John Boehner Insists Obama Won't Be Impeached, Labels That A Democratic "Scam"
Speaker John Boehner has a message for Democrats: Quit talking about impeachment, because we're totally not going to do it. Speaking at a press conference, Boehner hit back at Democrats' claims of impeachment on the horizon, insisting that the entire idea was "a scam started by Democrats," and that the GOP "has no future plans" to impeach President Obama.
And if you look at the American public's opinion on the issue, you can see precisely why he wants to tamp down any inkling that the Republicans might try this — while 57 percent of Republicans supported impeachment in a recent CNN poll, only 33 percent of the broader public did.
In this instance, you should give Boehner this much — he's not wrong to say Democrats are whipping up this issue in a strategic way. Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfieffer speculated Friday about the GOP impeaching Obama, over a yet-unknown executive order on immigration that he claims the president will sign after the summer.
Further, there are indications that stirring up fears of impeachment may be having the desired effect on the Democratic base — donations are crucial in advance of what's expected to be a tough midterm election for the party, and as USA Today reports, Rep. Steve Israel attributed a surge in his coffers Tuesday to the impression that Republicans, already actively pursuing a lawsuit against Obama, are prepping themselves for an impeachment effort. As he said, at a breakfast with The Christian Science Monitor:
I think that the Republican strategy of lawsuits and approaching impeachment is fundamentally misfiring. Look, I understand that the strategy is intended to gin up their base, but it's having the unintended consequence of moving our base in a midterm election in a big way.
On the other hand, antipathy toward Obama within the GOP runs deep — that's been as proven in the last five and a half years of American politics as anything. Prominent Republicans, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as a prime example, have taken to calling Obama "lawless" in recent months, as opposition to his use of executive orders has swelled into a congressional lawsuit against him. According to conservative site The Daily Caller, the Boehner-conceived lawsuit is expected to be formally approved by the House GOP sometime this week.
The lawsuit has widely been interpreted as an attempt by Boehner to placate the hard-right elements of his party, preventing a politically-disastrous impeachment effort. But even were that so, Boehner's control over his own membership has not been strong throughout his tenure as speaker. As Obama said last October, Boehner "can't control his caucus," which is why he sometimes has to team with Democrats to pass major legislation — the clean, no-strings-attached debt limit bill earlier this year, for example.
This being so, is there any real reason to think what Boehner's saying now will be how the party moves forward six months in the future? Say, if Republicans were to gain control of the Senate while maintaining control over the House, an entirely plausible scenario? Especially if, as Pfieffer suggested Friday, there's a major executive order on immigration in the works.
Basically, it's perfectly fair for Boehner to say Democrats are indulging in this impeachment talk themselves. But it's also fair to say that the GOP has, for years now, been acting like a party primed and ready to take just that kind of drastic step. After all, if you think the president is behaving lawlessly, how much is really left to argue?
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