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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/13/15

Knee-jerk Nullification: Impeachment Lite

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GOP Wages Its Own Pre-emptive War

The Civil War aside, what else in American history matches the remorseless nullification doctrine executed by today's grandstanding, rightwing diehards? What pattern of reckless disruption by extremists, aghast they don't control all three branches, could be more transparent? Can't win the White House? Then scapegoat both president and executive authority. As usual, Democrats seem powerless to resist in kind.

Calculated contempt for the White House, spanning Iranian nuclear talks, speeches by outside agitators, immigration, EPA rules, etc., amounts to nothing less than serial Congressional censures, though revealingly without any honest debate or voting. When not overtly seditious, as with Iran, this onslaught against a sitting president smacks of covert impeachment, though without the courage (and grounds) for formal indictments.

Beltway bullies indeed act "as though Barack Obama isn't even the president," as one Washington Post columnist put it. Their interference abrogates Constitutional division of powers by trumping in advance imagined Iranian horrors that aren't real, a triumph of crazed projection over prudence. Republicans are trapped in contradiction when what John McCain admits is "hysteria" betrays the republic by alleging the president has already betrayed national interests. The irony here is thicker than Tea Party mania over BO's birth certificate -- and who are the "real Americans" now?

This "political wrecking ball," in David Ignatius' apt phrase, extends beyond just presidential authority. A politics of contempt is torpedoing all sorts of cabinet prerogatives, targeting immigration and homeland security, environmental, mining, and drilling regulations, health care delivery, especially abortion, even climate change, education, and infrastructure. In short, faux "impeachment" by nullification (enhanced by rightwing courts) is political warfare against the executive branch.

How different is arguably democratic challenges by a defiant state on a specific issue, or the violation of bad laws overlooked by resistant juries. Marijuana reform emerged because localities and regions (and medical users) steadfastly opposed ponderous federal drug controls. That differs markedly from this lawless stunt, the latest, energy industry-conspiracy served up by Majority Leader McConnell. The top coal-mining shill openly urges defiant nullification against legal and scientific federal EPA oversight of his state's dirtiest polluter.

Impeachment Sans Indictment

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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