Palin’s a self-caricature, but she speaks for a lot of people. They want impeachment, and they want the articles of impeachment to include a big section on Obama’s immigration policies. Boehner’s counteroffer—a lawsuit—won’t sell easily. But it’ll be even harder to sell if he omits immigration from the bill of particulars. Remember, the purpose of the lawsuit is to simultaneously mollify the impeachment-happy right, and then channel its enthusiasm into voting Republican this November. For that reason, Boehner has dressed it up as a comprehensive response to Obama’s equally comprehensive lawlessness. If at the end of the day, Boehner limits his challenges to a handful of trivial actions—the employer mandate delay and No Child Left Behind waivers, say—everyone will notice the incongruity. Including the people he’s trying to meet half way.
Boehner wriggled in said corner this morning:
That was pretty brusque, wasn’t it? I see a defund Obamacare moment coming, don’t you? And Palin is not alone:
As The Post’s Aaron Blake has noted, others favoring impeachment include Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and Allen West (R-Fla.), and the South Dakota Republican Party.
Even Mataconis observes that Palin’s read on the border crisis “has become something of an article of faith among the hard right”:
Rather than accepting the idea that the crisis is due in large part to deteriorating social conditions in Central America combined with a law signed into law by President Bush that bars the U.S. from automatically deporting children arriving from nations other than Canada or Mexico have created this crisis, they believe that the crisis was deliberately created by President Obama. The motives for this supposed conspiracy depend on who you’re talking to and include everything from forcing Congresses hand on immigration reform by creating a crisis on the border to overwhelming the resources of Republican states like Texas and Arizona. As with many things in politics, the fact that these conspiracy theories aren’t true isn’t nearly as important as the fact that it is widely believed among people on the right, and that it is motivating their actions.
Allahpundit makes similar points:
Needless to say, although the prime target here is Obama, the secondary target is Mitch McConnell and the looming Senate Republican majority.
I remember writing somewhere last year after the shutdown that impeachment could become the new “defund” effort — doomed to futility but sufficiently pure in intent and supported by a Republican with sufficiently high standing among grassroots conservatives that to oppose it for logistical reasons is to fail an ideological litmus test. Ted Cruz gave “defund” its political rocket fuel, Palin potentially could be providing the rocket fuel to impeachment. If McConnell decides that it’s pointless to try it because they’ll never get 10-15 Democrats to join them in convicting, it’ll be taken by righties as “proof” that squishy Republican majorities are no better than Democratic ones. That’s a useful grievance for a tea-party champion like Cruz to run on in the 2016 primaries, which makes me eager to hear what he thinks of this idea.
Jonathan Bernstein joins the conversation:
[E]ven if a lot of Republican politicians are calling for impeachment, it’s likely that when push comes to shove the House Republican leadership will shoot the whole thing down. After all, there’s probably nothing that’ll do a better job of pushing President Barack Obama’s approval ratings solidly above 50 percent than a bogus impeachment. House Speaker John Boehner knows that. Just as he and the rest of the leadership know that taking a stand against impeachment would provide further evidence that they are RINOs (apologies to the new House whip, Steve Scalise, and welcome to leadership).
I should also mention that a partisan impeachment with no hope of conviction was irresponsible enough when there was a bipartisan consensus that the president had actually done something wrong (as was the case with Bill Clinton). it’s far more irresponsible when whatever scandal this is supposedly about is only recognized as something significant by the most partisan faction of one party. It also would be unprecedented.
But so, according to the Palinites, is Obama’s dictatorship. Even Jonathan Tobin, who agrees with Palin about Obama’s “lawlessness,” writes that she is once again “demonstrating how profoundly unserious her brand of politics has become”:
Advocates of impeachment can say, as they do in every administration (leftists sang the same tune about George W. Bush), that impeachment is the recourse the founders gave Congress to restrain a president that had violated the law. But in the 225 years since the first president took the oath of office, it is a measure that has always rightly been considered not merely a last resort but a tactic that is associated with extremists who have abandoned the political process. Obama is, after all, not the first president to seek to expand the power of the executive at the expense of the Congress or even the Constitution. Even when a president has been caught violating the law in one manner or the other, the consensus has always been that the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard set forth in the Constitution cannot be used to settle what are essentially political disputes about policy and turf.
But none of this matters to the Palinites and their talk-radio base. To my mind, this is a huge gift to the Democrats. It could make the fall’s elections a referendum on the impeachment of Obama. Which would, for the GOP, seize defeat from the slack, droopy jaws of a nihilist victory.