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Unprepared for Impeachment
No matter how many ways I say this, I’m going to get the usual “RINO!” reaction. I’ll give you the caveat as plainly as I can: this is not an article for or against the impeachment of Barack Obama.
Now, no matter how forcefully I say it, there is still a faction on the right who will take my failure to immediately call for Obama’s impeachment as their chance to damn me as a RINO, a traitor, a fifth-columnist, a secret Obama supporter, a squish, and a sellout to the Evil Establishment. So before you lose your grip, reread the first paragraph carefully. This is not an argument for or against the impeachment of Barack Obama.
While one can certainly make the argument Obama has committed impeachable offenses, his political opponents are not capable of pulling off impeachment in the current political climate, even if they want to. It may be right to. You may think that this is the final way to teach this haughty, terrible, lawless President the lesson he sorely deserves, but you’re wrong.
You can’t pull it off. Both the Congressional Republican establishment and the Tea Party caucus lack the skills, discipline, and planning to impeach Barack Obama. It’s not because Boehner and leadership are squishes. It’s not because the Tea Party caucus is too undisciplined to plan a barbecue. The reason is more serious.
No one has a plan. There is no strategy. There’s no roadmap for the months-long process that would become the center of American political life to the exclusion of every other issue. Bluster and self-indulgence isn’t a strategy (“Don’t blink!”), but it does play into some separate venality and political ambition. There’s a ravenous hunger for clicks and donations on email lists [DONATE HERE OR THE REPUBLIC WILL FALL]. There’s a desire my some future Presidential candidates to out hard-ass other Republicans prior to 2016. But is there a plan? Of course not.
Give me your elevator pitch, not for impeachment qua impeachment, but for how the story plays out from the announcement to Obama mounting the steps of Marine One and flashing a Nixonian farewell salute. What’s your Day One communication strategy when we begin impeachment proceedings? What’s the Day Two strategy? What’s the strategy after the first week? Who are the legislative handlers? Who are the key faces for the media? What’s the timetable, the media plan, the surrogate plan…all the boring block-and-tackle stuff? What happens when your rock-solid arguments melt under legal challenges from every quarter?
Did you remember there are other players in this game? Did you forget that the American people are notoriously fickle? Did you forget that the media still yields a mighty power to misrepresent, to distort, and to flat-out lie about what you’re trying to accomplish? What happens when this raises $50 million in online donation for the bad guys? What happens when they start dropping oppo like nukes on every member of the impeachment committee? What happens when Americans who are bored and restless decide you’re not talking about their lives, but just playing inside Washington games? What happens to the message strategy of every GOP House, Senate, and Governor candidate in the country? What happens when this doesn’t turn bring the White House to heel but instead becomes the only rallying cry that could wake Democrats from their post-Obama, post-Obamacare funk? What happens when Harry Reid slits your throat by not allowing the Senate to pass judgment.
This isn’t something you pull out of your back pocket. This has to be planned, war-gamed, and worked through. The DC boys will act with too much caution, and the Tea Party guys will act with none at all. But as with the shutdown, without a plan, it’s got “DISASTER” stamped on it in red letters.
Just as in the travesty in Mississippi, conservatives will wonder why everything they read on Breitbart or World Net Daily or GotNews didn’t magically change everything. They’ll wonder why magical thinking got its ass kicked by a bare-knuckle, operational campaign. They’ll wonder why the other side laughs at their Marquis of Queensbury rules and skates up to and over the edge of the law. They’ll wonder why their lack of discipline and failure to plan left them with nothing. They’ll wonder why the issues they see as so obvious, so compelling, and so damning didn’t translate to ordinary Americans. They’ll wonder how Obama could possibly escape with his popularity higher than when he started.
Just because Noted Political Strategist Sarah Palin says it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Just because the American Patriot Tea Party Patriotic Front for Tea Party Patriotism’s emails promise we’ll impeach him if you’ll just click the donation button one more time doesn’t mean impeachment is practical or possible. If you proceed with impeachment without a comprehensive, aggressive, well-thought-out communications and political action plan, you will fail.
You will fail to impeach Barack Obama. You will fail to recapture the Senate. You will fail to turn his last two years in office into the living political hell he richly deserves. And when you fail, the Democrats and Barack Obama get to run their plan instead. They will run back into the welcoming and cozy embrace of their media allies. They will justify every new executive excess and overreach by blaming the GOP for impeachment. Obama will ignore and defy Congress like never before.
