Sunday, January 31, 2010


Over at Balloon Juice, DougJ speculates that if Republicans win back the House, a top item on their agenda might be impeaching President Obama. In an update, he qualifies this with a reader's comment: that Ken Starr made it much easier for Republicans to impeach Clinton than it would be to impeach Obama ("Starr did all the legwork for the Clinton impeachment") and that it would probably take a big GOP majority in the House to impeach ("Not every Republican on the Judiciary committee is willing to wipe his/her ass with the Constitution just for political benefit").

I think the reader is right, at least about the second point. And yet I'd say this suggestion from Doug is a good one:

I do think that Republican candidates for Congress should be asked whether or not they support impeaching Obama.

Me, I'd go to teabag rallies and shout "Impeach Obama!" while any GOP candidate was speaking, just to get the candidate on record as either being with the program (in which case his priorities aren't the average American's) or not being with the program (in which case he might lose favor in Tea Nation).

I'm saying all this on the assumption that the public overall, while disgruntled, doesn't want to go that far, and would recoil at the notion. (It should be noted that, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted in December, 35% of Democrats Republicans favor impeachment; the number overall is 20% -- disturbingly high, but a distinct minority, whereas that 35% of Republicans could be a near majority of primary and midterm general-election Republican voters.) This is in keeping with Senator Robert Menendez's idea that GOP candidates should be asked whether they're birthers or 10th Amendment extremists, in order to try to drive a wedge between them and either the tea party movement or sane members of the general public.

Though I do worry that, if the idea of impeachment began to be covered in the mainstream press, it might be portrayed as utterly reasonable, given the increasingly favorable tone of MSM coverage of the teabaggers these days. So maybe we should just drop the subject.

Bob Cesca worries about impeachment efforts from a GOP House, but I find myself baffled by his notion of the best way to prevent such an occurrence: pass the health care bill. Look, I know I'm all alone in the left blogosphere in believing that the bill is so disliked that it can't possibly help Democrats at the polls in the short term (especially with so many provisions taking effect only gradually, and thus subject to ongoing right-wing misrepresentation), but sorry, I just can't buy a health care bill as impeachment insurance. I think it's just the opposite -- I think passing and signing the bill will set off calls for impeachment. Many right-wingers already think the bill is unconstitutional; if it's passed and signed by Obama, that's all the excuse they'll need. Some action to match Obama's recent populist talk is, I think, the best way to fight back against the Republicans; regain the public's trust (and tarnish the Republicans as much as possible), then try circling back to health care.

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