This is the last of four Obama-and-impeachment posts.
The first, Why We Must Talk about Impeaching Obama is the one about the mechanics, about why it isnt decisive that the Senate wont convict, and how to consider the various arguments, touching race, elections, Joe Biden, etc., that Prudence might make against such talk. It also lays out my position of not actually urging impeachment, but rather, of urging House members to issue a pledge to seek impeachment if Obama continues to commit major violations of the Constitution.
The second, Kevin Williamson on Why Obama Deserves Impeachment , is the bill of constitutional violations committed by our President. It is not an exhaustive bill.
The third, just below, Federalist #65 on Impeachment , makes the case that such violations are the sorts of not-precisely-defined and left-to-political-judgment high crimes and misdemeanors that Publius would want Congress to use impeachment to punish, or at least to use the threat of it to check. There is no textual barrier to impeaching Obama right now.
This post concerns the more general crimes which make Barack Obama deserve what Federalist #65 calls perpetual ostracism from the esteem and confidence and honors and emoluments of his country. That is, the claim here is that Federalist #65 is open to a broader sort of impeachable offense than specific statutory crimes or violations of the Constitution. Call it the offense of Becoming Unworthy of the Office. Obama is guilty of it in three ways:
First, He Is a Shameless Serial Liar
You know, maybe all those who criticized the Republicans during the Clinton impeachment of being obsessed with sexual immorality were right. Which is worse, after all? Bill Clinton getting his semen on Monicas dress and so forth, or the continued bald-faced lying by Barack Obama on every other issue under the sun, and his use of premeditated and carefully orchestrated lies to get his major legislation passed? Now I know, Clinton impeachment was about perjury, obstruction of justice, etc.thats what the specific charges were about. But was it not also about the moral dishonor Clinton had brought upon his office? Is sexual immorality the only sort that does that?
Second, He Is a Threat to the Entire Constitutional Order
Read the Kevin Williamson Front Man piece, or just pick whichever of twenty conservative commentaries over the last several years you wish. It is the forest of violations, not simply the trees. And even more worrying than what he has done and may yet do to violate the Constitution, but the overall pattern of governance he is establishing, for future presidents and for the bureaucracies.
Third, He Has Divided and Alarmed the Citizenry as No Other President Ever Has .
Sure, his average poll number for approval still (unbelievably, to my mind!) hover around 42%, but the intensity , behind the 54%-or-so disapproval, is unprecedented. With the possible exception of Richard Nixon, and only for a year or so, no president has ever so frightened such large segments of the American populace. Things like the IRS scandal, coupled with an Obama-approved pattern of Democratic leadership (John Podesta, anyone?) that constantly demonizes half the population in an unprecedented way, threaten the very legitimacy of the government and civil peace itself. Sure, for now, the expectation of everyday American normality holds us together.
But still, ask yourself, has any other president made so many good Americans despair for the very future of the nation?
Fellow conservatives, I know you dont want to talk about Impeachment. But it seems to me that otherwise, by expecting in advance that our most grave charges against him cannot be taken with the seriousness they merit, our talk acquires a tone of unreality, and yes, of self-indulgence. Sometimes it feels as if we are letting a tendency we have to cynicism feed off Obama. And some of us have become nearly hateful, in an oddly complacent way, in the low-expectations we hold towards our fellow citizens.
I am as worried about 2016 as anyone. But since we conservatives can back off on calls for an impeachment pledge if and when we need to, why do we accept this no I-word rule?
Do we take the Constitution seriously? Do we take moral behavior seriously? If so, we are obliged to say that President Obamas actions merit impeachment. And since we never say this, bound by some half-articulated rule, our fellow citizens can only conclude that all of our decrying constitutional violations and presidential lies is little but a meaningless and all-too-typical game of rhetorical gotcha.
When a grown man repeatedly cries “Wolf!” but never goes to get a gun, and indeed, deliberately prevents others from doing so, what can one make of it?
Let us make sense. Let us look our fellow citizens in the eye and say it: presidential behavior this mendacious, this lawless, and this contemptuous deserves impeachment. It must not stand in our history books record as apparently acceptable, as not having provoked serious counter-measures. Our disapproval of this president goes well beyond what we conservatives held for Clinton, Carter, LBJ, and FDR. It goes well beyond what any number like 54% can convey. They need to hear this, not as a snark, not as an argument, but as a statement of fact about what many of their fellows, even their normally mild-mannered ones, really believe.
Above all, they need to see us taking it seriously, and that is what public impeachment-talk signifies.