% The Flaming Right by paul murphy

The Political Case for Impeachment

The GOP Washington establishment is down playing the impeachment, trial, and removal of Mr. Obama and his fellow travelers from office as a serious possibility. The reasons being discussed are obvious and include both the risks of failure and the risks of success in a process of this kind. In their view success would set a bad precedent, damage the country internationally, and further enrage conservative hating media moguls already eager to tar and feather their enemies while failure would permanently poison the relationships governance depends on, allow Mr. Obama to play the wounded martyr in public, and leave his media and other supporters even more passionately committed to fomenting popular anger against the GOP.

What's really going on, however, is that a few, like John Boehner, are acting in accordance with their responsibilities as senior leaders of government but most, like Karl Rove, seem primarily concerned with narrow partisan goals and therefore to prefer the certain harm the Obamacons are doing to the country to the risk that America could turn against the GOP for removing him from power.

Oddly, neither side to the debate taking place within the GOP seriously questions the legitimacy of the most probable grounds for Obama's impeachment, conviction, and removal from office. As outlined in a 1974 judicial committee report on The Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment ghost written by Hillary Clinton, "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" is the appropriate constitutional categorization for an incumbent's failure to meet the obligations imposed by the office:

It is useful to note three major presidential duties of broad scope that are explicitly recited in the Constitution: "to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States" to the best of his ability. The first is directly imposed by the Constitution; the second and third are included in the constitutionally prescribed oath that the President is required to take before he enters upon the execution of his office and are, therefore, also expressly imposed by the Constitution.

The duty to take care is affirmative. So is the duty faithfully to execute the office. A President must carry out the obligations of his office diligently and in good faith. The elective character and political role of a President make it difficult to define faithful exercise of his powers in the abstract. A President must make policy and exercise discretion. This discretion necessarily is broad, especially in emergency situations, but the constitutional duties of a President impose limitations on its exercise.

The "take care" duty emphasizes the responsibility of a President for the overall conduct of the executive branch, which the Constitution vests in him alone. He must take care that the executive is so organized and operated that this duty is performed.

The duty of a President to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" to the best of his ability includes the duty not to abuse his powers or transgress their limits-- not to violate the rights of citizens, such as those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and not to act in derogation of powers [assigned] elsewhere by the Constitution.

Not all presidential misconduct is sufficient to constitute grounds for impeachment. There is a further requirement-- substantiality. In deciding whether this further requirement has been met, the facts must be considered as a whole in the context of the office, not in terms of separate or isolated events. Because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.

Since Mr. Obama indifference to the performance of his constitutional duties is a matter of public record his guilt and therefore eligibility for impeachment, conviction, and removal is not in dispute. The record shows, for example, that he has knowingly countenanced malfeasance in office by not firing Holder, Clapper, Koskinen, and other senior officers for lying to Congress; publically declared his refusal to enforce federal law with respect to immigration, health care, taxation, marriage, and freedom of information among others; and contemptuously dismissed his responsibilities as the republic's senior financial manager by refusing to negotiate a budget while spending stupendous amounts on personal and family holidays.

Thus the question is not whether he should be removed from office, but only only whether it makes political sense for Congressional GOP leadership to undertake that task given the make up of the incoming senate and the impact the trial would have on the 2016 elections.

The answer to that became obvious on November 4th, 2014 when the most openly anti-Obama senator today, Jeff Sessions, ran unopposed for re-election and Tom Cotton, an out-spoken tea party advocate for reform, won by 20 points over a well respected incumbent; but the RINO receiving the most media and GOP establishment support in 2014, Scott Brown, lost to the ridiculous Obamaphile Jeanne Shaheen.

Scott Walker, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and many other conservatives were outspent by more than 2 to 1 but earned resounding majorities despite major media opposition simply by articulating variations on core tea party positions: fight Washington, cut taxes, trust the people on everything from drugs to guns.

None of them explicitly called for Obama's impeachment and removal, but the most popular politican in America, Sarah Palin, barely caused a ripple when she dared media anger by doing so. Across America, GOP winners from Cornyn to Sullivan were less outspoken, but generally followed both her policies and her advice to win convincing majorities.

Look across the breadth and scope of the GOP's recent success and a dominant common thread appears: this wasn't a vote for the GOP, it was a vote against everything Obama stands for. Winning campaigns for everything from dog catcher to the Senate, stood up for local rights against the federal government, distanced themselves from the policies Obama represents, and focused their ideas, promises, and commitments on rolling back government on everything from gun control to taxes.

