Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 11, 2010

THERE'S THAT 'I' WORD AGAIN.... Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) sure sounds excited about the midterm elections. In particular, the people Bachmann talks to really hate the president.

"[T]he thing is, here we are, people can't wait until November. They're practically lining up for polls now, they can't wait to go out and vote. The only thing is people wish Barack Obama was up for re-election right now, because they'd honestly love to have a chance to throw him out of office. Everywhere I go, people ask me, 'Michele, can we impeach the president?'"

Hmm. Everywhere Bachmann goes, people emphasize their desire to see the president impeached. Impeached for what? Bachmann didn't say, and given the deranged crowd she hangs out with, it's probably safe to assume that it doesn't much matter. (As a rule, those seeking to undo national elections might look for "high crimes," but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that those pushing the issue with Bachmann don't care if Obama has actually committed an impeachable offense or not.)

In this case, Bachmann didn't say exactly whether she supports presidential impeachment; it's just what "people" say "everywhere" she goes.

But this brings me back to a point from a couple of weeks ago -- how seriously are Republicans prepared to take this whole impeachment idea?

Obviously, President Obama hasn't committed any crimes, and there are no sane reasons for anyone to try to impeach him. But House Republicans have been known to take some stupendously crazy steps, so it's hardly unreasonable to ask now -- before the election.

Remember, throughout 2006, when Republicans realized that Democrats had a very good shot at reclaiming the congressional majority, one of the single most common GOP attacks before the elections was that Dems would try to impeach Bush and/or Cheney if they were in the majority. (The party had no policy platform or accomplishments to point to, so this became their campaign message.)

The talk was so common that Democratic leaders, much to the chagrin for the party's base, declared unequivocally before the election that presidential impeachment was "off the table."

So, are Republicans prepared to also take impeachment off the table in advance of these midterm elections? Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) has raised the specter of impeachment. So has Michele Bachmman. Fox News has, too. In February, a national poll found that a plurality of rank-and-file Republicans wants to see Obama impeached.

Is it on the table for 2011 or not? Voters should know what to expect from the next Congress. At this point, there's no reason for the GOP to avoid the question -- they're the ones who brought it up. So, what's it going to be?

Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Why don't Democrats talk about Michelle's desire to impeach the President. Let's get the independents to wondering just how deranged the Republicans have become.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 11, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, we both know that nothing — nothing! — will get this country back on sure footing like impeachment proceedings will. In fact, there's not a single problem — oil disaster, sagging economy, two wars, or Lindsay Lohan's insobriety — that can't be fixed entirely by the most stubborn, ineffective, corrupt, amoral, hypocritical, devious, conniving, heartless, ignorant, and retarded members of our legislature trying to remove a sitting president for attempting to do the will of the public.

Especially if he's black.

Posted by: chrenson on June 11, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

All of this is just to say that Republicans do not recognize anyone's right to govern except their own, even if they fail to win the election. They are just a tyrannical party. If they don't garner the votes to win, they look for ways to subvert the governing authority of the winner. If they can't do that, they threaten violence and claim that they are patriots. Obviously, they are not. They are whiny children.

Posted by: PS on June 11, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Once a bloody shirt Republican, always a bloody shirt Republican! Once Republicans go there, it's hard to come back - ain't that right Karl! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on June 11, 2010 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is Bachmann acknowledging that Obama is rightfully the President, because you can't impeach someone who isn't qualified.

Taking impeachment off the table is idiotic. No one knows what has been done or will be done. The D's should have never done it and the R's shouldn't.

Posted by: ScottW714 on June 11, 2010 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

If Bachmann ever gets asked again on what "everyone" wants to impeach Obama for, she can always refer to this list:

Top 10 Reasons to Impeach Barack Obama:
10) Obama's a White Sox fan.
9) Obama uses Straight Line lacing of his shoes instead of Criss-Crossing.
8) Obama uses words from a college level thesaurus.
7) Obama's name spelled backward is STALIN.
6) Obama refuses to let us get over the cancellation of "West Wing".
5) Obama is secretly replacing our regular coffee with Folgers' crystals!
4) Forget Obama's birth certificate, it's his lack of a fishing license that causes greater concern.
3) Obama prefers crunchy peanut butter over creamy, the BASTARD.
2) Obama's a Fascist Communist, which is a logical impossibility, so he's breaking the Law of Metapolitics right there.

and the Number One Reason to Impeach Barack Obama:
1) Obama's not St. Ronnie Reagan!

