Our Opinion Impeachment mania cheers Democrats


Bill Clinton was a two-term Demo cratic president and Barack Obama will be as well -- unless, of course, he is successfully impeached. Mr. Clinton survived the Republican coup d'etat disguised as an impeachment proceeding and polls today testify to his considerable popularity. Polls today suggest that President Obama's popularity is in decline, but impeachment talk may give him and his party a boost when they most need it.

With the congressional session winding down and the nation facing all manner of domestic and foreign issues, Republicans were consumed by impeachment and their embarrassing lawsuit against the president. House Speaker John Boehner, who brought America the lawsuit (and voted in favor of all four articles of impeachment against President Clinton), is running from impeachment, calling it a "scam" by Democrats to energize their base and increase campaign donations. Democrats are indeed reaping the benefits of impeachment chatter and disgust with the lawsuit, but impeachment mania, like the Tea Party, is a creation of GOP leadership that has turned against its creator.

Impeachment, according to the Consti tution, is to be reserved for serious crimes like those committed by Richard Nixon. It is not to be used in response to policy disagreements or because one party is frustrated because it doesn't like a president of the other party and can't beat him (or her) fair and square at the ballot box.

Impeachment talk blossomed after Mr. Obama's re-election, and tea party ex tremists and members of the Republican Party's media and entertainment wing like Sarah Palin have urged his impeachment for: Benghazi and its "cover-up," the failed, "Operation Fast and Furious" sting operation, taking "marching orders" from the UN and NATO, "nationalizing" General Motors, the IRS "scandal," and executive orders mandating EPA policy, among others. No impeachable offenses here and precious little logic, but plenty of ammunition for Democrats seeking to attract support from Americans who believe the office of the presidency should be respected and are fed up with partisan politics. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported last week that it had raised $7.6 million online since it began sending out appeals for money based on impeachment talk and the GOP lawsuit against the president.

Republicans have short memories of the impeachment of Bill Clinton over non-existent financial illegalities lumped under the term Whitewater and the president's foolish but inconsequential affair with Monica Lewinsky. The backlash against the transparently political impeachment resulted in a GOP pasting in the off-year election. There was impeachment talk among Democrats during the George W. Bush administration, in particular surrounding the war in Iraq, but it never ignited. Mr. Bush's actions were frequently wrong-headed but they were not illegal (congressional Democrats signed on to the Iraq War) or impeachable.

The Republican impeachment industry has led to websites such as Impeach-Obama.com, which last week turned its attention from the president to the substantial fees Hillary's Clinton collects for speaking engagements. Is it possible to impeach a president before she is elected? With impeachment mania in full flower maybe America will find out.


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