The Republican establishment is more afraid of impeachment talk than the White House and that says as much about their failure as Obama’s.
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Impeachment is in the news again not because anyone is seriously considering impeaching Obama since it is numerically and politically impossible for it to happen, but because it makes for a good political show.
Most of the current round of impeachment “talk” has centered around the narrative that the Democrats are just trying to gin up their base for the mid-terms in November and as usual the Republicans play right into the Democrats’ hands by immediately rejecting the idea that they would ever do such a thing. Putting aside any constitutional or legal arguments for impeachment, by taking it off the table politically the Republicans are doing what Obama does when he announces that the United States won’t put “boots on the ground” in any of the growing list of hotspots around the world. The Republicans, like Obama, are announcing before hand that they will not use the biggest weapon in their arsenal.
Of course for their own political benefit, Obama and the Democrats can’t allow the Republicans to cave so easily
Don’t dismiss the possibility of the House of Representatives bringing articles of impeachment against President Obama, senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said today.
Of course Pfeiffer and the White House want the possibility of impeachment to be kept in the news; they think it helps them politically. Despite that John Boehner and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that this particular constitutional tool will never be taken out of the tool box against this president, the Obama team keeps threatening themselves with it to keep the narrative alive. It reminds me of the “Blazing Saddle” scene where the new black sheriff points his own gun at his head and threatens to shoot unless the townspeople put down their weapons. Like the townspeople in the movie, the GOP immediately puts down their weapons. This current comedy though is not fiction.
But is there more to the White House tactic than motivating the Democratic base? Of course there is, if the progressive left is known for anything it is creative and multifaceted duplicity. After all, these are the same people who gave us the “if you like your insurance you can keep it,” formula for national healthcare, knowing that the key to their success (power) is just progressing their agenda until past lies are supplanted by new lies.
So what is their alternative motive for keeping the impeachment narrative going?
He [Pfieffer] went on to say that the executive actions being considered by the White House on immigration would probably “up the likelihood” of impeachment, making the point that lawmakers such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, already have said the president is violating the law with his unilateral moves on immigration.
What they are actually doing is setting the stage for even greater abuses of executive power in the next two years and painting any Republicans that might oppose them as “fringe.” This task is made easier by establishment Republicans who join the chorus singing from the no impeachment song book. No matter what further abuses occur, the Republican establishment has let it be known that they will not pull the impeachment arrow from their quiver.
So in the coming years, if Obama should unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of illegals or fly in refugees from Central America or a dozen other executive actions that Obama and the progressives would like to enact while they hold the reins of power, what will the Republicans do, sue him? Oh yeah they are already doing that, to what end? Even if a federal court agrees to hear the case, doubtful, and even if a court agrees that Obama is abusing his executive powers what will be the remedy, arrest him? Boehner’s lawsuit will never stop Obama from doing what he damned well pleases and Republicans better accept that reality.
This is the problem with caving to incremental changes to constitutional constraints; pretty soon there aren’t any. A president or a party just ignores the laws and since politics and parties now trump country and fidelity to the constitution, basically anything goes.
The reason Boehner and the establishment are taking impeachment off the table has nothing to do with a constitutional argument but with the “politics” of it. The issues which Boehner are using to sue Obama for are arguably impeachable offenses. If arbitrarily changing or refusing to enforce laws is not impeachable then what is? It is not even that Obama is claiming that these laws are unconstitutional - that would be justifiable – his actions and decrees are in his own words, meant to “bypass congress.” If a president is permitted to bypass congress for his own political or policy goals and by doing so he is violating clear constitutional limits on his authority then that is obviously a grounds for impeachment. As Hamilton explained inFederalist Paper #66.
An absolute or qualified negative in the executive upon the acts of the legislative body, is admitted, by the ablest adepts in political science, to be an indispensable barrier against the encroachments of the latter upon the former. And it may, perhaps, with no less reason be contended, that the powers relating to impeachments are, as before intimated, an essential check in the hands of that body upon the encroachments of the executive.
If I were a judge hearing the Boehner case against Obama, I would just read that passage and ask the lawyers from congress, “why are you bothering me with this, you have your own constitutional remedy for this.” Only impeachment and conviction can solve the problem by removing the president from office – what will a court do? Tell Obama to play nice?
It is all just a sideshow but a dangerous sideshow since, knowing that impeachment is off the table, Obama can go forward abusing his authority with increasing boldness, which he has as much as said he is going to do. The Republican establishment has not only removed their most effective weapon to reigning in Obama, they have invited him to carry out even greater harm to the checks and balances necessary to maintain our system of government.
The idea seems to be that Obama and his progressive allies will at some point play by the rules, but they never have and have no intention of ever doing so and worse, they are always two steps ahead of the Republicans. An example would be Harry Reid’s using the nuclear option to undo the filibuster when it comes to executive nominations. This allowed them to pack the DC Circuit with their cronies, virtually assuring that progressive legislation will now receive a nod from the second highest court in the land. The idea that progressives will suddenly adhere to the constitution and not find methods to circumvent it is childish naivety.
If impeachment is off the table due to political reasons, which it probably is, the reason is that the Republicans – with few exceptions – have failed to clearly and forcefully explain to the American public the danger that progressivism is to our constitutional republic. They have failed to be an opposition party to a movement which is on the verge of destroying that republic and worse, they have undermined those who seek to protect the nation from elitist tyranny and crony capitalism.
There is almost no chance that a political case will be made to impeach Obama, not because there is no case, but simply because the Republican Party has utterly failed to protect the constitution of the United States against progressive inroads. Whether this trend can be reversed is doubtful; but it certainly can not be reversed when the GOP as an institution not only fails to articulate a vision but seems to want to join the progressive cause in marginalizing those who want to defend that constitution.