Carl has commanded us to talk about impeaching Obama:  Little repulsed me more than the Republican approach to impeaching Clinton.  They acted that it was self-evident that he should be removed, and so they didn’t campaign on that case in 1998.  The result was, of course, the impeachment became a laughable formality and Newt became an ex-speaker.  Another result is that Clinton has been vindicated by history, because no Republican historian is continuing the battle for how and what to remember.

So if the Republicans are serious about impeaching Obama, they will have to campaign on it in 2014.  The case would not become self-evident to most Americans—in part because the Republicans would inevitably be inept in making it and the MSM would use every conceivable weapon to deconstruct it.   It would undermine the Republican effort—which will be less effective than we will wish in any event—to recapture the Senate.

The Republicans NEED, most of all, to deprive the president of the perception of anyone, anywhere thinking he has some kind of MANDATE.  And they need to strengthen their legistlative position to the point where the president will be compelled to negotiate with them from a position of relative weakness.  Impeachment would be a diversion from can reasonably be done.  (In that respect, it would be like the ridiculous government shut-down display.)

Not only that, I think it’s a mistake to imagine that the president’s present swoon in public support is permament.  Having to struggle to avoid impeachment would, in fact, improve his situation.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking he wouldn’t, once again, be relatively impressive in campaign mode.  And the employment situation, despite everything, seems to be improving.

I doubt fear of impeachment would contain the president’s behavior.  I can’t see the road by which he’s going to end up being obsessed by that fear, much less impeachment and removal.  Being impeached and not removed is, after all, pretty cool.  (Ask Clinton and it goes without saying what the combative Andrew Johnson thought.)

To quote the comedian.  “Two words that explain why we should be very reluctant to think about removing President Obama:  President Biden.”

My actual opinion, if anyone cares, is that the case for actually impeaching Obama has enough partisan or contentious elements to remind me of the corresponding case by liberals to impeach Bush the younger in his second term.  Impeachment is one of those beyond reasonable doubt things.  The tyrannical features of Obama’s administration could be more than adequately countered by capable Republicans controlling both chambers of our Congress.  And a clueless foreign policy would only be cause for impeachment if the danger to the country became extremely clear and present.

Impeachment as a “constitutional means” has yet to be purged of the taint of partisanship—even in the case of Nixon being hounded from office.  But it seems to me it would have to be if we’re to take seriously the president’s fixed term.  Elections have consequences, and nothing that’s happened couldn’t have been anticipated by a reasonably savvy voter.  And the theory of our democracy assumes, more than we like to think sometimes, the intelligence of the American voter.

 

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Articles by Peter Lawler

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