Is It Time to Start Talking About Impeachment?

Lately a new theme has entered the Democrats’ fundraising appeals: don’t let the Republicans impeach Obama! This has struck me as strange, since there isn’t any move afoot in Washington to impeach the president, and the idea is scarcely ever mentioned by conservative activists. Today I got this email from the Democratic Party:

To: John Hinderaker
Reply to: democratic [email protected]


How can I help? By sending money, of course!

No doubt the book’s author, Andrew McCarthy, is delighted to be receiving this attention from the Democrats. You can read about Faithless Execution, and pre-order it, here.

I believe I have written about impeachment only once, and have said two things: 1) Obama has committed precisely the offenses for which the remedy of impeachment was intended. He has misused the powers of the executive branch by enforcing the laws in a discriminatory manner against his political opponents, and he has governed lawlessly, purporting to enact or amend statutes by executive decree. 2) However, impeachment is a political remedy. There is zero political support for impeaching Obama, and the Republicans shouldn’t touch the idea with a stick.

Based on the interview that is reproduced at Amazon, that appears to be McCarthy’s position too:


Many Republicans say an effort to impeach Barack Obama is political suicide for the Republican Party. How do you respond to this?

McCarthy: The failure to pursue impeachment is likely to be suicide for the country, which is much more important than the political fate of the Republican Party. But, again, making the case for impeachment—which would probably help not only Republicans but any elected official who defends our constitutional framework—is not the same as moving forward with articles of impeachment, which should not happen absent public support.

How does the case for Barack Obama’s impeachment compare to the campaigns to impeach Nixon and Clinton?

McCarthy: Obama’s presidency is a willful, systematic attack on the constitutional system of separation of powers, an enterprise that aims to bring about a new regime of government by executive decree. This is exactly the kind of subversion the Framers designed the impeachment power to address. The Nixon and Clinton episodes involved misconduct that did not aim to undermine our constitutional framework.

Given how little most Americans care about the Constitution these days, I don’t expect any groundswell of support for impeachment. Nevertheless, McCarthy’s effort to stand up against the lawlessness of the Obama administration can only be applauded.