Rightbloggers to Obama: Why're You Impeaching Yourself?
Readers of this column will have seen that each time a White House scandal gets ginned up, a concomitant cry goes out from rightbloggers for President Obama's impeachment. Google "Benghazi" and "impeachment," for example, and see what you get.
But lately Democrats have been fighting back, using conservative impeachment talk as a way to get their members scared enough to donate and maybe even show up at the voting booth in November.
This has led to one of the more Orwellian rightblogger themes of recent times: That it's Obama, not his mortal enemies, who is behind all the impeachment talk, and that conservatives have no intention of impeaching him unless he makes them mad -- which they already are.
Rightbloggers have been talking about impeachment since roughly January 20, 2009. The casus bellow have included: Obama threatening to raise the debt ceiling (impeachment proposed by then-Rep., now Sen., Tim Scott in July 2011); Obama sending troops to Libya (GOP Congressman Walter Jones introduced an impeachment bill over that in March 2012); "actions not authorized by law (as Obama has with immigration and Obamacare)" (proposed in February by GOP Presidential contender Alan Keyes, who had foresight enough to call for "removing the vice president and the president" to eliminate that little-mentioned side-effect of impeachment); the IRS scandalette ("If it turns out that the White House, or someone acting on behalf of the White House, carried out the illegal infiltration of Attkisson's computer(s)... for the first time, there would be serious talk of impeachment" -- John Hinderaker, Power Line), etc.
Impeachment fever spiked, of course, with Benghazi. "Benghazi buzz: Obama predicted to leave office," cried Bob Unruh at World Net Daily in May 2013, quoting such worthies as occasional Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee ("I believe that before it's all over, this president will not fill out his full term") and adding that "lawmakers who have broached the subject of impeachment include Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Trey Radel, R-Fla.; and Steve Stockman. Others include former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas; former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy; left-leaning investigative reporter Dave Lindorff; talk-radio host Mark Levin; former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; and author and columnist Pat Buchanan." Thanks for the round-up, WorldNetDaily! (Later WorldNetDaily would update, "'Impeachment' cited by 15th member of Congress" -- that'd be Rep. Bill Flores, R-TX.)
In January 2014 Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) said he was "considering filing Articles of Impeachment against Barack Obama" because "Obama defiantly vowed not only to radically expand the reach of government from cradle to grave, but to smash the Constitution's restrictions on government power while doing it," which would have made for a hell of a Bill of Particular(s) if only he'd gone through with it.
Wow, where'd that come from? Must be Democrats trying to make us look bad! (Via.)
And some just mashed up all the alleged scandals on the theory that with conservatives enraged about so many things, one of them must be impeachable. "Barack Obama's administration is juggling several scandals at the moment," reported Christopher Zara of International Business Times in June 2013, "so it should come as no surprise that campaigns calling for the president's impeachment are ramping up."
The impeachment-crusading persisted into this summer, as the South Dakota Republican Party officially called for Obama to be impeached for rescuing U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban. If Obama persisted in trading Talibani prisoners of war for our own POWs, said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, "there will be people on our side calling for his impeachment." (In case you missed it, a new conservative thing is to be against helping Americans in peril overseas -- cf. that American doctor with Ebola.)
Éminence grise à droite George F. Will bemoaned Obama's "lawless" behavior, adding, "advocates of extreme judicial quietism to punish the supine people leave the people's representatives no recourse short of the extreme and disproportionate 'self help' of impeachment," which is Blowhard for "blah blah impeachment hint hint."
But in recent weeks, as Democrats found success fundraising off such threats, conservatives have -- suddenly, and with admirable message discipline -- flipped the script: Impeachment? they now ask. Where'd you get the idea we want impeachment? It's actually Obama who wants to be impeached!
The schtick is not entirely new: Back in 2011 Jay Tea of Wizbang actually pioneered it, speculating on the basis of several acts he considered provocative -- including Obama's "czars" (remember that?) and "the EPA's refusal -- apparently with the White House's blessing -- to comply with Obama's Executive Order requiring all agencies to analyze and report on the effect of regulations on employment" -- that Obama might be trying to get impeached on the theory that "that it would do him far more good than harm" because "the mere attempt could galvanize support for Obama like little else could."
At the time, we took Tea's post for just another marker at the ever-expanding border of rightblogger insanity; it did not occur to us that it would eventually become Republican strategy.
Yet last week we had House Speaker John Boehner declaring that impeachment is "a scam started by Democrats at the White House." His fellow Republicans backed him up, and even implied that Obama was planning to goad them into impeaching him by letting some Central American refugees stay in the United States, which is precisely the sort of thing for which the Founders wrote Article II, Section 4.
"This might be the first White House in history that's trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president," added Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) -- and if you remember the other major "first" of this White House, you can see why this is such a potent charge for conservatives.
"None of us want to do the thing that's left for us as an alternative," blubbered Rep. Steve King (R-IA). "But if the president has decided that he's simply not going to enforce any immigration law... I think Congress has to sit down and have a serious look at the rest of this Constitution, and that includes that i-word that we don't want to say."
Heretofore impeachment-prone conservatives got with the program. Rep. Stockman, who was so eager to impeach in January, this week joined the bullshit brigade, claiming Obama "wants us to impeach him now, before the midterm election because his senior advisers believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat." Former Congressman Allen West, who usually calls for Obama's impeachment whenever somebody sneezes, suddenly backtracked ("As much as you'd like to, don't fall into the impeachment trap").
And rightbloggers -- including many high-class types published by top news sites -- went with it.