The bottom line message from 2014 to the 24 republicans and 10 democrats running for the senate in 2016 is loud and clear: nobody running in 2016 is going to win, regardless of party, if he or she votes against convicting and removing Mr. Obama in 2015 - and the 23 democrats, 8 republicans, and two independents running in 2018 will be under nearly the same pressure.

Of course, the lesson: "refuse to do something about Obamacon abuses, and the voters will get rid of you", is just the stick - there's a carrot too: house and senate hearings leading up to impeachment and trial offer multiple political opportunities for the GOP.

Some examples:

  1. taking this action will go a long way toward recounciling the establishment and tea party wings of the GOP - and make a third party presidential campaign much less likely in 2016.

  2. the hearings will allow both houses to probe malfeasance at agencies including the EPA, IRS, DOJ, Health, Education, and Energy. No matter what else happens, the power of Obama's appointees to control the media narrative will be utterly destroyed.

  3. taking action in the house now effectively freezes Mr. Obama's ability to ram judicial appointments through the lame duck senate, leaves an executive order on immigration unenforceble, and re-assures Isreal on America's commitment to her safety.

  4. immediate action in the house provides strong reason to move a CR now while postponing the real budget debate until the senate is in GOP hands - and a president about to face trial for malfeasance isn't in any position to veto any change approved as part of that CR.

    This can be used to correct a number of Obamacon abuses. For example, the Obamacons have systematically putsched over two hundred senior serving officers from the military while removing about the same number of good people from the coast guard, FBI, and security agencies. A requirement for their reinstatement written into the CR along with an increase in DOD funding would reverse a long standing Obamacon policy aimed at degrading American defenses without giving them much opportunity to counter-attack.

  5. actions taken in the house now will make news about the same time that people find out first that Obamacare rates are going up again, second that most are not eligible for the massive subsidies they've been told to expect, and third that their new deductibles are larger than expected.

  6. removing Mr. Obama from office will leave Joe Biden as acting president. Right now, Hillary Clinton still has the clout to get herself nominated and confirmed as Vice President - thus making her the nearly inevitable democratic nominee in 2016. Hillary Clinton is, however, much easier to defeat than someone like Elizabeth Warren would be - so we should take a lesson from the media democrats supporting Romney for the nomination to do to them what they did to us by making Hillary happen for them.

  7. Biden may be a gaffe machine, but he does not hate the American idea and will both sign and enforce legislation passed by the House and Senate.

  8. there is no good alternative, but acting now can provide a significant GOP opportunity to capture the latino vote in 2016 and later elections. The house lawsuit, even if upheld, simply takes too long to have an effect on current policy. All of the ideas based on defunding crash into presidential veto and budget re-alloctaions powers - including bills to rescind omnibus funding. Impeachment, trial, and removal is the constitutional remedy - and nothing else will work.

    However, there is a case to be made for amnesty and a GOP move to bring a fair and balanced option forward through legislation could not be refused by the Biden White house - but would meet the legitimate needs of Americanized children raised by illegals and provide numerous campaign opportunities to contrast democrat disdain for law with responsible action by the GOP.

  9. finally, preservation of the republic is both sound policy and the sworn duty of every member of Congress. Mr. Obama's actions, particularly with respect to things like the use of the IRS and EPA to punish dissidents, the use of the DOJ to foment both racial hatred and electoral cheating, and his continuing refusal to enforce laws he claims to disagree with, constitute a clear and present threat to the constitutional foundations of the American republic.

Put it all together and it becomes obvious that taking action now produces an improved national posture both domestically and internationally, while providing the GOP with nearly unassailable credentials for a 2016 sweep. Removing Mr. Obama offers, therefore, a political trifecta: combining good policy with good politics and the execution of every member's sworn duty to the republic.

One note: There is a widespread belief that Mr. Obama wants the GOP to move to impeachment because he believes this will damage the GOP brand. This is unlikely to be true - it far more likely that this is a reverse briar patch strategy in which he pleads to be thrown where he least wants to go because doing so makes the GOP less likely to take action.

Notice the commonalities between this meme and another making the rounds since yesterday: "Amnesty: the republicans had it coming." According to this, amnesty doesn't affect most Americans, it's just Obama's way of slapping some very bad people upside the head. It's utter nonsense, but even Drudge ran the headline.

Paul Murphy, a Canadian, wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.