If it makes you feel even a little better, this is a Presidency that already reeks of failure. It is a Presidency that will go down in history as a rolling disaster led by a charismatic con man so vastly oversold to the public that it defies description. His failures are a shame and a stain on the Democratic Party that will ripple out for decades. He’ll go down as a historical oddity, a sideshow freak with a cult of devotees divorced from reality. He’s politically dead already, but he’s too prideful to lay down and start stinking.
As I said the beginning I’m not making a judgment over whether we should impeach Barack Obama or not.That’s a legal question above my pay grade. But if Republicans and conservatives continue to make this a part of their message without a more complete plan than we’ve shown we’re capable of producing this far, expect the worst. We’ll be wasting bandwidth and political capital talking about a half-assed, hypothetical impeachment plan that will hurt us more than it will hurt him.
A plan beats no plan, every time.Published in General
I agree. I despise Obama’s misuse of his office as much as the next man or woman, but this would be a disaster. It won’t succeed, and will give the Democrats all of the “look at how crazy those knuckle-dragging Republicans are” talking points (see Clinton, Bill).
We need to retake the Senate, then win the presidency. That’s the solution to Obama.
I honestly think that there cannot be anybody further to the right than me. People that appear further to the right than me, in the conservative/original intent sense, are not. They are whackos with some agenda, borrowing the conservative keys for a joy ride.
No non-whacko can look at the House and think that the current leadership would send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, for trial. No non-whacko could imagine the Senate, taking up those articles. No non-whacko could ignore the obvious media circus and the implications for the upcoming election.
This is pep-rally nonsense and I must admit that I am disappointed that Palin has participated. And, yet, this nonsense has had an impact on people. I postulate that the impact was desired by the antithesis of conservatives. It has taken people in.
Just look at Rick’s post; he has been impacted. Why would he have to explain the obvious to us? Why is he so wrought that the typos just flow from his fingers, yet he posts? This is a scam by those that are better at evil than us, and it has impact
Just a gambit, folks.
My apologies for any typos or formatting hooey.
So eminently sensible it happens to my view as well.
Agreed that the GOP leadership isn’t up to the challenge.
But perhaps there is an alternative: impeach Eric Holder. Without a lawless Attorney General, President Obama’s unilateral dictates would be harder to pull off.
Not that the GOP is up to that challenge, but it’s a lower bar.
This. A thousand times, this.
My fantasy: in the House, in the Senate, almost nothing but hearings and investigations for two full years along with the occasional piece of popular legislation for him to veto.
Will they go anywhere?
Who cares? The process is the punishment.
Make the dude a punching-bag, not a martyr.
All I have to say is read Andy McCarthy’s book. You can get it from Encounter books, a Ricochet sponsor. He states that you must have the public behind this politically (it is not a legal thing) before you can pull this off. We don’t. We won’t. That doesn’t stop people from stating the reasons, as Andy does in the second half of the book, why he and Holder should be impeached. We should use this as fodder to make sure the base turns out for the elections in November. We have to take back the Senate.
This is an interesting idea.
I think you will find almost universal agreement on this from conservatives even real fire-breathers like Mark Levin. I would like to see Barack Obama disgraced, penniless, dressed in rags, sucking Draino out of used yogurt cups and eating rats under a bridge somewhere Hellish like Detroit but that’s not going to happen. I would like to see John Kerry in front of a firing squad for treason, but that’s not going to happen. the best thing to do is to remain level headed, advance well-thought out conservative legislation for him to veto, embarrass him when he does by overriding his vetos, if possible, and, as said above, turn him into a punching bag and not a martyr.
I think Kudlow had a point in this week’s Flagship: His own party has to turn against him for this to be feasible. And they haven’t, nor is it likely that they will.
McCarthy makes this point, also. He says it was Goldwater that went to Nixon and said the party was against him. That’s when Nixon resigned. I can’t see that happening with Obama.
You nailed it brother. As Pat Caddell once said, “I describe the two parties as the Corrupt Party & the Stupid Party“. I agree with Pat..conservatives are borderline retarded. There used to be a time when being on Ricochet was therapeutic–you know, having a place where I could interact with “intelligent”, like-minded people–but now, Ricochet has become a major source of irritation because I realized that we (and I include myself) haven’t the slightest clue about what we’re doing or why we’re in the mess that we’re in to begin with. The fact is, even IF we had a decent plan and a competent leader to execute it, the odds are against us. Even the revered (and in my opinion highly overrated) Ronald Reagan would have been crucified in today’s toxic atmosphere. As I said in a comment on a previous post: Yes, IT’S THAT FREAKING BAD!!!!
