In the little-seen 1997 film 187, Samuel L. Jackson played a Los Angeles high school teacher in a one-man war against the school’s gang members. The film is only memorable for a classic Jackson line in the film’s climax: “If you’re gonna be stupid, don’t be half-ass stupid, be all the way stupid!”
I couldn’t help thinking of that line when reading about the right-wingers who have convinced themselves that President Obama can and must be impeached. Of course, this impeachment talk actually began before Obama was even sworn into office: I remember former Boston talk radio star Jay Severin declaring on-air in early-January 2009 that efforts to impeach Obama should begin immediately after Inauguration Day, on the grounds that Obama’s vision of government was unconstitutional.
I have no sympathy for the Republican officials who cannot—and absolutely will not—figure out how civilize the politically barbaric, but Doug Mataconis does:
Mainstream Republicans and conservatives rejecting the idea of impeachment isn’t entirely surprising, of course. As I’ve noted when writing about this issue in the past, many of these people, including the likes of Boehner and McCain, were around the last time that the GOP tried the impeachment strategy and they remember how it ended. Clinton was impeached, of course, be he was ultimately acquitted in a Republican controlled Senate because, as anyone could have seen beforehand, there were not 67 votes to convict him of any of the charges against him. In the end, there were 45 votes to convict on the perjury charge and 50 to convict on obstruction of justice, and all of the guilty votes on each of the charges came from Republican Senators. Regardless of who wins control of the Senate in November, and there’s no chance that there’d be any action on an issue like this before then, the outcome would be basically the same, with the added benefit of all business in Congress grinding to a halt during the month or two (or three) it took the process to play out. In the end, it’s likely that the Republican Party would come out of the entire thing looking utterly ridiculous, just as it heads into a Presidential election. That’s why the leadership and mainstream conservatives are pushing back against the idea, if not ignoring it entirely.
Among the Tea Party and the hardcore GOP base, though, it seems as though impeachment is well on the way to becoming yet another one of those articles of faith, right along with absolute belief in the fact that Fast & Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS targeting story are the worst Presidential scandals in American history. In fact, notwithstanding the fact that the leadership opposes impeachment and knows that it would be a political disaster, it remains to be seen whether this impeachment talk remains something confined to the fringe of the GOP and the conservative or if it starts to become a more mainstream idea to the point where the leadership in Congress finds itself forced to “do something” in response to pressure from the base. That pressure could increase if the GOP captures the Senate in November and the base of the party finds itself energized in the manner it was after the 2010 midterms. It could also become an issue if and when the lawsuit that the House of Representatives intends to file against the President ends up going nowhere, as I fully expect that it will.
The sight of Fox News Channel personality Bernard Goldberg trying to warn the network’s viewers of the irrationality of impeachment on July 10 was hilarious. Bernie, how can one talk sense to the senseless? Presumably, those who agree with Severin’s assertion that Obama should have been impeached immediately after being sworn in started breaking stuff in their living rooms as soon as they heard Goldberg warn against an impeachment effort.
Goldberg asserted that “the hard left” also desired an impeachment effort because it would ultimately destroy the Republican Party. Hey, I don’t deny that desire. I want to see the Republican Party hit rock-bottom ridiculousness, to finally reach Peak Wingnut, to go all-in on asinine behavior. I want to see the GOP follow Samuel L. Jackson’s advice, and “be all the way stupid!” Perhaps an impeachment effort is the one thing that will finally convince those who still have some degree of affinity for the GOP that it is long past time to a) sever ties with the party and b) deprive it of as much political oxygen as possible.
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