Let’s talk about impeachment.
I haven’t really brought it up here at White House Dossier because I believe the bar must be set pretty high for dragging the country through the wrenching spectacle of acting to remove a president from office.
President Obama has undoubtedly abused his office. I have not thought to date that his abuse rises to the level at which Republicans should impeach him.
However, if he crowns this abuse by temporarily pardoning five million lawbreakers, as he is reportedly considering – ignoring the will of Congress and failing utterly to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” – I would have to reconsider my position.
And so would many other Americans, I believe.
I watch today, sickened, as even the most stalwart conservative leaders cower at the thought of actually impeaching Obama. No! The Democrats will use impeachment against us! They’ll raise a million dollars! Don’t even talk about it! And they vow to continue warning of political danger, no matter how many pieces Obama rips the Constitution into.
Such disingenuousness. Even if it is the manifestly right thing to do, everyone should shut up about impeachment? Since when are conservatives mere poseurs and craven sycophants to the electorate?
Before conservatives finish involuntarily emptying the rest of their bowels, they might want to take a look at some numbers. Because I’m not so sure I agree with wisdom around Washington that impeachment, post-mass legalization, is a political suicide mission.
In a CNN poll released Friday, a full 33 percent of Americans said they support impeaching the president TODAY. Or, well, Friday.
The point is, a third of Americans now want to impeach Obama even before he performs what would be one of the most brazen assertions of presidential power in history, one that is almost certainly unconstitutional.
Support for impeaching Clinton in 1998, the precedent Republicans are so worried about, never rose above 29 percent in CNN polling. And in 1998, while Republicans came up short of their hoped for gains in the midterms, they still didn’t lose the House – five seats went to the Democrats – and they broke even in the Senate.
Unlike Bill Clinton’s crime, which many considered to be borne of his own moral failing; and therefore not grounds for removal, what Obama may do is an act many Americans would consider a threat to the Constitution. And the notion that so many people who came here under false pretenses would suddenly be rewarded with work permits – and the huge welcome mat such amnesty would constitute for future waves illegal immigrants – will be deeply upsetting to Republicans, many independents, and even some Democrats.
Actually, there will be a certain degree of rage.
Impeachment would also stir the Republican base, given that 57 percent of Republicans already support it. That number would increase after a unilaterally imposed amnesty, as would the 35 percent of independents who also want to impeach Obama today.
I’m not yet saying Obama should be impeached. Let’s see what he does. And the reaction of Americans is important, given what a difficult and historic process this is.
But Republicans should wait and see what happens before they take impeachment off the table. It might not strain them as much as they think to maintain their spines in order.