Within hours after Republicans ended their budget fight with President Obama and allowed a measure ending the federal government shutdown to go through, a Republican congressman from Texas arranged for the distribution of a book to House members, which makes an argument for possible articles of impeachment against the president.
WND, a conservative website, reported that each of the 435 members of Congress received a copy of “Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office,” by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, courtesy of Rep. Steve Stockman.
The book contends that Obama has violated the Constitution several times, including the introduction of his health care legislation, which the authors called taxation without representation, gun control and his handling of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Approximately 15 Republicans have discussed a possible move in the House several times previously, according to WND, but it appears the reluctance to move is pragmatically driven. Some GOP lawmakers said they believed they could get enough votes for articles of impeachment through the House, but couldn’t win a conviction in the Senate, which requires 67 votes. There are 46 Republicans in the Senate, but impeachment advocates are not convinced they would vote in one block and win enough votes from any disgruntled Democrats.
It’s interesting to see there is a discussion of impeachment less than a full day after Republicans conceded defeat in the showdown against the administration over the funding of the Affordable Care Act and the debt limit.
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday for a measure negotiated by GOP and Democratic leaders. The House then voted 285 to 144 – including 87 Republicans – for the Senate version.
“If you look back in time and evaluate the last couple of weeks, it should be titled ‘The Time of Great Lost Opportunity,’” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told The New York Times in describing the failed exercise by Republicans.
Instead of defunding the health care law, derisively referred to as Obamacare, the GOP instead exposed its own deep divisions, put the nation on the brink of financial ruin—diminishing the party’s stature among voters in the process—and failed to win major concessions from Democrats.
Republicans squandered their advantage when the president was facing heavy questioning, if not criticism, over long-term debt and whether he was smart or just lucky in the showdown with Syria, which ended with President Assad agreeing to let his cache of chemical weapons be destroyed. The GOP even blew the opportunity to make political hay about the website snafus hundreds of thousands of Americans encountered when they tried to get information about or sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
And yet, in the midst of figuring out how it all went so wrong and whether there is anything to salvage from this episode, there are Republicans who want to take the fight right back to the administration, suggesting that articles of impeachment might be a logical next step.
If nothing else, the Republicans bought themselves some time: The deal finances the government only through Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
Jackie Jones, a journalist and journalism educator, is director of the career transformation firm Jones Coaching LLC and author of “Taking Care of the Business of You: 7 Days to Getting Your Career on Track.”