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A Case for Impeachment? Not Even Close

John McCain also believes that Benghazi is worse than Watergate, so Mr. Simon doesn't stray far from the mainstream by making that charge.

What puzzles many is that in all this passionate rhetoric, there seems to be some words missing. Huckabee never mentions them. Simon didn't include them. And in all those 100 proposed articles of impeachment against the president, the words never appear.

How can you impeach a president without mentioning "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

That's the constitutional standard, and for people who purport to love our founding document, there is precious little said about a serious case to be made that the lies, the incompetence, the political calculation, the whitewashing, and even the stonewalling and denial of documents add up to a reason to overturn the election and make Joe Biden president.

Michael Hirsh writes in National Journal:

All this will no doubt come back to haunt Hillary Clinton should she decide to run for president; in some cases, she appeared to have been too removed from the events in Benghazi. Hicks at one point testified that that he personally spoke to Clinton at 2 a.m. on the night of the attacks, which makes the administration’s vague description in subsequent days even more suspicious.

But that hardly adds up to a cover-up. In the end, Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of the committee, may find himself digging yet another dry well, as he has done so many times. Even before he took over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, with zero evidence in hand, Issa called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” In his relentless search for evidence (and headlines) since, he has found nothing to back up that statement, including his highly publicized and largely fruitless hearings last June into the the Justice Department’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking program.

Benghazi was a tragedy. It will, almost certainly, remain a political issue. What it is not – by a long shot -- is a scandal yet.

That last point by Hirsh may be more wishful thinking than cogent analysis. What the administration's actions and omissions regarding Benghazi isn't, by a long shot, is criminal or impeachable -- yet. A scandal it surely is, especially after the testimony this week from three highly credible witnesses seriously contradicted the story about the attack and its aftermath coming from the White House. Even the House GOP report on Benghazi issued last month contains the germ of scandal regarding the way that the unclassified talking points were altered.

But an impeachable offense never makes an appearance in the report, nor did any of the compelling testimony this week come close to attaching direct blame for any of the transgressions mentioned -- none of them impeachable -- to the president. You can't impeach a president for being a naive fool or an incompetent boob. You can't impeach a president because he chose aides, assistants, or cabinet secretaries who can't, or won't, do their jobs. You can't impeach a president for looking into a camera and lying to the American people. You can't impeach a president because he tries to hide an error that would cost him votes in an election. Nor can you impeach a president for playing politics with national security, failing to rescue Americans under attack, or going to sleep in the middle of a crisis.

It is embarrassing for so many on the right to talk about the "unraveling" of the Benghazi narrative being the "end of Obama's presidency." The fact is, even if the press went into a feeding frenzy over this story, fulfilling the dreams of Obama's most strident opponents and spreading the details of the scandal far and wide, it is doubtful that the public would be outraged enough to demand the impeachment of the president. Obama's approval rating is still in the low 40s and, given his base of support, it is unlikely to drop into the mid 20s -- a number that eventually convinced Richard Nixon, with the help of GOP leaders who believed if  the president stuck it out through a Senate trial it would destroy the party, to resign.

The last two presidents have had to deal with the issue of impeachment from rabid partisans who care little about constitutional standards and less about the good of the country. Both left and right have made fools of themselves the last decade by treating the extraordinarily serious issue of impeachment as just another political tool, employing it as the ultimate attack -- the WMD of political combat.

It is not edifying for the right to emulate the absolute worst tactics of their opponents. Yes, hold Obama and his administration accountable by getting to the truth of what happened in Benghazi. But unless real evidence surfaces that ties the president directly to an impeachable offense, it would behoove all of us to abandon the idea of creating a serious national crisis that would ultimately tear the country apart at a time when we have to deal with so many critical problems.