It seems as if members of the far right have spent almost the entirety of the Obama administration’s time in office coming up with different reasons to impeach the president.
First were the “birther” folk who swore he wasn’t president because he allegedly wasn’t born in the country–regardless of how often they were given information proving them wrong. More recently it was over the Benghazi scandal, followed by the belief that he sicced the IRS on various Tea Party groups. Now, a section of the GOP is getting itself into a lather yet again, and this time it’s over immigration.
Impeaching Obama is usually a gimmick meant to raise candidate funds, sell books or get listeners on talk radio stations, but the President’s use of executive actions to try to accomplish at least something while the do nothing Republican majority in the House blocks anything the President supports, has brought even more conservative big wigs into the debate.
According to the Associated Press, Florida Republican Tea Partier Allen West, a former congressman, demanded impeachment be considered after President Obama negotiated the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal in exchange for some Taliban prisoners, accusing the President of unjustifiable unilateral action. “I submit that Barack Hussein Obama’s unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult — mandated by law — with the U.S. Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense,” West wrote on his website.
If there are Tea Partiers shouting things about the president, though, you know that Sarah Palin is in the mix. Referring to the recent immigration crisis (which has worsened because the GOP has refused to consider any amnesty or path to citizenship policies, or any potential immigration reform at all), Palin wrote in a column that, “It’s time to impeach, and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.”
Palin, of course, is a failed vice presidential contender who is no longer an office holder, so does her opinion about the fate of the president really matter? Yes, says the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake. “She’s the first Republican of any significant national stature to make this call,” writes Blake. “And she’s the kind of figure who could potentially recruit others to the cause–people who will want to be heard. Palin surely doesn’t carry the kind of weight she once did in the GOP, but she still has a significant tea party following and is highly popular among the conservative base.”
Impeachment talk is spreading even to politicians who have more to lose, too. Iowa senate candidate Joni Ernst also added her voice to the call, a very interesting development since Iowa, in general, isn’t that much of a conservative state overall. Ernst was caught calling the president a “dictator” at a GOP event back in January and arguing that he should be feeling the consequences of his actions “whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment.” She then reiterated the idea just a few weeks ago on a local talk show.When asked if Speaker of the House John Boehner should start impeachment proceedings for President Obama, Ernst agree, stating, “If he thinks he has a case, then he should proceed with that.”
Still most Republicans, even those on the fringe, recognize the impeachment debate is one they can’t win, and that will only hurt the party overall. Speaker John Boehner has publicly and firmly disagreed with Palin, and even Republican Pat Robertson, no moderate by any means, has acknowledged that the party really needs to clamp down on the “throw him out of office” talk.
“With the economy shrinking 3 percent in the first quarter, with Obama sinking in public approval, and with the IRS, NSA and VA scandals bubbling, why would Republicans change the subject to impeachment?” Robertson writes in his own column. “The effect would be to enrage and energize the Democratic base, bring out the African-American vote in force and cause the major media to charge the GOP with a racist scheme to discredit and destroy our first black president. If the nation is led to believe Republicans seek to gain the Senate so they can remove Barack Obama from office after a GOP-led impeachment, then Republicans are not likely to win the Senate.”
Will the pragmatic side of the GOP be able to reign in their impeachment demanding fringe? Probably. The question is, will the Tea Party come back and primary them out of office as payback?
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