GOP Impeachment Denialism


Screenshot-6The headline of the L.A. Times story reads Boehner rules out impeachment:

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted Tuesday there were “no plans” for impeachment, calling talk of the subject a “scam” designed by Democrats to raise money.

Oh geezus, another “Truther” conspiracy theory from the GOP. Impeachment denialism from the “Worst. Speaker. Ever.”  Democrats have released a memo documenting all the cases where Republicans are talking about impeachment. Philip Bump at the Washington Post provides a timeline of impeachment talk. Impeachment talk is back. Here’s a timeline of how we got here. Again.

Boehner’s point, that impeachment talk was a “scam” started by the White House, is not true. The current round of discussion about impeachment kicked into high gear when mentioned by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in a Breitbart editorial earlier this month (which has since been parlayed into a video at her newly launched Web site). But while talk about impeaching Obama has largely occurred on the outskirts of the political conversation, it hasn’t only occurred there — and it didn’t just start recently.

Bump then provides a timeline of the cast of characters going back to 2009 who have suggested impeachment without ever actually identifying anything that qualifies as an impeachable offense. This is part and parcel of the conservative media entertainment complex always trying to delegitimize a Democratic president — one who was elected by a landslide in 2008, and reelected by a comfortable margin in 2012.

Boehner is clearly eager to put the impeachment rumors to bed, and it’s easy to see why, given the amount [of campaign money] Democrats are raising for November. But it’s also easy to see why people might be skeptical. Last August, CNN reported on Boehner’s efforts to derail a roiling insurrection from his far-right flank: the push to shut down the government over Obamacare. The situation is different in many ways, but that, too, was once a pipe dream among the conservative commentators.

And in October the nominal Speaker of the House, Sen. Ted “Calgary” Cruz, and his insurrectionist minions in the Tea Party Caucus of the House rolled the TanMan and shut down the government. The GOP created a monster that Boehner could not control.

This impeachment fantasy is another monster the GOP cannot control, because it is the irresponsible and unaccountable conservative media entertainment complex that drives it.

Steve Benen writes, The GOP loses control of its Frankenstein monster:

Young-Frankenstein1There are a few angles to this story that are running on parallel tracks, all of which carry equal weight. The first is the GOP’s Frankenstein problem: Republican leaders created a monster, doing nothing to tamp down the right’s crusade to tear down the Obama presidency, and they suddenly find themselves scrambling now that the monster is running lose. As Arit John put it, Republicans have “lost control of the impeachment plot they hatched.”

It’s led to, among other things, an awkward dance in which pro-impeachment Republicans try to walk back their own rhetoric now that they realize how happy Democrats are to hear it.

The second is the intra-party tensions that won’t go away. In 2006, Nancy Pelosi disappointed some on the left by definitively ruling out presidential impeachment, taking it “off the table.” Today’s Republican leaders will do no such thing for a very specific reason: too many GOP lawmakers really do support the idea. Indeed, there was palpable disappointment among many on the far-right yesterday when Boehner suggested impeachment isn’t part of his future plans.

As Jonathan Capehart put it, “A ‘No, don’t be ridiculous. We’re not going to impeach the president. Period!’ from Scalise on Sunday or from Boehner today would have put an end to the chatter. But no.”

And finally, there’s the ongoing problem of Boehner’s weakness as House Speaker. By all appearances, Boehner appears genuinely reluctant to pursue an impeachment scheme. When he says he has “no plans” to push such a reckless move, he’s almost certainly telling the truth.

But Boehner also had “no plans” to shut down the government. He had “no plans” to force a debt-ceiling crisis. He had “no plans” to kill immigration reform. He had “no plans” to ignore the Hastert Rule. He had “no plans” to ignore the Boehner Rule.

The point is, it’s become painfully obvious that the Speaker may hold the gavel, but he’s not in charge in any meaningful sense. He may not intend to go after Obama with some ridiculous impeachment crusade, but given Boehner’s weakness and lack of credibility, the decision probably isn’t his to make.

Come January the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, may no longer even be Speaker.