Skip to comments.Republicansí impeachment-mania: How it achieves a subtler, dangerous end (Cue spooky music)
Posted on 07/08/2014 10:17:07 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Despite Sarah Palin's calls, the president won't be impeached. But here's how her demand normalizes other lunacy.
By the Grace of God, the English used to say, when asked by what authority their monarch ruled. Divine right was the answer, and that was that you didnt have to like the queen, but God did, and thats why she was in charge.
Simpler times, those were.
Today, former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced her belief that President Obama should be impeached. Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his intention to launch the first congressional lawsuit against the executive branch since United States v. Nixon. Days later, the Republican Party of South Dakota became the first state-level party organization to formally call for Obamas impeachment.
If some Republicans are to be believed, the only rationale behind Congress tamer lawsuit route is feasibility: If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldnt be convicted, congressman Blake Farenthold told BuzzFeed last year.
The occasional call is nothing new. Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt have faced the fringe demand for congressional removal, and despite two successful efforts in the House (against Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton), none has ever seen the bad side of a subsequent Senate trial. President Obama will not be impeached; despite their bluster, the GOP-controlled House will never even propose a trial in earnest. The Clinton years taught them well enough what happens when such an effort backfires and you become the guys who just wasted a year of the countrys time.
What ought to concern us is not the serious possibility of the president being removed from office, but the sense of what in a world where such a conversation occurs at all suddenly seems reasonable by comparison. Consider an interview earlier this year, in which Fox News host and Santa Clause ethnicity specialist Megyn Kelly asked Mitch McConnell why he and the rest of the congressional GOP hadnt seriously explored the meaningful option of impeaching President Obama for vaguely defined abuse of power.
It doesnt matter that McConnell said they wouldnt: That the question was even asked on a major television network by a prominent (if not necessarily respected) member of the press to one of the most powerful figures in the federal government reflects something more than just fringe lunacy. It is indicative of a broader trend in our civic culture, one more subtly (but perhaps tellingly) betrayed in Senator McConnells then-contention that simply defunding every executive initiative and refusing to let the country function while President Obama remains in office would be a comparatively reasonable, less dramatic option.
Weve gotten into the habit of delegitimizing our presidents not just contesting their election or pushing back against their policies, but denying their very claim to the White House. From the farcical (birthers) to the faux-serious (anti-American socialist!), weve moved beyond mere opposition and into a deeper civic sickness, where casting aspersions on the policies of an opposition president has given way to challenging his very right to implement those policies.
It didnt start with Barack Obama. This new kind of cynicism has been gaining ground for years. The conspiratorial style is catching. Growing up during the Bush administration, I joined plenty of my fellow leftists in righteous conversations about hanging chads and Diebold-stolen votes. Before that? It was eight years of Bill Clinton: Whitewater murder suspect and blow job perjurer.
That isnt to say it doesnt make a certain kind of sense. The impulse to delegitimize the president serves as a useful solution to an old dilemma in American politics: How do you respond to a leader who is at once enemy and ally someone who was bitterly opposed in his ascension, but having nonetheless prevailed, is now not just their candidate, but your president, as well?
As cynical as weve become, Americans still retain a certain reverence for the presidency. Watergate eroded it some, sure; and the ensuing soap operas from Iran-Contra to Monica to Tallahassee 2000 have certainly tarnished the brand. But within our civic consciousness, the presidency retains a transcendent air, an office occupied by a politician, but still not entirely political. The president is the commander-in-chief. He is the head of government, yes, but he is the head of state as well. The office still retains that luster, and across table from prime ministers and kings, he speaks for all of us. There is a reason we still dont tolerate his challengers attacking him when overseas.
But pressed by a modern world into an unprecedented form of zero-sum politics, the tension between our guy abroad and their guy at home proved more difficult to sustain. So the delegitimizers found a work-around: If you cant strip the presidency of its protective insulation, you can strip it from a chief executive by insinuating that he isnt really the president in the first place. And thats when the loyal opposition becomes a crusade against occupation, poisonous to a functioning government.
Its a dangerous game. When the grace of God gave way to the grace of an electorate, it was vital if people were to be governed by consent that that consent, once given, be respected. When we allow ourselves to start believing that consent is counterfeit whenever we disagree with our leaders, the national experiment breaks down. The well is poisoned. Wars against usurpers involve no compromise, and so we see endless gridlock. We see politics as trench warfare. We see a polity where reaching across the aisle is a betrayal and defunding every initiative is the reasonable response. We see a system in which every year is little more than a battle to reclaim the throne from a fraud the very thing we broke with Britain to avoid.
God save the queen.
Sounds like the loons over at the saloon are starting to worry about their boy.
Impeach hell, pep walk his ass out the front door of the WH. He works for us and is not above the law.
I think I speak for all sane men and women when I say Odungo and the Moochie wonder are deserving of a FAR WORSE fate than impeachment.
Dana Milbank at the Compost says we have embraced martyrdom
probably the only way that the lefty propaganda trash from “salon” gets any attention at all is when it gets posted here on FR.
what a treat.
There was none of this high-minded concern for the dignities of office when Bush was President - the author grudgingly admits as much. When, if ever, the author defends a Republican President in the same terms, we can talk. This piece is not, as it pretends to be, an objective consideration of the merits of impeachment, it is only another tiresome tribal drum song.
