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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 10, 2014

 
Boehner says no to impeachment, but is he in charge?

by David Atkins

John Boehner says no impeachment:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said he doesn't support calls from members of his party to impeach President Obama.

Asked about former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's comments that Obama should be impeached over the influx of child migrants illegally crossing the border, Boehner said, “I disagree.”

...

A number of House Republicans have also called for Obama's impeachment, including Reps. Lou Barletta (Pa.), Kerry Bentivolio (Mich.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Blake Farenthold (Texas), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Louie Gohmert (Texas).

But many Republicans are wary of the calls, worried they could hand Democrats a compelling issue that might help the party retain its majority in the Senate during a tough election year.

The impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton backfired badly on the GOP in 1998, when Democrats against odds picked up seats in the House.
Boehner quite likely knows that regardless of what happens in the Senate in 2014, attempting to impeach the President would be a terrible stain on the GOP, make a mockery of his speakership, and practically hand the White House to Democrats in 2016. The notion is all the more politically ludicrous because there isn't even a shred of a high crime or misdemeanor for which the President could remotely be held accountable (outside potentially of 4th Amendment issues like the NSA or Al-Awlaki, and the GOP won't go there with a thousand-foot pole.)

But unlike when Nancy Pelosi firmly said that impeachment of George W. Bush was off the table, it's not entirely clear that John Boehner has control of his caucus. If Republicans do take a majority in the Senate, the temptation among the rowdier ultra-conservatives in the House to bring impeachment proceedings could be too overwhelming for them to pass up. Would Boehner choose to side with Obama and the President against his Tea Party insurgents in that case? Would he have the political strength or capital to do so?

As the Mississippi election showed, the GOP continues to be embroiled in a bitter civil war. That civil war may spill over to impeachment proceedings, and it's not entirely clear that that will be a war Boehner will win.

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