Speaker Boehner Saved the GOP by Refusing to Allow an Impeachment Vote

boehner-memoTo be honest with you, I was kind of hoping that the Republican-controlled House would go with an attempt to impeach President Obama. This whole “let’s sue the president instead” alternative that Speaker John Boehner somehow convinced the Tea Party caucus to accept is a consolation prize to them. To political junkies like myself, impeachment would have been far more interesting. For a little while, it looked like impeachment proceedings could be the new rite of passage, the new trophy to be bestowed on Democratic presidents from Republicans.

The decision to try to sue President Obama for allegedly exceeding his constitutional authority and ignoring Congress, and then turning right around and asking him to do the same thing with the current issue of refugees shows just how dysfunctional things are right now in the House. Take for example this statement from Speaker John Boehner:

“There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries,”  the statement read. (Source)

Watching John Boehner’s attempts to keep order in the ranks reminds me of some of the incompetent managers at various restaurants I worked at during my years in the service industry. In fact, I almost feel sorry for the guy – almost. People like my former representative, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) can talk about impeachment or suing President Obama all they want, without risking driving away swing voters since they come from solidly Republican districts. However, imagine being a Republican running for Congress in one of the few competitive races, or perhaps one of the Senate contests? If you’re running on a platform of fiscal conservatism and ending government waste, how do you explain the crazies who are screaming about Marxism and launching one wasteful investigation after another?

Any serious attempt to impeach President Obama this year would have been doomed to failure. Even if it could have passed the House with a two-thirds majority, it would have been DOA in the Senate. But to Tea Party Republicans, it seems that they subscribe to the idea that anything is possible, if they just tried hard enough. After all, look at how many times they attempted to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act. How many pointless investigations into Benghazi, the IRS or Fast and Furious did they waste time and taxpayer money on?

My friend James Schlarmann explains further:

That being said, it would also make sense for them to wait until after this year’s mid-terms to see if they do indeed secure the Senate. Controlling both halves of Congress would certainly make things sail along a little smoother. Then again, Newt Gingrich probably felt the same way in 1998 too. In the end of it all, the reality is that whether they make their move in 2014 or 2015, Congressional Republicans will inevitably fail to remove Obama from office, because they’d still fall well-short of the two-thirds vote they’d need in the Senate to convict Obama. No matter how you slice and dice it, a Republican effort to impeach President Obama — at least with on any charges we’ve seen heretofore — can only be described in one possible way.

Government waste. (Source)

Government waste, by the party that complains about frivolous spending and demonizes people who get government assistance, all while handing out subsidies to their corporate sponsors. Too bad they didn’t go through with the impeachment process, it really would have been fun to watch it blow up in their faces.

From a strategic standpoint, Speaker Boehner did well to placate the Tea Party caucus by allowing them to sue President Obama, instead of permitting a banzai impeachment attempt. An impeachment vote may not have been political suicide but it would have accomplished nothing other than to cause harm to candidates running in swing districts, and it almost certainly would have fired up the otherwise apathetic Democrat base in a midterm election.


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