This is constantly repeated as if it were some sort of truism but I have difficulty seeing why that would be so. Are Democrat Senators so invulnerable to pressure on this? That seems unclear. After all President Obama is so toxic at the moment that some vulnerable Senators seeking support are fearful of even being seen in his presence.
DENVER – Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) will not be maximizing time in front of the cameras with President Barack Obama when the commander-in-chief visits Denver this week.
When Air Force One touches down in Denver on Tuesday night, Sen. Mark Udall won’t be on board nor will he be on the tarmac to greet the president.
Likewise, the Udall campaign told 9NEWS the senator will not attend an official speech the president plans to give Wednesday, which will be open to the Denver news media.
Mr. Wilson makes a strong point with regard to planning and strategy but it does not seem to me that these are insurmountable obstacles.
With respect for the post and follow-on comments, you can’t get public opinion and the political winds behind you unless you prepare the battleground. By which I mean that merely talking soberly and plainly about why impeachment is a legitimate options given the President’s actions in prior specific circumstances of failure to execute the laws is not a bad idea.
If a distinguished and influential liberal such as Johnathan Turley is starting to speak openly about abuse of power, how long will it be until political opinion in the population, and perhaps in a number of Senate Democrats begins to shift? And the President’s case is not helped by the growing perception that he’s totally incompetent.
So, by all means lets keep the spotlight on the President’s abuse of power and potential remedies. We don’t actually have to impeach to change the terms of the debate.
Rick, as ever, you make a compelling and sober case. A couple of question please sir:
1) What would you suggest Congressional Republicans do to avoid being viewed as too timid to take any action at all while the country implodes from simultaneous disasters on both foreign and domestic fronts? Are votes that everyone knows will fail in the Senate sufficient?
2) Do you think it realistic and helpful for Congressional Republicans to use what little real power they have left, i.e., the power of the purse, to strip funding in those areas the public might support, i.e., the IRS, EPA, etc?
You had me at “sucking Draino out of used yogurt cups and eating rats under a bridge”
I think the investigative function, particularly post-election needs to be ramped into a fever pitch, casting aside a lot of the current play-nice facade. The contempt (in both the political and legal sense) of this Administration is absolutely breathtaking and still demands stronger measures.
Congress should be devouring the bandwidth of the targeted agencies. Flooding the zone with requests, constant depositions of senior leaders, a constant legal barrage of inquiry for every email, every piece of paper, everything, all the time. Who cares if we use it? Torture them every minute of the day and force them to live in fear of contempt charges. Make their execs lawyer up, and dig dig dig at every inconsistency.
Second, the power of the purse is entirely underutilized, and Congress as a rule has no creativity. Don’t cooperate? Zero out every executive bonus in the agency for a decade. Don’t cooperate? No more conferences, training seminars, trips. Don’t cooperate? No more drivers for senior execs. Don’t cooperate? Every construction project for every building your agency wants is zeroed. Don’t cooperate? We’re relocating 98% of your manpower to Omaha. Don’t cooperate? Zero out the public affairs budget. Don’t cooperate? Every program with ‘green’ ‘affirmative’ ‘equal opportunity’ ‘LGBT’ ‘diversity’ or ‘awareness’ is zeroed out.
Sure, it sounds petty, but the agency people we’re talking about are the most parochial, small-minded bureaucratic weasels, and their perks and powers are all they care about. All it takes is a more bloody-minded approach.
I could play that game all day.
This is a circular surrendering squad.
You excuse the GOP from doing their job because they have conspired to not do their job.
You are right that there is no plan. Why is there no plan? What has John Boehner been doing ever since the Tea Party made him Speaker?
The lack of a plan at this stage is like the lack of some e-mails at the IRS — a damning indictment for its absence.
Did you really need the phrase “Noted Political Strategist” to present this argument?
I was unprepared for marriage.
I was unprepared for children.
When the kids misbehave our family constitution assigns me the duty of discipline and compliance. This is a thankless chore. Occasionally, empathetic with public outcry, my own party will exile me to a couch.
I think if one is guided by principles, or a constitution, there is no winning or losing. There is only staying on course or correcting your course.
If you adhere to your principles you can ignore much of the politics. Of course this is a baseless assertion because I don’t think it has ever been tried.
Guys died practicing for D-day and we’re afraid of not taking the senate.
