Pandering For Dummies
Anyone who thinks that the recent implosion of the Republican party signals a new day of maturity, logic and rationality in matters governmental probably also believed that the results of the 2012 presidential election would finally “break the fever” of hyper-partisanship in Congress.
From where I stand, Shutdown 2013 is looking like a warm-up act for what promises to be a fully-pyrotechnic, Apocalypse Now midterm campaign year with freak flags flying from “sea to shining sea.” I expect that Heritage Action and the Senate Conservative Fund, and their proud sponsor Koch Industries, will be out for blood and handing out torches and pitchforks to every True Patriot.
Now that President Obama has committed the ultimate crime of executive uppityness—standing up to House Republicans and laying bare their utter incompetence and impotence—he must be removed.
At the Philadelphia Convention, Benjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of “obnoxious” chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal — impeachment — would be preferable.
As a result we have Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution which states:
The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
That’s pretty straightforward. “High Crimes,” though a little dated and vague, sounds like pretty serious stuff. Nothing there about being apologetic, sex acts [I’m looking at you, Bill] socialism or playing too much golf. Nevertheless, impeachment has become a standard feature of the Republican playbook when a Democrat is in office. But, if it helps them blow off steam in an institutionally acceptable and relatively harmless way, why not.
While actually impeaching a federal public official is a rare event, demands for impeachment, especially of presidents, are extremely common, going back to the administration of George Washington in the mid-1790s.
Furthermore, impeachment is a process, not an end in itself. The House of Representatives initiates impeachment by producing the equivalent of a criminal indictment and the Senate conducts the actual impeachment trial. That’s the same Senate with a Democratic majority—which, of course, is bad news for Obama impeachment fans. That’s your basic “checks and balances” at work, folks.
But, at this point, many conservatives, whose deranged base is clamoring for Obama’s head on a platter, will settle for any public embarrassment of their nemesis. And, so it is that the conversation has turned from nullification to impeachment.
Over the past few weeks numerous conservative luminaries have bandied about threats of impeachment which increased in volume as their standing deteriorated. Most of these huge fans of the constitution seem to know as much about impeachment as they do about other constitutional provisions.
David Dewhurst, Lt. Gov. of Texas, is still stuck on Benghazi. LouieLouie Gohmert warns that Obama has gotten “very close to a High Crime and misdemeanor” [guess he’s not sure which, yet] which sounds a lot like being “a little bit pregnant.”
Caribou Barbie, of course, has her own incomprehensible poetic grounds for impeachment and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) likes impeachment as a method of “tying things up.” While Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) believes Obama should be impeached if he goes around Congress to prevent the default they want so much.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) along with his colleague Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) believe there are enough votes in the House to impeach, today. Interesting because there aren’t enough votes in the House to order out for lunch, right now.
Rep Steve King (R-IA) believes Obama should be impeached if the GOP forces a default. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio thinks of an Obama impeachment as “a dream come true.” And Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) says, in his grown-up voice that Obama has come “perilously close” to meeting the constitutional requirements for an impeachment trial.
And Michele Bachmann, la belle dame sans merci of the House has already determined that the President has “committed impeachable offenses” she’s just not ready to share what they might be. Furthermore, Bachmann prescribes a little civil disobedience to remedy Obama’s “thuggery.” As most older boomers know, civil disobedience has a habit of quickly deteriorating into plain old rioting. But, as the crusaders of old advised “kill them all. God will sort them out.”
As Alex Rogers of Time reports:
Journalist and WABC radio host Aaron Klein and blogger Brenda Elliott claim that their new book, Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama From Office, has sold nearly 100,000 copies ahead of its release this week.
A copy of the book released to TIME shows that the arguments for impeaching Obama appear to fall far short of the historical legal threshold. The book claims that one of Obama’s impeachable offenses is signing Obamacare, for example, because the law is “unconstitutional.” This might surprise members of the Supreme Court who affirmed the law’s constitutionality with a 5-to-4 ruling last year.
Just good clean conservative fun . . .
None of that bothers me very much because I’ve become used to the loopy being loopy, irrational and loud to thrill their loopy, irrational, loud constituents.
But this? this scares me:
If you Google “obama as hitler,” Google returns 63,300,000 hits. Now I don’t believe that 63 million people equate Obama with Hitler, but the ones who do are obviously obsessed. And obsessions rarely turn out well.
Neither does this bode well:
And, of course, we can reassure ourselves that folks like that are outlyers and perhaps unbalanced but, in my experience, people who resonate to stuff like this have a tendency to be impatient with process and eventually decide to take matters into their own hands.
It’s past time for responsible Republicans to cool things down.