If you can’t impeach, go after “executive overreach.”
So, is this “Impeachment V2.0? Or is it “Birth Certificate V2.0”?
Get our free emails
Back on December 19, 1998, Republicans in the House of Representatives officially started impeachment procedures against then-President Bill Clinton, on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice.
Chief Clinton witch-hunter Kenneth Starr claimed to have proof that Clinton had broken the law during his handling of the Monica Lewinsky and Paul Jones scandals.
But the Clinton impeachment was really just part of the perpetual Republican strategy to tie up and hobble any Democratic presidency.
And the impeachment did keep Clinton preoccupied for a while.
In fact, it was during the impeachment proceedings that Clinton was busy trying to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. The Clinton administration even attacked a known location of Bin Laden, and missed killing him by a mere 30 minutes.
Arguably, if the Clinton administration didn’t have the impeachment to worry about, they could have devoted more effort and undivided attention to tracking Bin Laden down, and quite possibly could have gotten him when they had the chance.
But while Republicans did succeed in bogging down the Clinton administration during the impeachment procedures, they didn’t succeed with the public.
Immediately after Republicans in the House voted to impeach President Clinton, a CBS News/New York Times poll found that 61 percent of Americans disapproved of the House’ efforts to remove Clinton from office.
And, that same poll found that, if there were a Senate trial phase of the impeachment process, which there was, 68 percent of Americans were against the conviction of Clinton and his removal from office.
Similarly, Clinton had a 73 percent approval rating in the CBS News/New York Times poll.
Basically, while Republicans succeeded in bogging down the Clinton presidency, they really shot themselves in the foot with the American public, and came up looking like fools for even going after Clinton.
Now, fast-forward to today.
This week, Speaker of the House John Boehner emphatically announced that he was planning to sue President Obama, claiming that Obama has “exceeded his authority.”
Merits of the lawsuit aside for a second, this is all about bogging down the Obama presidency, and preventing it from doing anything meaningful for the American people, like Republicans have been trying to do throughout the Obama presidency.
And, in a bonus, by saying that our first Black president is “illegitimately” using presidential powers, they’re shouting out to the right-wing racists just like they were years ago when they were demanding that he prove his legitimacy as president by providing his birth certificate.
And Republicans are going to sue Obama, instead of trying to impeach him, to avoid the political and public opinion backlash they faced with the Clinton impeachment.
So, by suing President Obama, Republicans get all of the benefits of impeachment, without any of the liabilities.
They can still take control of the news cycle, tie up the Obama administration, and dictate the when’s, where’s and how’s.
But make no mistake about it: there is absolutely no legitimacy to Boehner’s threats to sue President Obama.
This is all about political strategy, and the same Taliban insurgency-like tactics – a phrase used by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions after the Caucus Room Conspiracy meeting in January of 2009 – to hobble the Obama presidency.
Speaker Boehner says that the lawsuit would be about President Obama’s runaway use of executive orders, and his abuse of executive powers.
The only problem is that President Obama hasn’t been abusing executive powers, or usurping congressional authority with executive orders.
The Brookings Institute has put together a great graph of the use of executive orders by presidents since the birth of our nation.
And, as the graph clearly shows, President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any other president since Grover Cleveland.
So, claims by Boehner and Republicans that President Obama is out-of-control when it comes to issuing executive orders are flat out wrong, and out of touch with reality.
And that makes it all the more clearer that any lawsuit brought against President Obama wouldn’t be about the merits, but about politics and, for the white supremacists in the Republican Party, about race.
It would be a continuation of the Taliban-like insurgency plan that was hatched back on the night of January 20, 2009 by Republican lawmakers and strategists, before President Obama had even taken office, at The Caucus Room restaurant here in Washington.
Speaking about the meeting, Congressman Pete Sessions, who was in attendance, told The National Journal that, “Taliban Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. Insurgency is the way they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban — is an example of how you go about to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their front line message. And we need to understand that Insurgency may be required when [dealing with] the other side.”
Sessions went on to say that, “If they [Democrats] do not give us those options or opportunities then we will then become Insurgency … I think Insurgency is a mindset and an attitude that we’re going to have to search for and find ways to get our message out and to be prepared to see things for what they are, rather than trying to do something about them.”
And at the dinner meeting itself, now Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was quoted as saying that, “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill. Show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies.”
Since the night before President Obama even took office, Republicans have been deliberately trying to tank the Obama presidency, at the expense of the American people.
Any lawsuit that Speaker Boehner brings against the president will just be part of these same old dirty Republican tactics. Nothing more and nothing less. This is part impeachment V2.0 and part birth certificate V2.0.