Posted by: PaulW on June 11, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

I wish Obama would state, like FDR, "I welcome their hatred". I wish he could bring himself to embody America at its best instead of playing the omnidirectional placation figure, someone who neither commands respect nor instills fear. Impeachment chatter is the bravado of bullies, which Obama encourages by playing nice. This country has an urgent need for a felt sense of command and cold-eyed leadership. Obama is providing neither.

Posted by: walt on June 11, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be willing to bet that upward of 90 percent of the people whom Bachmann talks to think that impeaching a person means removing that person from office. Not that understanding the actual process would make them any less in favor of it, but I've talked to people who actually argued with me when I said that Bill Clinton had been impeached: "No, he wasn't thrown out of office."

Posted by: navamske on June 11, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Leadership will go for Impeachment if they take back the House. Not because they think it will get Obama out of office. There is virtually no chance of that. They’ll start Impeachment proceedings because they know it will bring everything else to a grinding halt.

The news media will stop covering everything else. The only thing they will talk about is Impeachment. Every single issue will lead to how it affects the Impeachment debate.

And from a legislative perspective, you can forget anything of even minor substance getting past.

It will completely consume the next two years of Obama’s Presidency. You think there is gridlock now an Impeachment proceeding basically means nothing will get done.

Remember, Republicans don’t care if government actually works. If fact, they benefit electorally when it’s perceived as useless and gridlocked. Impeachment turns large segments of the population off politics, granting disportionate power to the right wing evangelical chruches and other dedicated nut job groups (face it folks the Rs do a better job getting their rabid nut-jobs to the polls than the Ds). They ride the 'look gov't doesn't work' meme all while being the ones who broke it in the first place (the MSN will never call them on that).

Mark my words, if Republicans retake the House there will be a bill of Impeachment voted on by the Chamber sometime during 2011.

Posted by: thorin-1 on June 11, 2010 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Is it on the table for 2011 or not?

I figure it's a done deal. One of the reasons for Pelosi's having taken impeachment off the table that I seem to remember from that time was that if the Democratic leadership permitted it -- even with ample justification, since even then the Bush administration was widely thought to have committed a number of impeachable offenses -- it would give the Republicans incentive to abuse the process (again) when they next could muster the votes.

I also seem to remember a lot of people saying, "wake UP, that's what they'll do ANYWAY." Which, as I said, I think is right on the money.

I also imagine that when they do, Pelosi, Reid & Co. will react in total surprise, because "nobody could have predicted this."

That's a real bunch of leadership we've got down there in Washington.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on June 11, 2010 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

As any civil libertarians on this board are well aware, there are valid reasons to consider impeachment proceedings against Obama. But they are related reasons that should have resulted in Bush and Cheney being impeached, and the Republicans will NEVER move on those issues. So yes, if they were the majority in the House, they would proceed to attempt to do so, basing their "impeachable offenses" on some ridiculous accusations, and spend a large fortune and waste time in a myriad of investigations, as they did with Clinton. You betcha.

Posted by: winddancer on June 11, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm fairly sure that most people throwing around the term "impeachment", including that Bachmann woman, have no idea what it means. They believe it to be synonymous with "make him go away". I once believed (I really did) that you had to be intelligent to be in congress.

Posted by: gelfling545 on June 11, 2010 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ah. Impeach Obama. Again, one asks, are GOP voters just abysmally, infinitely stupid, or are they merely cynical..one more way for MY TEAM to win, impeach Obama.

I vote stupid. I've come to the firm conclusion that anyone who votes GOP is way too stupid to be taken seriously, when it comes to their politics, anyway.

Posted by: LL on June 11, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

My recollection is that Pelosi declared impeachment "off the table" a day or two after election day.

Much like Obama waited until the nomination was sewed up to declare his support for the FISA legislation.

Posted by: JL on June 11, 2010 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Are you kidding, Steve? Didn't you know that Being President while Black is certainly grounds in many Baggers heads.

Posted by: bcinaz on June 11, 2010 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ, Steve, if you can't impeach a President for not being an American citizen, what can you impeach one for?

