All that impeachment chatter in the fever swamps is a gift to Democrats, Cillizza argues:
You can be sure that Boehner is making it abundantly clear to members of his conference not to mention the word “impeachment” in public and, if asked about it, to insist that it is absolutely not an option. But, whether they listen is another thing entirely. Some may genuinely believe that Obama has committed acts that warrant impeachment, others may see the possibility of personal political gain out of being on Team Impeachment.
Meanwhile, any and all talk of impeachment may well be the secret ingredient Democrats have been desperately searching for to energize their base in advance of the midterms. (Eighty six percent of Democrats oppose impeaching President Obama.) If Democrats can make their base voters believe that the results of this election could mean the difference between impeaching Obama and not, that’s a major win for them. And, yes, impeachment talk will further stoke passion among some within the conservative base. But, between the IRS, Benghazi and Obamacare do those voters really need a whole lot more motivation to turn out and vote against Obama?
But also more literally, a gift, as in cash money:
It’s a great rallying point for the party’s voter and fundraising base. The Democrats’ House Campaign Committee says that in a single day, in response to the supposed threat of impeachment and reality of a lawsuit against the president, it hauled in 50,000 contributions, 60 percent from women, totaling $1 million.
Perhaps that’s why left-leaning media outlets are talking it up, by Nate Silver’s count, far more than their counterparts on the right:
[F]or every mention of impeachment on Fox News in July, there have been five on liberal-leaning MSNBC. This data comes from a Lexis-Nexis search of transcripts on each network. It counts each mention of the words “impeach” or “impeachment.” The terms were used 32 times in a single episode of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Monday. (Ordinarily, I’d adjust for the overall volume of words spoken on each network, but I know from my previous research that MSNBC and Fox News have about the same number of words recorded in Lexis-Nexis.) The scoreboard so far in July: Fox News has 95 mentions of impeachment, and MSNBC 448. That works out to about 2.7 mentions per hour of original programming on MSNBC, or once every 22 minutes.
And perhaps that’s why Paul Ryan has come out against it:
“This does not rise to the high crimes and misdemeanor level,” Ryan told reporters Wednesday morning at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. The impeachment talk has been a steady theme among the GOP’s Tea Party wing and has been embraced in recent days by Democrats as a potent fundraising tool. “I see this as sort of a ridiculous gambit by the President and his political team to try and change the narrative, raise money and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way,” Ryan said Wednesday, echoing House Speaker John Boehner’s comments Tuesday that the White House’s impeachment talk is a “scam.”
Ryan’s reasonability on this issue makes Aaron Blake so happy:
Ignore the first part; that’s just him echoing the talking point that other top Republicans have used. The second part is the operative part. It’s where he offers a pretty novel thought: that Obama has not committed an impeachable offense. … [I]t’s getting to the point where Republican leaders need to do a little more to nip this thing in the bud before it becomes bigger than they can handle. And what better way than to make an argument using the very thing that the tea party loves to cite: the Constitution. These leaders could, as Ryan does, acknowledge concerns about what Obama is doing while also noting that “high crimes and misdemeanors” is generally thought to be a very high threshold.