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We Would If We Could

August 23rd, 2013

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.

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  1. Troy
    August 24th, 2013 at 03:29 | #1

    Not seeing the “black” angle per se — they wouldn’t be impeaching a Powell or Rice on their own side.

    This is simply politics, red in tooth and claw.

    It’s ugly, but all politics are a reflection of the populace. Everyone gets the government they deserve. ‘Good and hard’, as the man said.

    [There is a white racist angle here, but it's more about policy -- "Obama's going to pay my mortgage" and the socio-economics of race, government's role in interfering in society itself, etc]

    Obama is really just another center-right Democratic president, like we’ve had since Cleveland, excepting FDR, Truman, & LBJ; but even LBJ got stampeded into militaristic adventurism in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam.

    Stupid in, Stupid out. And there is a colossal amount of Stupid in this country.

  2. Luis
    August 24th, 2013 at 10:49 | #2

    Not seeing the “black” angle per se — they wouldn’t be impeaching a Powell or Rice on their own side.
    Truthfully, I am inclined to believe that a certain number would, in fact, be just as upset about a black president from their own party. Not that all of them would be as vocal about it, but it would matter a great deal to some of these people. They would tolerate a black person serving a white president, a Condi Rice or Colin Powell, but they would not accept such a person in direct authority over them. Admittedly, it would probably be a small number, but they’re there.

    Similarly, there’s a certain number, probably much bigger than the number who would object even to a black Republican, who would be willing to give a Democratic president a chance, or at least would not hate him so vividly, were he white. These would include people who are not so racist to object to Obama solely on the matter of his race, but are quite content to allow their prejudices to lead them to distrusting and hating him.

    You cannot deny that race is a factor–just look at much of the reactions from the right, from the watermelon-and-fried-chicken-decorated fake “Obama food stamps” to the witch-doctor photoshops to the Curious George t-shirts and more. I believe that the complaints about Obama “hating white people” are more than just opportunistic about his race. Put the “white” back in the White House? Bumper stickers saying “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012″? Empty chairs strung up from trees throughout the South?

    While Clinton got his share of the crazy when he was in the White House, and while the irrational hatred of anything not Republican has been intensifying over time, I cannot accept that, say, Howard Dean in the White House would be getting the same level of hate that Obama is; certainly not the same quality of hatred.

  3. Troy
    August 24th, 2013 at 11:48 | #3

    I think as a rule racists love to like black people that don’t threaten them, who tell them what they want to hear.

    The conservative movement is one big echo chamber* so small flaws become colossal faults to them over time.

    Obama said something about “spreading the wealth” to Joe the Plumber, and after 5 years of discussion in the epistemologically-closed rightwing media sphere, he’s Karl Marx III now.

    I agree that the racists can go deeper into their ugly psyches for the hate against Obama, but I think that comes along with his perceived policies.

    And of course his skin color and past history as a “community organizer” etc. amplifies this too.

    Clinton was no liberal really, his bit was “triangulation”, yielding to that which wasn’t disagreeable on the right to marginalize the extremists.

    The right wing lives in an alternate present and fears a bizarre future that has little tether to reality.

    Big problem in this country.

    * I happened to catch 10-15 seconds of some talk radio station while I was unloading groceries, and the caller was telling the host “California doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem” to which the host sagely agreed, because that is the thought-terminating cliche they must all tell themselves over and over

  4. Troy
    August 25th, 2013 at 17:24 | #4

    one more thing about this — their offensiveness is part of their psychological makeup.

    I lack the formal psychological education to state this succinctly, but I get the sense that they buttress the bullshit that unbalances their minds by acting on the desire to belittle, taunt, and denigrate the ‘other’. Obama being more other than most gives them more to run with.

    Being intentionally offensive is a diversionary mechanism [or something, don't know the exact term] that keeps them away from doubt and debate, pushing down the cognizance of being utterly wrong about everything by indulging in the cheap frisson of taboo and conflict.

    Scratch a conservative and you’ll find a pretty screwed up person underneath. Having to believe the earth is 6000 years old really screws with your brain.

    Not all conservatives are religious fundamentalists, but all across the spectrum of conservatism one can find similar mind-busting beliefs. “Voodoo” economics, it is necessary that the US outspend the rest of the world on military expansionism, etc.

    Sad thing is I don’t think Japan is any better on this front.

    “Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” — Samuel Clemens

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