The word “impeach” followed by “Obama” is enough to make liberals roll their eyes and conservatives squirm. Images of tea party rednecks waving handmade signs “Impeach Obama Now!” have seemingly made all discussion of impeaching Obama mere blog fodder for red meat conservative sites and tinfoil hat forums. This is not one of those pandering articles.
Nor is it idle talk or wishful thinking from someone fantasizing about his persona vendetta against the president. There is currently a resolution in Congress that would condemn Obama for “impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.” The central complaint is that the president committed our troops to an act of military aggression in Libya without an act of war, authorization, or even consultation with Congress after 60 days, as stipulated by the War Powers Act.
This is not a dead issue, either (unlike Moammar Gaddhafi). When confronted, the president flatly denied that he was under any obligation to seek Congressional approval for his Libya action. This is in no way equivalent to how President George W. Bush handled the military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, which he received Congressional authorization from both Democrats and Republicans to lead. Yet such equivocation is par for the course from such mendacious outlets as Slate and MSNBC, which betrayed their blind partisanship with an Orwellian pivot on an anti-war dime following the election of Barack Obama.
But reinforcing the conclusion that Obama does not even believe he needs Congressional authorization to wage war in principle is the recent testimony of his CIA Director Leon Panetta. The CIA director, who was not an intelligence expert by specialty before being appointed to recent security positions, provided a statement to Senate Armed Services Committee member Jeff Sessions that implied the president may use military force abroad without a declaration of war and without Congressional approval. Panetta’s remark was made in the context of a potential U.S.-led military campaign against Syria and carries implications for a looming armed conflict with Iran.
“You know, our goal would be to seek international permission,” Panetta said. “And we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from Congress.”
This specific remark, both brazen and profound in import, prompted Congressman Walter Jones to introduce House Concurrent Resolution 107, which would condemn President Obama for committing the “impeachable” offense of illegally committing American troops to military engagement. This is more than campaign electioneering from a Congressman in a safe district. Our entire system of checks and balances and divided powers are at stake, not to mention our national sovereignty. Foreign policy analyst Bruce Ackerman rightly points out that Obama has done more to push this administration in the direction of an “imperial presidency” than George W. Bush ever did.
Building the case for Obama’s eventual impeachment, should it be required under this term or (heaven forbid) a subsequent one, is a list of twenty-one illegal acts brought forth by nine state Attorneys Generals. The diverse list includes everything from the National Labor Relations Board’s bullying of Boeing to the FCC’s imposition of net neutrality-type regulations in defiance of defeated legislation. Most significantly, it includes the PPACA (otherwise known as Obamacare), whose provisions of disputable constitutional authority are slated to be ruled on in the Supreme Court. The federal healthcare law continues to be very unpopular, including in several election “swing states.”
But whether or not the Obamacare law’s more egregiously unconstitutional provisions are struck down in the Supreme Court, or even if Barack Obama himself is defeated in upcoming elections, there is still a strong case for House Republicans to censure the president for his unconstitutional acts on both political and constitutional grounds.
Many believe that any drive to impeach the president prior to the elections would be futile, since impeachment cannot be successfully decided in the Senate due to party politics. This is true. Impeachment in any event does not mean automatic removal from office, as we saw with Bill Clinton. It is a manner of bringing a case before trial in Congress that a person in a position of governmental authority has violated the terms of his office and should be censured and possibly removed.
House Concurrent Resolution 107 would not even bring impeachment charges, as it is not legally binding legislation. It would only pave the way towards such legislation. There is no reason not to get the ball rolling towards future impeachment should Obama somehow win re-election. If H. Con. Res. 107 were to be passed, a duly mandated and Republican-controlled House and Senate would feel confident to take up impeachment charges, should the next president be Mr. Obama.
Many Republicans would object to even taking this half-measure to register an objection to Obama’s unconstitutional actions for fear of voter backlash. They would reason that the president is losing approval and his viability is in doubt in several swing states. An estimated 80% of those polled believe they are no better off now than when Obama was elected. There is a certain anxiety that the Republican Party would be proverbially cutting off its nose to spite its face unless it lays low and channels voter dissatisfaction towards Obama. This sense of momentum is leading to complacency, which is born of overconfidence.
The grounds of H. Con. Res. 107 seem specifically designed to trap the partisan mainstream media into discussing their hypocrisy on the issue of war and their treatment of President Bush versus their treatment of President Obama. It would therefore add the realm of foreign policy to the economic arguments for voting against Obama or abstaining from voting by putting the mainstream media on conservative terrain. This maneuver would actually broaden gains among anti-war moderates, should the Republican Party and New Media conservatives and libertarians wage the battle correctly.
A lot of people on the right are afraid of such battle. We need to stop fighting the left in perpetual fear. The majority of Americans are on our side and we can actually expand our lead and political clout by taking the fight to our opponents. Getting the media to out themselves as blindly partisan, anti-constitution, and pro-war in sentiment to the wider voting public only helps our cause.
In addition, conservative voters are seeking evidence that the GOP is a legitimate opposition party. This would do much to infuse enthusiasm into the base and bolster our energy for campaigns in elections around the country. If constitutional conservatives and libertarians see that the Republican Party cares enough about The Constitution to at least defend it with a Congressional resolution, it would allay doubts that the party considers it to be more than just an old piece of parchment.
The response “who cares about The Constitution?” no longer pass muster. The document will only continue being relevant to our national conversation if the American people make it so.