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Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) holds up a copy of the U.S. Constitution during the Senate nomination hearing of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito on Capitol Hill in Washington January 11, 2006. Roman Catholics would be the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time if Alito is confirmed -- a historically remarkable prospect in a country where
Not photoshopped, apparently.
I think we're getting perilously close to the time when we can all write off Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn as a gibbering idiot.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Wednesday that President Obama was getting “getting perilously close” to the Constitutional standard for impeachment. Coburn was speaking at the Muskogee, Oklahoma Civic Center.
If you think Coburn is going to provide any coherent argument to support that statement whatsoever, you are going to be sorely disappointed.
“What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president and that’s called impeachment” Coburn said, responding to a question about holding President Obama accountable. “That’s not something you take lightly and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means. I think there’s some intended violation of the law in this administration, but I also think there’s a ton of incompetence of people who are making decisions.”
Well yes, yes you do. To the apparent irritation of the entire Republican caucus, you are still nominally supposed to establish some criteria that might justify impeaching the president before you start contemplating whether or not to impeach the president. Something. Anything. While apparently we are in a time when some Republican congressmen summon legal teams in order to assign them the task of coming up with some plausible reason to impeach the president, I think you are generally supposed to have some particular outrage in mind before you get, er, outraged about it.

More on Sen. Coburn below the fold.

That was the original theory, anyway. In practice you can also go the Ken Starr route; that had been discredited for a while due to that whole being-a-stain-on-the-nation-and-an-embarassment-to-all-concerned bit, but enough of it seems to have finally been forcibly clubbed down the memory hole, now, and the newcomers seem to have a fondness for the thing.

This isn't some Rep. NoName Bumblefuck, though, this is Sen. Tom Coburn, who we all recognize as a very important person because other important people will not stop rattling on about it, and also because Tom Coburn has considerably more than his fair share when it comes to making sure world's greatest deliberative body cannot so much as sneeze without three hearings, two secret holds and five sniffling letters to other government officials about how this or that is the greatest outrage everz, probably, maybe, if you squint just right and look at it sideways. All right, Mr. Coburn, knock us out. Tell us what the intended violation of the law might be. Tell us what level of "incompetence" compares to the military fiascos, anti-terrorism ball-dropping and economic catastrophe visited upon us by the last president, the one who will not be named.

No? Nothing much? Throw us a bone here, give us something to work with. Surely you didn't plan on piping up on how very close to impeachable the president's actions have been only to shrug your shoulders and say that you can't be bothered to think about it too hard or to explain why.

“My little wiggle out of that when I get that written to me is I believe that needs to be evaluated and determined but thank goodness it doesn’t have to happen in the Senate until they’ve brought charges in the House. Those are serious things but we’re in a serious time. I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanor but I think they’re getting perilously close.”
Oh, you poor dumb jackass. Yes, thank goodness you don't have to worry your gargantuan head over whether or not any of what you are saying is utter bullshit, since other people will have to come up with the precise wording of the bullshit first. Thank goodness we can all just agree among our Republican selves that, shit, son, there's got to be something in there worth impeaching a sitting president for, but we don't really have to worry about it until Darrell Issa finally comes up with a crayon drawing that the rest of us can put on the Senate fridge with a straight face.

And for the record, I see absolutely nothing to indicate that we are in a serious time. All evidence suggests we are in a decidedly un-serious time. We bleat on about fake scandals, not even having the decency anymore to drop them after they have been roundly disproven. We have a Congress that ties itself in knots even over its most basic, primitive tasks, primarily because it is too preoccupied with drawing up various Obamacair is bad dumhead scribbles and launching them, giggling, over to the other branches of government. There are a very large number of very serious things happening in the world, to be sure, but to say we are in serious times implies that we might be doing jack-all about any of them, and that is the singular most prominent thing we are not doing. No matter what economic or legislative building might be on fire, we still get the same clown-driven firetruck circus act; lots of selzer, a few painful looking gimmicks with the ladder, and bucket after bucket of confetti hurled hither and tither and yon. If you are going to mutter about serious times, you need to at least take the brightly colored rubber nose off. If you are going to furrow your brow and look troubled about serious times, you ought to at least stop squeezing your rubber nose and yelling "Honk honk, impeachment!" at the audience.

Or not, whatever.

“Barack Obama is personal friend of mine. He became my friend in the Senate but that does not mean I agree in anyway with what he’s doing or how he’s doing it. And I quite frankly think he’s in a difficult position he’s put himself in and if it continues, I think we’re going to have another constitutional crisis in our country in terms of the presidency,” Coburn concluded.
If he continues what, precisely? Be specific. Hell, be unspecific. Is it the pursuing policies that the Republican Party does not like, is that the impeachable thing? Is it the wanting to put judges on benches, even if the other party has decided that they no longer want any judges, thank you? Is it Benghazi? Please tell me it is Benghazi. Please tell me that you are contemplating impeaching a president for allowing a terrorist attack on a foreign-based embassy, because by God, I have a list of people who need to have their names scrubbed from various buildings and freeways and aircraft carriers post haste, if that is the standard now. It can't be the IRS "scandal," because even I give Tom Coburn more credit than that, and I am generally someone who suspects Tom Coburn would get his head stuck in a mailbox if he didn't have two staff members at all times keeping him from doing it. Crap, man, just write ACORN on your forehead and go with that, don't make your constituents strain their noggins on these things.

We might just write this up to pandering. Perhaps Sen. Tom Coburn is not, in fact, as addled as he comes across, and knows full well he doesn't have a shred of anything he can point to as the unforgivable crime of the current presidency, but he is just humoring a group of clearly touched-in-the-head constituents in order to make them feel good about themselves. That is, though, just as bad. We are in the position we are in precisely because Mr. Coburn's party has yet to find a constituent yet whose ideas are so ridiculous or so offensive that some thrice-elected boil will not eagerly agree with them. The president is not really an American? Run with it! The president is secretly Muslim, is secretly against America, is secretly possibly in league with Muslim terrorists? Hell, anything's possible! The president is "packing the courts" by nominating judges to open positions on courts? The fiend. The president used his partisan mind-waves to task the IRS with track down conservative and liberal political groups illegally masquerading as nonpartisan outlets and slightly annoy them? That is the most Nixonian thing ever, and not at all the ravings of the single most boring and least creative insane person ever born anywhere, at any time.

We have now reached the point where even conservative senators muttering about impeachment has become old hat. The level of ridiculousness has gotten so high that by God, it's actually gotten boring. It's to the point where you can look at any given video of any given speech by any given leader of the Republican tribe and just presume that it is going to be nothing more than a stream of drivel about one or 20 different conspiracy theories, a tired propping up of death panels or birth certificates or ammo hoarding or some new level of tyranny from the Bush administration that was only discovered to be tyranny now. What happens now? What happens when the clowns have been performing so long that nobody else thinks they're funny, or even interesting? Do the clowns just keep on going, keep on putting on that same show? Is there a bigger, better rubber nose in development, something that will really wow the crowds this time and save the whole bit?

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