Monday, October 18, 2010

Another impeachment drive coming our way?

Propaganda image frm advocates of Obama impeachment

That will almost certainly be a feature of post-election politics if the Republicans win a majority in either the House or Senate. Three recent treatments of that topic:

Digby, Planning The Impeachment Hullabaloo 10/14/2010

Ryan Reilly, The Latest In Conservative Direct Mail: Impeach Obama! TPM Muckraker 10/14/2010

Michael Tomasky, The Elections: How Bad for Democrats? New York Review of Books 09/30/2010 (10/28/2010 issue) Tomasky lays out the prospects in some detail. The background consideration is the same as the Republicans' campaign of pseudo-scandals and investigations against Bill and Hillary Clinton, ably chronicled by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons in The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (2000) and the related DVD. Tomasky on the biggest political risk to the Democrats of Republicans taking a majority in the House of Representatives:

The most damaging actual effect of such an outcome, one few people have focused on yet, is that once Republicans gain the chairmanships of House committees, they will begin launching investigation after investigation into the Obama administration, for example on charges that the Justice Department has shown racial favoritism in refusing to prosecute the New Black Panther Party of Philadelphia for alleged electoral irregularities. These will have little or no meaningful basis in fact but will attempt to distract the administration from its policy objectives, make it look dirty, and with any luck catch a big fish on the hook of perjury or obstruction of justice. (Look for the theme of "Chicago-style thuggery," which was bandied about here and there earlier but never quite caught on outside the right-wing echo chamber, to reemerge.) The Republicans play to win. [my emphasis]
Yes, "The Republicans play to win," a lesson many Democrats including President Obama seem to have the hardest times learning.

Tomasky is dead-on in his reasoning here:

Whatever emerges, one thing is not in doubt: if the Republicans win the House, they will launch a series of investigations into the Obama administration, quite possibly leading to another impeachment drama.

This is not often discussed, but it is certainly no secret. Politico reported in late August:

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.

Republican staffers say there won’t be any self-destructive witch hunts, but they clearly are relishing the prospect of extracting information from an administration that touts transparency.

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.
Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann, who often speaks as the unrestrained id of this new right, said, when asked how Republicans should wield their subpoena power: "Oh, I think that’s all we should do. I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another."

Republicans would deny that impeachment is ultimately on their minds. But why wouldn't it be? They have shown repeatedly that they play to their base, and much of their base already believes that Obama is probably not an American citizen and therefore is an illegitimate president. In a Harris Poll from March, 24 percent of Republicans even agreed that Obama "may be the Antichrist." When your most loyal voters think that, not trying to remove the man from office would amount to malpractice. If the Democrats are worried about the much-discussed "enthusiasm gap" between Republicans' voters and theirs, perhaps bringing these issues out of the shadows would help close it. [my emphasis]
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