Artist Rendering of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868
(Image by Steve Leser) Permission Details DMCA
If you follow Republicans as closely and for as long as I have a number of things become apparent. The one that is the most important with regards to election 2010 is that once Republicans find a tactic that works, they stick with it until they are forced to abandon it. There are many examples of this. The election of Bill Clinton in 1992 was followed by a campaign to paint him and his major initiatives, including healthcare reform, as too liberal and out of touch with America. The Republicans reprised this "He's governing in a manner that is too Liberal" campaign against Obama. They will use it again against the next Democratic President elected no matter that President's policies. You can bet your remaining life's earnings on it.
Sometimes, Republicans get ideas from things Democrats have used against Republicans and then use them against Democrats regardless of whether these things apply. The Republicans took the frequent criticisms by Democrats of George W. Bush's inept speech-making and have tried to assert that Obama cannot make speeches without a teleprompter. Republicans, angered by the portrayal of the Tea Party as racist, tried to assert that USDA Director of Rural Development Shirley Sherrod was racist. We all saw how that worked out.
One of the things that to me seems clear is that if Republicans take back the House of Representatives in 2010, they will reuse what worked well to weaken the Clinton Presidency and prevent the election of Al Gore and that is that they will initiate impeachment proceedings against President Obama.
Republicans are not hiding the fact that they are gearing up for this. An August 27 article in Politico talks about how:
Republicans are planning a wave of committee investigations targeting the White House and Democratic allies if they win back the majority. Everything from the microscopic -- the New Black Panther party -- to the massive - think bailouts -- is on the GOP to-do list, according to a half-dozen Republican aides interviewed by POLITICO... And a handful of aggressive would-be committee chairmen -- led by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) -- are quietly gearing up for a possible season of subpoenas not seen since the Clinton wars of the late 1990s.
..."How acrimonious things get really depend on how willing the administration is in accepting our findings [and] responding to our questions"
That last quote is from Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee. To the Politico reporters, Bardella "referred to his boss as "questioner-in-chief.'"
Tom Tancredo, the former Republican congressman from Colorado who is now running for Governor of Colorado as an independent but with much support from Republicans, is openly calling for impeachment of Obama. In an OpEd in the Washington Times, Tancredo said:
[President] Obama's refusal to live up to his own oath of office which includes the duty to defend the United States against foreign invasion requires senators and representatives to live up to their oaths. Members of Congress must defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today, that means bringing impeachment charges against Mr. Obama
While some mainstream Republicans attempted to distance themselves from Tancredo's remarks, the Republican blogosphere erupted with support for the effort. The base that Republicans need to support them are with them on impeachment.
After Clinton, The Impeachment Genie is Out of the Bottle
In one of my earliest introductions to impeachment in grade school, my teacher made the point that congress is loath to use the impeachment process because impeachment could be used (or misused, depending on your point of view) to usher in a new parliamentary system in the US. This is because the Constitutional rules regarding what constitutes grounds for impeachment are so vague that the argument could be made that it is completely up to congress what constitutes a justifiable reason to remove the President, to wit: