I wrote here about the possibility of impeaching President Obama. The predicate for impeachment would be a continued course of overriding and rewriting the laws passed by Congress and enacted with the president’s signature (in most instances, Obama’s).
Such a course, I argued, would justify impeachment. Moreover, in this scenario impeachment proceedings would not, on balance, hurt the country.
But what about the politics of impeachment? Surely, I contended, Republicans have no obligation to further weaken their position in a futile attempt to drive Obama from office through the impeachment process.
A new Fox News poll sheds some light. By a margin of 74-23, the public responded “No” to this question:
Barack Obama said he will take action to advance his policy goals with or without Congress, and that he’ll use executive orders to get around Congress. Do you think this is the way our government is supposed to work, or not?
This result suggests that if Obama persists in overruling Congress by executive fiat, the public might well be amendable to impeachment.
However, Fox News then asked this question:
Regardless of how you think things are supposed to work, do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama going around Congress and using executive orders?
37 percent approved; 60 percent disapproved. These numbers don’t mirror Obama’s approval rating in the poll — 42 percent approve; 53 percent disapprove — but they are a long way from the overwhelming consensus that, in theory at least, the president should follow the law.
Before I’d feel comfortable with the politics of impeaching Obama, I would like to see 2-1 disapproval of his policy of overriding Congress through executive orders.
We could reach that point; we’re not that far away.
JOHN adds: It doesn’t surprise me that some people approve of Obama’s use of executive diktat even though they think this isn’t “how things are supposed to work.” These are people who agree with Obama that Congress is dysfunctional, or “broken,” or whatever, and therefore, even though this isn’t how the government is supposed to work, Obama should take over and rule by executive decree–within some limits, presumably. What is striking to me in these poll numbers is that, even given this rationale, only 37% say they approve of what Obama is doing.