Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Being president is not impeachable

    At noon on Jan. 20, 2016, the Obama administration will come to an end. There’s no question that it will have been a long wait for many committed to the Tea Party and the hardcore right wing of the Republican Party. These opponents of the current executive would be so much happier if President Obama could be forced out of office early. So, one more time, they seem willing to create the fog generated by suggesting impeachment as a way of ridding themselves and the country of the man they so vehemently oppose.
    Since 1974, when Richard Nixon became the first president to resign rather than be fired, impeachment has been the threat issued by frustrated opponents of incumbents in the Oval Office.
    In 1998, Bill Clinton became only the second president to be charged with a high crime and misdemeanor that rose to the level of impeachment. The Senate declined to convict, however, determining that lying about sex was not enough reason to disrupt the entire U.S. government by removing its elected head.
    Impeachment is not a process to be taken lightly, but the language has been waved at Obama since his first term.
    In 2011, Republican Congressman Michael Burgess told his hometown newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that he agreed with Tea Party constituents that it was time to impeach President Obama because that’s the best way to stop Obama from “pushing his agenda.”
    Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist argued that if Obama failed to extend the Bush tax cuts, “Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach the president.”
    The House is currently holding another committee hearing about the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and talk of impeachment is in the air.
    It’s not surprising that people hate politics. Far from providing inspiring leadership, many elected officials are engaged in constant conflict, obfuscation and bitterness. All this might simply be amusing if the threat of impeachment were not so serious and so destructive. To accuse the president of crimes without evidence or proof moves the goal of the Constitution’s provisions on impeachment from getting good government to getting even.
    Truth ought not to be abused. Winning an election, proposing spending or laws that create opposition and even making decisions that later prove to be a mistake are not impeachable offenses.
    We have other ways to get rid of politicians we don’t like. They’re called elections.

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