Will the Republicans in the House actually impeach President Obama? I don’t know, but the recent furor over the question has provided us with the hilarious spectacle of one-half of the party trying desperately to keep people from noticing what the other half is doing.
Some Republicans, of course, have been muttering the “I” word since Mr. Obama’s election. The carping got louder when they found, to their shock, that they couldn’t beat him in 2012. Recently, the issue burst back onto the national conversation as the Queen of Wingnuttia herself, failed vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, wrote an inflammatory op-ed for the current flagship for right-wing lunacy, the website Breitbart.com.
“It’s time to impeach,” the Quitta From Wasilla said flatly. “Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘No mas.’”
Well, I guess comparing not getting your political way to being an abused spouse is more classy than their usual complaint of being just like chattel slaves or Holocaust victims, but not by much.
Conservative pundit Smilin’ Bill Kristol, usually a Palin cheerleader, was unequivocal in his rejection of the whole idea of impeachment. He directly responded to Palin’s call on ABC’s “This Week” by flatly declaring, “No responsible elected official has called for impeachment.”
That one had to sting, because Kristol has always pushed Palin’s seriousness as a political voice. Of course, this means that impeachment is inevitable, because, as we all know, Bill Kristol is always, always wrong.
Orange John Boehner was even firmer in his denial, claiming that the “whole talk about impeachment” was a “scam” started by Democratic fundraisers to try to drum up contributions for the upcoming election. It’s all “coming from the president’s own staff and Democrats on Capitol Hill.”
This should come as a surprise to:
— Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who told Breitbart News Saturday, “From my standpoint, if the president [enacts more executive actions], we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives. That’s my position, and that’s my prediction.”
— Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who told a radio interviewer: “Not a day goes by when people don’t talk to us about impeachment. I don’t know what rises to that level yet, but I know that there’s a mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to, and I think Congress is going to start looking at it very seriously.”
— Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), who, according to another story on Breitbart.com, “told colleagues that the House should pass legislation with new steps to secure the border, and tell Obama if he didn’t implement it, they would impeach him.”
— Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R-N.H.), who said she’d vote for impeachment because, according to her, the president “has many, many impeachable offenses, it seems to me, in terms of his disregard for our Constitution alone.”
And of course, no parade of wingnuts would be complete without its grand marshal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Bedlam), who stopped short of calling for immediate impeachment, then immediately claimed it’s “what the people want.”
“There isn’t a weekend that hasn’t gone by,” she said, “that someone says to me, ‘Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president?”
While it is highly likely that the “someone” she refers to is one of the voices buzzing in her head, she and her pals in the Teahadist Caucus seem awfully fixated on something that their alleged leader says is a Democratic idea.
Did all of these people (and a half-dozen other House Republicans who have either outright called for impeachment or who can’t stop talking about unspecified “impeachable offenses”) join the White House staff or cross the aisle to the Dem side when we weren’t looking?
John Boehner knows the lessons of history. He knows that the doomed impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton caused Clinton’s popularity ratings to skyrocket. He also knows that while impeachment is a big seller among Republicans, less than a third of the general electorate favors it, and 63 percent of independents flat out oppose it.
So, in a weak imitation of the Great and Powerful Oz, Orange John is bellowing for us to “pay no attention to those Republicans behind the curtain!” while pushing his own substitute: a lawsuit against President Obama’s delay in enacting a law the House has tried to repeal so many times I’ve lost count.