Obama Goads Boehner to Take Impeachment Entirely Off the Table

Impeachment is the constitutional remedy for public officials including presidents who break the law. For the remainder of Obama's time in office, though, impeachment may as well have been written out of the Constitution.

House Speaker John Boehner has been maneuvered into taking impeachment out of the U.S. system of governance by Obama's scamming campaign tactics, along with a hyperpartisan media, today.

Talk of impeachment was cooked up by a White House desperate for something to rally Democrats ahead of November’s elections, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday, flatly ruling out any action on the controversial suggestion.

“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans,” Mr. Beohner said. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

Boehner is right; the Democrats are running a scam on the American people.

To be clear, there are no Republicans in leadership positions who are seriously considering impeaching President Obama. It's not on the agenda. To be clear again, the percentage of Americans who now want to impeach Obama is about the same percentage of Americans who wanted to impeach President George W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton before him. There is always a minority out there who dislikes the current president so badly that they want him kicked out. Clinton was impeached, of course, but he beat the rap despite the fact that he did lie under oath and he did suborn the perjury of others. His actions later led to him being disbarred by the United States Supreme Court.

Obama's crimes against the rule of law are arguably more serious than Clinton's. Whether Obama deserves impeachment isn't just a legal question, it's also a political question. Obama has broken laws or essentially re-written laws without Congress several times, and on immigration he is threatening to do so again and may legalize as many as 5 million who are in the country illegally. He does not have the power to do what he is doing, as he publicly admitted himself more than once. Yet he intends to act anyway, in full knowledge and awareness both that his act is illegal, and that it will provoke and divide the nation. He wants to be provocative, and he wants to be seen as rewarding people who support him and shore up his support on the left while dividing and beating his opposition. If America still lived by the letter of the Constitution, and if we were not possessed of the racial and political divisions that beset us now, a case could be made for Obama's impeachment.

But that's not the world that we live in. We slipped off of the foundations of the Constitution a long time ago. The fact is, nearly half of the country still supports Obama and his policies including his lawlessness (to the extent that they even know about any of that), and the fact is, the politics of impeaching the nation's first black president are so dire that they ought to force even Obama's most ardent critics to think long and hard about the full implications of taking that step.

Nevertheless, the threat of impeachment ought to hang over the head of every president as a powerful disincentive to act outside his powers. Presidents are not kings; Congress should be able to remove them for lawbreaking. President Obama's recent talk of impeachment, his party fundraising off of the made-up threat, his communications advisers playing that made-up threat for all it's worth, have cornered Boehner. Impeachment no longer hangs over Obama's head. He has taken that piece off the board.

Give the president and his advisers due credit for the chess game that they have just played and won. They have Boehner (and Congress, and the Constitution, by the way) in checkmate and they know it. Not only did they haul in over a million dollars from their gullible supporters by playing up impeachment. They have ensured that no matter who controls the Senate and the House after November, Obama will not face any threat from Congress at all. As much as I admire Sarah Palin, she has to share some blame for bringing impeachment up. She meant well but has played right into Obama's hands on this.

And this all happened when Obama ought to be on the defensive over the spectacular disasters that he is at least partly responsible for, from Russia and Ukraine to Iraq to Libya to Israel all the way to the US-Mexico border.

Barack Obama has set up his final two years in the presidency to be a continuing series of constitutional wars and crises, in which he will never face the most potent constitutional weapon that could be used against him. A national leader who cares about the nation's well-being would recoil from even the possibility of instigating such conflict for the country. But Barack Obama is not and has never intended to be a national leader. He leads his party and those who support him, and the rest of us are mere enemies to be punished.