarding Obama 86 times, according to a review of the Congressional Record by The Hill.
Utterances on the floor from Republicans about impeaching Obama, in contrast, have been relatively rare. Only three Republicans in this Congress have raised the subject on the House floor, and the words have been used a total of four times by GOP members.
Most of the talk has come from House Democrats, with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) alone using the words 18 times in two separate speeches late last month.
You might remember that the political press put immense pressure on Republicans to not use the special panel empowered to investigate the Benghazi attacks in fundraising pitches. Nearly every member of the House GOP leadership was asked to go on record pledging not to fundraise off of that issue and to leverage the GOP’s campaign committees to do the same. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough accused Republicans of acting in a “disgusting” fashion, insisting that they “have undermined the credibility of this committee” by seeking to raise campaign funds off of the investigation.
And yet, nary a peep is heard from this chorus of scolds when Democrats craft an issue from whole cloth in order to frame the most powerful man on Earth as a victim of an overzealous opposition party, and then turn around and raise $2.1 million off of that fabricated issue in just one weekend.
And if you thought that it was just a handful of influential members of the media who were responding to the impeachment canard, you’d be wrong. NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollsters recently asked respondents for responses about what slogans they would like to see on a hypothetical protest sign. It seems a not insignificant number of politically shrewd Democrats opted to buttress the leadership’s strategy with some grassroots enthusiasm:
That’s not indicative of much, but it is telling in its own way.
UPDATE: Via Mary Katharine Ham, FiveThirtyEight analyst Nate Silver performed a bit of media analysis last week and made a completely unsurprising discovery.