Impeachment? Seriously?

The Democrats are salivating at the idea that Republicans might try to impeach President Obama. They think, perhaps, that impeachment is the one thing that could salvage Obama’s second term. In the meantime, they are furiously raising money with the claim that Republicans are bent on impeachment. The Blaze offers a rather comical account:

The notion of impeaching President Barack Obama got substantial attention Friday from two White House officials, who both said senior Republicans wanted to see it happen. But they couldn’t name any senior Republicans when pressed.

Further, White House press secretary Josh Earnest expressed doubt about whether House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was sincere when he said impeachment is not on the table. …

The topic first made news Friday after Dan Pfeiffer, a counselor to the president, told a Christian Science Monitor breakfast: “I would not discount that possibility. I think Speaker Boehner, by going down the path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some in the future.”

As far as I know, Sarah Palin is the only Republican of any stature who has talked about impeachment. There is no such movement afoot in the House. But the Democrats don’t care; fundraising is always priority number one for them, and talk of impeachment is catnip to their base. I get several emails a day from various Democratic Party organizations soliciting donations to combat the alleged threat of impeachment. This one, which came in today from my good friend Nancy, is typical. Click to enlarge file size:


Note that the Democrats say “Congress” voted to sue Obama. Actually, of course, it was the House. But the Democrats don’t want to admit that they control the Senate, and they frequently talk about Congress as though it were all Republican. To take advantage of those low approval ratings, I assume. Reportedly, the Democrats are raising a great deal of money with these impeachment scare appeals.

Is there any reason why Republicans should think seriously about impeaching the president? He certainly has committed impeachable offenses, as I have written before. He has failed to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” and on the contrary has deliberately subverted the rule of law with respect to immigration and other important subjects. Further, he has misused the powers of the executive branch to harass and intimidate his political opponents. These are precisely the sorts of offenses for which the constitutional remedy of impeachment was intended.

However, impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. Is there significant support in the electorate for such a drastic step? Some have gotten excited over polls like this one, in which 36% said that they favor impeachment. But that is a pretty typical number for a second-term president, and the 36% are overwhelmingly Republicans. Lots of Democrats wanted to impeach George W. Bush, too, but their party’s leaders were too smart to attempt that after they took control of Congress for the last two years of Bush’s second term.

Old-timers remember the Nixon impeachment drama, but for most voters, “impeachment” conjures up the Republicans’ well-intentioned but politically disastrous effort to remove Bill Clinton. That is the precedent to which the Democrats now appeal, and it is not an experience that Republicans should want to relive. Not unless events drastically change the political landscape.

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