We Would If We Could
I get the very strong impression that if Republicans had enough control over both the House and Senate, Obama would be impeached and convicted.
Not for actually doing anything wrong, and certainly not for doing anything even a tenth as illegal as Bush and Cheney did. Rather, he would be impeached simply because they could impeach him.
After reading a slew of stories this morning about how Republicans are just aching to impeach Obama, I noticed one interesting point: there was very little attention focused on any actual charges. Instead, it was more about the enthusiasm.
For example, a few days ago, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) said that “it’d be a dream come true” to impeach Obama for the IRS scandal. Why doesn’t he? He “ultimately decided there wasn’t enough evidence.”
Yeah, that’s kind of an obstacle. Not having any evidence. But not an obstacle for determined Republicans.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) last week suggested that Obama should be impeached over his birth certificate, and claimed there would be enough votes in the House to do so. His colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that the only reason they were not impeaching Obama was that they did not have enough votes in the Senate. His reason to impeach? Obama ignores the law, citing the fact that Obama did not cut off military aid to Egypt after the coup. Which, ironically, is (a) something Republicans would have done in a flash, and (b) even more ironically, is the best charge I have heard regarding a cause for impeachment. Not that it’s good enough by a long shot, but it at least is not completely ludicrous. And, listening to what he said, it really does come across as just a pretext.
Look hard enough, and you’ll find more specific lists. Here is one of the more coherent ones that lists a dozen “impeachable” offenses:
- President Obama has appointed cabinet level positions “without the advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate. Of course, the Senate is legally required to “advise and consent” and Obama bypassed them because they failed to do so over a span of years; his recess appointments are no less questionable than their de facto disempowerment of the agencies via refusing to approve appointments, and to cut off Obama’s legal authority for recess appointments by pretending to never go into recess.
- Passing the Affordable Care Act, apparently because it forces religious organizations to “provide contraceptives and abortion” against their religious principles; this is simply false, as such organizations only need to make insurance available; contraception can be arranged via a third party. Besides which, it is arguable that the religious freedom of the individual over matters in their own lives trumps that of an employer’s attempt to control that employee’s personal matters; even if decisions go the other way, there are no grounds for impeachment for taking a stand one way or the other on the issue.
- Ordered the EPA to “implement key portions” of Cap and Trade without Congressional approval; a search for this on the web brings up almost exclusively right-wing media outlets and blogs. As far as I can tell, there is no impeachable offense in taking executive action, where permitted, to implement steps toward a goal that Congress failed to pass in full. Had Congress passed a law forbidding such actions and Obama violated that law, that would be different.
- Placed a moratorium on offshore oil drilling or exploration on federal land anywhere in the United States. I am pretty sure this is simply untrue. Obama put a 6-month moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
- Authorized loans of billions of dollars to countries like Brazil and Mexico so that they can drill for oil, and then sell that oil to the United States. Nope.
- Has not enforced laws against illegal immigration enough. Aside from that simply not being true, the fact is that you cannot impeach a president for the emphasis he places on various types of enforcement.
- Joined with foreign countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, and Columbia, in lawsuits against Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama to stop them from enforcing the federal immigration laws. This refers mostly to Arizona’s ludicrous 2010 law requiring police to stop anyone who looks Hispanic and demand their papers, amongst other things. The Obama administration concurred with much of the nation that this was unconstitutional, and so filed a suit to stop it. Foreign countries signed amicus briefs supporting the suit. Nothing illegal or improper was done, and the Supreme Court upheld the Obama administration.
- Ordered the FCC to adopt regulations giving the federal government control of the Internet and its contents, including providing Obama with a kill switch that gives him authority to shut down the Internet if he sees fit. The Executive Order Obama signed was for times of emergency, similar to imposing martial law. While controversial, I’m pretty sure there was nothing illegal here.
- Failed to uphold Defense of Marriage Act and resists Republican voter suppression schemes. Essentially, “we made these outrageous pieces of crap and Obama is fighting them within the system of laws.”
- Fast & Furious, combined with “Obama Gonna Getcha Gunz.” More of nothing.
- Obama used the U.S. military in Libya, claims powers essentially allowing him to begin military dictatorship in U.S. While the dictatorship claims are vacuous and are nothing new, the laws concerning war powers and when they can be used with or without congressional approval are more controversial. Not, as far as I can tell, an impeachable offense, but something which should be settled.
- Nationalized and took control of automobile manufacturers, banks, insurance companies, and portions of the healthcare industry. This is on the level of FEMA concentration camps.
There are other lists, like this “51 Reasons to Impeach Obama” list, but they invariably get even more ludicrous than the one listed above. The “51 Reasons” list, for example, begins with Obama conspiring with William Ayers to steal $300 million to radicalize Chicago students, giving you an idea of how fact-driven such literature is.
There’s even a new book out via World Net Daily (a group that joins rags like The Daily Caller in making Fox News look like a liberal bastion) called Impeachable Offenses, which mostly looks like the bullet list above, but updated.
Let’s face it: the real reasons why so many conservatives want to impeach Obama are simple: he is not a Republican and/or he is black. That sums it up.