So are you saying I should quit posting threads from sites like that?
Salon fags! Next The Nation’s Latrina Van den Hooters will tell us John McCain thinks removing, or even impeaching the Lizard King is a bad idea.
Actually, that is true.
John McCain Reacts to Sarah Palins Impeach Obama Column
McCain: No, Im not calling for Obamas impeachment
When the left and establishment repubs are warning of the impending dangers of impeachment, then you can be sure that it’s time to impeach.
There is strong evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors-perjury, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, failure to uphold US laws, misappropriation of tax payer dollars, utter disregard for the constitution, inciting lawlessness, etc. This is not about politics or delegitimizing the presidency, Obama has already done that to himself. This is about delegitimizing the rule of law and, thus, the constitution of the US and the republic itself. If allowed to persist, it sets a precedent for future Presidents.
I sure hope he’s wrong about that!
Let martyr the RINO’s instead
Emmett Rensin - essayist, playwright, columnist, author, and editor based in Chicago, IL.
aka Member of Children of the Corn
Is that a man or a woman?
please read what i wrote again. i was only trying to make a somewhat funny point.
what i wrote was that the only time the salon leftys probably get any amount of attention is when its posted here.
The trick will be to impeach Obama while appearing not to do so.
The crony establishment Senate is petrified they’d have to vote on an impeachment against a political mob boss charged with crimes much, MUCH worse than a cigar and a blowjob, let alone stealing 20 minutes of audio.
Not impeaching over the IRS fiasco alone would hang a string of garlic over the Senate’s “Tweed Ring” vampire neck for at least the next 30 years. This would upset the corrupt “apple cart” of the beltway syndicate for a long, LONG time.
Personally I do not think that the time the House and the Senate spent on Impeaching and Trying Bill Clinton were wasted.
To me when they were occupied with Clinton they were not doing the more destructive things they usually do.
And there was the added benefit that quite a number of citizens got a lesson in how the government is supposed to work rather than how it has come to dysfunction.
N u t. c a s e ...
The first thing we should note about Rensins narrative of his long-term tumultuous relationship with his polyamorous girlfriend Lou is how un-polyamorous the whole relationship appears. There is little to the actual relationship that would seem to be meaningfully impacted by the very definitions of polyamory Rensin gives, of being able to pursue relationships with multiple people at the same time. Sure he mentions the time he and Lou go out with other people, sleep with others, and engage in non-monogamous activities that Rensin thinks defines polyamory. However, his narrative of his relationship with Lou is characterized more by their uneasy reliance and, as Rensin dubs it, co-dependency on each other. Fragile egos lead to fights, fights lead to break ups that dont last, cohabitation continues more out of habit than desire, miscommunications occur on both sides. On the one hand these details support Rensins conclusion that there is nothing abnormal about being polyamorous; polyamory is not an ideal condition that will save you from making terrible choices in your choice of partners or relationships in other words.
How should we square Rensins personal narrative then with his emphasis that polyamory, in the long term, is better than monogamy? Rensins beef with monogamy is that it is often unrealistic and provides fantastical narratives for people that they cannot possibly live up to. Rensin even sometimes seems to believe that his relationships failure stems from not letting go of monogamous ideals enough, of still viewing fighting and riled emotions as signs of care for another person. Perhaps this is true of Rensins relationship though it is difficult to fully judge because we only have Rensins words to take on this and the other important player, Lou, shifts from being a real, independent person to another character in his story. By the end of this personal narrative Rensin is indeed single but still polyamorous and so with each new relationship has to negotiate the waters of coming out as polyamorous to all the monogamous others that, for Rensin, dominate the world. The ending is hardly satisfactory, and for all his apparent disclosures there is still an element of smugness to Rensins account, that he has figured something out that the rest of us mortals are ignorant of, even though he claims to have already overcome such zero-sum thinking.
If Hairy Reid can call Clarence Thomas a white man, we can call Juan McCain a yellow Democrat.
And if Juan thinks impeachment’s a bad idea, it must be a great idea.
I know a lot here say, “ Bad idea, he won’t be removed.”
Well, we don’t know that for certain, and impeachment by itself might have a prophylactic or salutary effect on President Narcissus.
And it’s not like the Congress is busy doing anything else ...
Emmett Rensin is an author, essayist, and playwright, originally from Los Angeles, CA. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The New Republic, USA Today, and elsewhere. He is a founding member of First Floor Theater in Chicago, where he currently lives.
Ain't he cool (feet on the table)
God save the Queen? I didn’t say it.
How dare you ask! It is admirable if the sex of an individual can’t be determined. Marriage arguments and restroom designations—BAH!
We’re an anachronism.
There aren’t any martyrs in this, Geron. Martyrdom is usually noble. All I see are cowards & corrupt pieces of crap. Liars.
(I agree with you about flushing out the RINOs. But please don’t call them martyrs.)
Give the Cons a break! They're stuffing their pockets with both hands as fast as they can man.
Putting aside the Constitution dismissing savagery of this president, del-igitimization is TACTIC ONE in the Lefts playbook. They don't argue the merits of anything EVER;
Or somewhere in between?