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As left and right partisans fold Chicken Little into the Boy Who Cried Wolf, high time to label our latest national derangement: Impeachment Addiction Affliction. One day militant Tea Partiers sound the alarm, capping off laughable threats to "sue the White House" with the primal scream, "impeach the anti-American devil president." Next day contrite House leadership demurs, "No, no, not on the agenda," sweeping "off the table" a true nuclear option. Yet, weeks later, rising like an untreated infection, the House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-La.), bluntly refuses to take "off the table" the time-bomb his own party denies was ever on.
Where is this metaphoric "table" anyway, between the tabula rasa and the tabula null? I bet the anti-Obamacare House gang, bragging about 40 House assaults, taunt would-be impeachers with nary a single vote. That chicanery aside, leftwing extremists then distort Obama's nasty brand of neo-con belligerence as the incarnation of mass-murdering WWII fascists, with Pol Pot tossed in for seasoning. Frustration mounts after two terms of WH betrayal: unless Obama is yanked from office ("just fire him, or whatever"), scratch the Democratic Party, America, fairness and democracy. My sympathies: what to do with the surge-friendly, drone-driven, warrantless spying, faux "peacenik" president?
Not House impeachment, not probable now, not with Obama in decline. Why impeach an unpopular, staggering president routinely hogtied and cornered, hardly a threat to the opposition -- and too loaded a figure for his own party. Yet real-world impeachment, not just election chatter, culminates after three distinct waves, none in evidence:
-- Aggressive House majority ready to countermand the last national election, inviting massive civil discord because this latest miscreant jeopardizes viable government (and the challenge fuels members' reelection). Though impeachable acts need not reach criminal standards, any suspect House politician so presumptuous to threaten a minority president with this guy's life story must eventually confront "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
-- The Senate, and its Judiciary Committee, must be on board, offering a reasonable shot at conviction. If the Senate objects, or lets the trial turn farcical (as with Clinton's non-governance sins), the outcome boomerangs, not just redeeming the now victimized leader but confirming impeachers as even worse culprits, guilty of abusing a precious, democratic corrective. Thus recent pre-emptive WH noise about "welcoming" House over-reach.
-- Because exile shreds the last electoral mandate, there must be considerable, if not majority popular approval. As with assassination, actual voters get disenfranchised. Equally important is a strong consensus the stand-in would be better, certainly not worse, than the discard. Remember the unkind '08 jokes: thanks to Palin, President McCain would be unimpeachable.
Today, knee-jerk cries for removing the current malefactor are so commonplace, the Boy Who Cried Wolf begins to look sensible. Why not add a proposition alongside presidential voting specifying how many months or years must pass before impeachment threats start? If impeachment proceedings started a few weeks after inauguration, think of the time and emotional stress we'd all avoid. Perhaps we should vet candidates with an abbreviated Impeachment trial to immunize them for the inevitable, when the People's House maddeningly equally "indicts" the voting majority for its latest, calamitous screw-up. Alas, the shock value is gone.