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 11, 2010 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

They will impeach him for something. It is just a matter of convincing the public that whatever it is a high crime. If they impeach him for something that GWB did, they will. GWB is not the president and can no longer be impeached. Why would they worry about that? His reputation is fairly sullied. (So was Nixon's...in the long run, did that matter for the Party? Were the Republican in his administration banned from the corridors of power forever?)

Only Democrats back down to protect the legacy of someone..."It started under Clinton."

Remember, for many Republicans and the MSM, the take over in 1994 and hounding the President until he faced conviction in the Senate is seen as a high point of the era, even if technically it was not successful.

Posted by: anomimouse on June 11, 2010 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I hate it when you write crap like this. It gives validity to the term impeachment applied to Obama. There was a 'demand' for impeachment of the most criminal administration of modern times with crimes and corruption rolling off the table. It is one of the reasons so many have difficulty accepting (even now) Pelosi.

But republicans are slime and care little for justice or fairness. Bachmann is the type that cheers at lynchings and obviously the republicans will do anything to cause failure to this administration obstructing and blocking everything the dems do even at the expense of our nation's progress.

These goobers have done everything possible to diminish our democratic system and make government a failure. You could replace the word impeachment with any sleazy word and Bachmann's crowd is all for it if it hurts the president. They are beyond pathetic and horrible for our nation.

Posted by: bjobotts on June 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

If there is a mechanism in place by which they can remove a Democrat and they perceive that they can, they will. How did Schwarzenegger win his first governorship again? Why is there a suit in New Jersey to attempt to recall Senator Menedez? While recalls aren't impeachments, they will be used...I see know reason why they wouldn't.

Posted by: anomimouse on June 11, 2010 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

When Bachmann and her cohort say "impeach," they really mean "lynch."

Posted by: Mercer Reader on June 11, 2010 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I think it's just plain crazy to think Obama should be impeached, but as for your "impeached for what?" question:

As Gerald Ford said, when he was House Minority Leader, "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

You may not agree with Ford's sentiment, and I know that I don't, but factually, it's a pretty accurate summary of what the Constitution has to say on the matter.

Posted by: Well on June 11, 2010 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

As long as Democrats control the House, Republicans are powerless to move any impeachment scheme unless Obama does something seriously worthy of the case, and I don't mean dissing Republicans over some bill they don't like. As for Bachmann, and all the "multitudes" that she sees clamoring for impeachment, those are the kinds of people that come to see her. They are predisposed to want that. Just look at the polls about Obama and his initiatives, especially the party division facets of the polls. Republicans are so far into the opposed column, that his support from them is almost nonexistent. Bachmann and her ilk speak to people on the right fringe of those polls, so I'd be surprised if they weren't calling for his impeachment, along with denying he was born in the US, trying to make the country socialist, trying to take our guns away from us, and conspiring with Muslims to destroy the country. The real question is what percentage of the country do these people really make up?

Posted by: af on June 11, 2010 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Obviously, President Obama hasn't committed any crimes"

...except for conspiring to have an American citizen assassinated, and serving as an accessory after the fact by making sure no one ever gets prosecuted for torture.

But the Republicans are only interested in imaginary crimes, not real ones.

Posted by: hirst on June 12, 2010 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

"...except for conspiring to have an American citizen assassinated,..."

What "American citizen" has Obama conspired to have assassinated?

"...and serving as an accessory after the fact by making sure no one gets prosecuted for torture."

Disallowing a prosecution of a crime does not fit the legal definition of "accessory" (ie, disallowing such a thing doesn't constitute a "crime").

Posted by: daniel rotter on June 12, 2010 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

Actually it's not impeachment they're looking for, it's a lynching.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 12, 2010 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

In the event of a House takeover, I rate the chances of an impeachment bill at 100%. Socialism and foreign birth the grounds.

Posted by: bob h on June 12, 2010 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

Lets be clear. Michele Bachmann doesn't want to impeach the president she wants to lynch him. She is a part of a larger effort by many on the fringe right who sees Obama as 'not one of us', plainly speaking he's Black. It's up to president and democrats to call the Bachmanns and the Palins of America.

Posted by: Todd on June 15, 2010 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

I have no idea

Posted by: internet marketing wassenaar on December 28, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK



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