When John Boehner was asked about impeachment the other day, he said this: “We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans. Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”
Not exactly, Mr. Speaker.
Boehner’s a busy man so perhaps he didn’t know it was Sarah Palin who just a few weeks ago lit the match that started a firestorm about impeaching the president. In an op-ed for Breitbart she wrote that “It’s time to impeach” Barack Obama.
And she was hardly the first to come up with the idea. Republicans from the ideologically pure wing of the party have thrown the “I” word around for years. And as recently as June 4, former Congressman Allen West wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post making the case that the way the president handled the swap of Guantanamo prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Berghahl was “an impeachable offense.”
So, chatter about impeaching the president was not, in Boehner’s words, “a scam started by Democrats in the White House.” It was a dopey idea started by hardliners in his own party — and according to the polls, supported by many rank-and-file Republicans, though opposed by a vast majority of the electorate.
(A quick few words about those rank-and-file Republicans: They think Barack Obama should be impeached because he committed impeachable offenses. They may be right. But what always amuses me — (not in a good way) — is how clueless these people are about politics. They think being right is enough — and anyone who doesn’t see it their way is a sell-out. They are the same people who, if they thought they were right, would run over a hill into a blaze of machine gun fire. And die. In politics, dying means losing elections and not getting the policies implemented that you want. Thankfully, ideological purists, while having a loud voice on talk radio and the web, won’t get their way on impeachment.)
But Boehner is on to something. Even as he and other sensible Republicans are saying there are no plans now or in the future to impeach the president, Democrats are doing everything they can to keep impeachment alive. They’d like nothing better than for Republicans in the House to vote to impeach President Obama — especially since they know he’d never be convicted in the Senate.
But mostly they know the American electorate would crucify Republicans in November if the GOP actually tried to impeach the president. Voters may not be happy with the way the president is handling just about anything, but they don’t want to go through another impeachment.
That’s why, I suspect, Barack Obama goes to bed every night praying that the fringe will somehow convince the rest of the Republican Party to vote for impeachment. He and just about everybody but the true believers understand that that’s the Democrats’ only hope for avoiding disaster in November.
All the polls show the GOP picking up seats in the Senate with a better than even chance of taking control. The election is a referendum, mainly, on the president. Democrats around the country will pay for Mr. Obama’s unpopularity. Unless …
Unless, the impossible happens and the crazies have their way. Then, the election is no longer about Barack Obama’s incompetence. It’s about fringe Republicans – and how the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
So Boehner is half right. The Democrats didn’t start it, but they are trying to pull off a scam. They know impeachment is never going to happen, no matter what Barack Obama does. Even if he unilaterally grants asylum to 50,000 Central American kids on our border while Congress is on vacation, the House won’t impeach him. So Democrats have just one hope: keep talking about impeachment and hope voters who aren’t too smart believe it might really happen.
They won’t understand that it’s Democrats and not the vast majority of Republicans who are keeping impeachment on the front burner. Mr. Obama will go to rallies and tell them, “The Republicans are trying to impeach me for doing my job,” and they’ll believe it.
Meanwhile, Democrats are raising millions for the midterm campaigns with warnings that if the GOP takes over the Senate in three months, they’ll move to impeach the president.
The only people who want the President of the United States impeached are the crazies on the right – and Democrats. Who would have thunk it: Sarah Palin and Barack Obama on the same team, both rooting for impeachment. Politics really do make strange bedfellows.