In July, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin wrote a widely-publicized op-ed for Breitbart News. “Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president,” she wrote. “Without borders, there is no nation. Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America.” Then, she dropped the bomb: “It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.”
Believe it or not, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had actually suggested impeachment even earlier, this time over the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap, in which the Obama administration freed five top-level Taliban terrorists in exchange for the alleged deserter. He stated, “There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that.” And Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in March that Obama could be up for impeachment if he continued his “unconstitutional approaches” to immigration reform and Obamacare.
But it was Palin’s comments that drove ire. At the time, Palin’s critics leapt on the comments to suggest that Republicans more broadly were planning impeachment; House Speaker John Boehner immediately fired back, stating that he disagreed with Palin on impeachment.
There were some who defended Palin’s position – Mark Levin explained, “our country is being destroyed….Here’s the dead truth. Obama should be impeached, but he won’t be impeached. Obama should be impeached if the Republicans take the Senate, but he won’t be impeached if the Republicans take the Senate. Obama has committed high crimes and misdemeanors by violating the constitution.”
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) agreed with Levin in July: “He either enforces the laws on the books—as he was hired and elected to do—or he leaves Congress no option. This is not our choice, this is the President’s choice and I would advise him to uphold the law on the books.” According to Breitbart News, other members “hissed” Yoho.
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) stated that immigration action could lead to a “serious look” at impeaching Obama. “I think then we have to sit down and take a look. Where would we draw the line otherwise?”
Now, it appears, impeachment talk is reaching the supposed mainstream of the conservative commentariat. On Thursday night, Charles Krauthammer told Megyn Kelly on Fox News that Obama’s executive amnesty amounted to “an impeachable offense.” Multiple Fox News commentators and hosts have also mentioned impeachment, including Kelly, who correctly stated, “Some would suggest if he goes too far he should be impeached.” Chris Wallace has said the same: “You’re going to see calls for impeachment.” Sean Hannity averred, “Normally, when a president does something that would bring the country to a tipping point, the first thing people would say is impeachment.” Judge Andrew Napolitano has also raised impeachment.
Congressmen are raising the specter of impeachment again, too. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said three days ago, “Well, impeachment is indicting in the House and that’s a possibility. But you still have to convict in the Senate and that takes a two-thirds vote. But impeachment would be a consideration, yes sir.” Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) said, “To me a constitutional question means that we have the option of impeachment…We have a Constitution, and I am very disappointed from year to year that we do not follow the Constitution. To me, if you think the president has violated his trust of office, meaning with the American people, then follow the Constitution.” Jones has repeatedly called for Obama’s impeachment, and called for George W. Bush’s impeachment over the Iraq war.
Andy McCarthy, author of Faithless Execution, wrote today at National Review:
Impeaching Obama would be a very unpleasant choice, and there is clearly no appetite for it. But living with what he is otherwise going to do over the next two years (on top of what he has already done) will be a more unpleasant choice. And there are no other choices.
President Obama is pursuing executive amnesty for two reasons. First, he wants to fundamentally shift the demographics of the country, legalizing millions of potential leftist voters and making millions more dependent on the largesse of a massive federal government. Second, Obama wants Republicans to pursue impeachment. If Republicans were to impeach Obama in the House, no Senate trial would convict him – Bill Clinton, who perjured himself before Congress, received 45 votes in the Senate for conviction on perjury and 50 for conviction on obstruction of justice, at a time when Republicans controlled 55 Senators. As of January, Republicans are likely to control 54 seats in the Senate. Conviction of President Obama would require 67 votes in the Senate.
Realistically, then, impeachment is not a real option. It would turn President Obama from aggressor into victim, and craft a narrative of aggressive Republican nastiness going into Bill Clinton’s big return to the national stage alongside Hillary.
Nonetheless, Republicans have been led to impeachment because there may be no other option. Republicans can defund major agencies, but courts are unlikely to restrict Obama on his failures to enforce the law. The failure to stop President Obama in 2012 may turn out to be the nail in the coffin for American accountability.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.