Some are speculating that the plans of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R, Sun Lamp) are merely the first step to what the real right-wing crazies have wanted from the beginning — the impeachment of President Barack Obama. But they’re wrong, and here’s why.
Tea Party types, Rush Limbaugh’s dittoheads, overpaid right-wing pundits, the crazy uncles who lose brain cells every time they tune in to the Fake News Channel — they’ve all been clamoring to get rid of Obama since before he was even elected. He was a socialist Muslim Kenyan, after all, without a legitimate birth certificate who was intent on destroying the American way of life. Palled around with terrorists. Wanted to redistribute wealth. The list goes on and on. And don’t forget #BENGHAZI.
But the loss by Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party darling if there ever was one, to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican runoff primary election really pissed them off big time. And Cochran courted black voters, too! There were threats of forming a third party, voting for Democrats “just to show them,” refusing to donate any more money, etc.
When The Orange One announced the lawsuit in a press conference, he couldn’t come up with any specifics as to exactly what Obama had done wrong. When questioned by a reporter as to what specific executive actions he plans to challenge in court, Boehner replied, “When I make that decision, I’ll let you know.”
Of course, Obama has taken fewer executive actions than other modern presidents. But why let facts muddle a good narrative? As Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi put it: “He hasn’t come anywhere near what Republican presidents have done on executive orders. I make of it as subterfuge — as I’ve said, [Republicans in Congress] are doing nothing here and so they have to give some aura of activity.”
But Boehner has to do something to appease the Tea Party, so he announced the lawsuit idea. But he will never take it as far as impeachment. There have been suggestions that the lawsuit is the first bone thrown to the Tea Party dogs, and one that will motivate them to vote in (and — let’s be honest — give money to candidates for) the midterm elections this fall. And Boehner knows he has to keep the base motivated.
Here’s the problem, though — nothing, and I mean NOTHING — would motivate the base of liberals, African-Americans, Hispanics, young voters, women, and everyone else who elected Obama to come out to vote in droves this November like the impeachment of Barack Obama.
Do you remember Bill Clinton’s impeachment? Whether you liked him or not, whether you thought the case against him had any merit or not, Democratic voters were angry. Very angry. Everyone knew there was no way the Senate would convict Clinton. And even if the GOP captures the Senate this fall, don’t forget that the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of senators to convict on any matter of impeachment. So Obama’s not going anywhere.
Republicans took quite a hit in the 1998 mid-term elections. They didn’t lose the House, but they lost seats — enough so that House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R, Biggest hypocrite you ever saw), who had bragged that the GOP would pick up 30 seats, had to resign from Congress. The actual impeachment didn’t occur until after the election, but the clown show that was Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s investigation and the surrounding impeachment talk and speculation was enough to motivate Democratic voters.
No. Boehner may not be a very good lawmaker or a very effective speaker, but he wants to keep his job. They can whine all they want about a lawsuit, but don’t expect to see impeachment on the table anytime soon.
He may not even have justification for a lawsuit. According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University which was quoted in another DK diary, Boehner and other GOP House members need to show that they’ve been injured:
“The lower federal courts have of late developed a body of law with respect to the standing of Members of Congress, as Members, to bring court actions, usually to challenge actions of the executive branch. Most of the law has developed in the District of Columbia Circuit, and the Supreme Court has yet to consider the issue on the merits. It seems clear that a legislator ‘receives no special consideration in the standing inquiry,’ and that he, along with every other person attempting to invoke the aid of a federal court, must show ‘injury in fact’ as a predicate to standing.”
I may be wrong — I sincerely hope that I’m not. And I wouldn’t put anything past the Roberts Supreme Court as to what they would do in this case. I just think Boener is politically astute enough to know that impeachment is a crazy idea. Yet the GOP has become the party of crazies, so who knows?
This is cross-posted on my own website, politicalmurder.com. (And while you're there, check out the link to a mystery I wrote called The Political Blogging Murder. The preceding has been brought to you by the Dept. of Shameless Self-Promotion.)