Back on August 24, 2013, the blog “Conservatives Who Define ‘Odds and Ends’ ” was posted at this site. Therein, a section was devoted to the shrieks from far right conservatives to “Impeach Obama”, and how GOP members of Congress, home for their summer recess, had given countenance to this demand by never once asking “On what grounds?”
Now, fast-forward to the present: The shrieking has reached a crescendo and continues unabated. What to do, what to do? The same Republican representatives decided to “feed the animals”, or at least tease them with a taste of what they are clamoring for. To that end, on December 3rd, the GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing titled “The President’s Constitutional Responsibility to Faithfully Execute the Laws”. Called to testify were three experts on Constitutional Law and by implication, impeachment; Michael Cannon of the Libertarian Cato Institute, and Jonathon Turley and Louis Rosenkranz, both of the Georgetown University Law School.
The gist of the lengthy remarks made by these men can be boiled down to this: President Obama has continued the expansion of Executive branch powers and prerogatives, just as his predecessors had done. All agreed that a continuation of this trend would damage the Founding Fathers’ concept of three co-equal branches of government, tipping that balance even further in the direction of the White House. But, throughout all their commentaries, and responses to Committee questions, not one man indicated that Obama had acted in patently illegal fashion, and/or volunteered that grounds for his impeachment existed.
So, what is to be made of this? Was it just political theater undertaken for the benefit of those constituents screaming for the president’s head; a teasing morsel for the zoo animals? The opinion here is “Yes, it was certainly that!!” But, if the Committee Republicans don’t follow through, then that bit of “flesh” will hardly be satisfying, and those representatives know it. So, rather than allow this matter to die the quick death it richly deserves, keep any eye out for what may happen next.
A plausible scenario would involve those Republicans eager to impeach, trying to round up the minimum 218 votes needed in the House to put that stain on Obama’s record. If successful, an impeachment trial would be conducted in the Senate where it would surely go down to defeat on a mostly, if not exclusively, party-line vote. Though the president would not be removed from office, those who made the effort to do so, could then return to their constituents and say “We tried, but the Senate Democrats blocked us”. It’s just about the dirtiest form of partisan politics your blogger has ever witnessed. But, to imagine that it is beyond the capacity of present-day Congressional Republicans is to under-estimate just how desperate they are to placate the animals, and tarnish our Commander-in-Chief. The only potential down-side attached to this scenario is the price that conservatives might pay at the ballot box in November 2014.
Stay tuned for further developments.