If we don’t impeach Obama aren’t we laying the groundwork for the first gay president to take even more liberties. Not only do we fail to teach future patriots the right and wrong ways to stop a runaway executive but we give the playbook to future Obamas on how to control the press and Washington.
If you want to keep your job and your power, than follow Rick Wilson.
I agree with everything you said here, Rick, whether or not you’re a RINO squish.
However, do Republicans have to telegraph their next move (non-move?) at every turn? It’s like Obama giving a date-certain for troop withdrawals. It just emboldens the enemy.
Why can’t we leave the “impeachment” sword dangling over his head?! People tend to behave better when they believe they’re accountable to God. Presidents might behave better if they believed they’d be held accountable to the people’s representatives! Whatever happened to “We won’t rule out impeachment?” Surely some of these guys have played poker before.
What do you mean, there is no plan?
It’s the same plan for everything – kick the can down the road.
If some citizens in flyover country gets a little frustrated when they see a congressman from New York, who owes a million in back taxes, having lunch with Obama. Then see a rancher from Nevada, who owes a million in grazing fee, getting assaulted by an army; we may see a Tienanmen type tragedy. When the normal man thinks he has no representative he thinks he must act himself.
Carry on dear leaders.
Impeachment is a political non-starter. Anger & frustration is not a political strategy. Persuading the American public with real arguments & political activity is a strategy.
Every House & Senate Republican should be hammering away in shifts, non-stop, on policy & process grounds, a single message: American leadership is needed; the President refuses to lead, therefore we will. Events at home and abroad are spinning out of control not in spite of the President’s actions, but largely because of them.
Will it be hard? Of course. The American people deserve a change they can actually believe in, not the faux one a slick salesman put over on the country 6 years ago.
Rick, thank you for your post and your reply to Dave Carter’s questions. I particularly enjoyed your suggestions to eliminate drivers for these high level bureaucrats and stop the construction of these grandiose citadels housing bureaucrats in a country club environment.
I too think President Obama has committed impeachable offenses, but we would never succeed in getting him impeached. Impeachment is a political process. The prosecution (the House) is not ready, and the jury (the Senate) is not currently disposed to convict. Personally, I think there are two words that no conservative politician should say in a political context in the next 3 years: impeachment and contraception.
A full-court press on investigations in conjunction with creative budget cuts and a positive message on how conservative government will improve each individual’s life could result in an overwhelming rejection by the public of progressive Democrat government in 2014. If that happens, Hillary’s fanciful quest might also be derailed.
Brian McMenomy: Anger & frustration is not a political strategy.
I agree that it is not a complete political strategy, but it’s better than what we’ve got…and there’s nothing wrong with a little bit (or in this case, a lot) of righteous indignation.
Brian McMenomy: Persuading the American public with real arguments & political activity is a strategy.
It’s a strategy, but it won’t work. Persuading the American public with logic and information is an exercise in futility due to the degeneracy of the institutions in our society (e.g. education) and 6 decades of Marxist indoctrination. The American people have shown that they do not possess the intellectual or moral wherewithal to make sensible decisions in the interests of defending themselves or their county (see Yuri Bezmenov).
Brian McMenomy: The American people deserve a change they can actually believe in, not the faux one a slick salesman put over on the country 6 years ago.
The American people don’t deserve a damn thing–good leadership is not another entitlement like social security. The problems in our country are a direct reflection of the intelligence and morality of the American people. It’s not pretty.
Fantastic ideas! One final question and then a comment, please: Do you think your ideas, which I endorse fully, will be immune to the sort of recriminations you outline in paragraph 7 of your essay?
Finally, thank you for your response. Did you notice how there was no name calling and no accusations of being a RINO? Your essay lacked the usual condescending tone that conservatives usually encounter when we are advised to moderate our approach, and respect offered is usually returned. Perhaps you could instruct the machine operators down in Mississippi?
By all means, let’s initiate a process that will tear the nation apart even more than the Clinton impeachment with potentially great cost politically which could make a petty, vindictive incompetent into a martyr and the best possible outcome of which is a smoothe transition to…..President Joe Biden. My affection for Sarah Palin is limited solely by the reservations due propriety but impeachment is a spectacularly stupid idea. Let the bastard implode and take the socialist project down with him.
End Game of starting imeachment proceedings may not be impeachment.
It may just be to get Obama to follow the law. Starting proceedings will rub the smirk off that guy’s face.
Anything is better than standing around.
Caveat: gotta have a good message. I can’t imagine any of the so-called media darlings making a good case that gets the public riled up enough to accomplish the goal- make it uncomfortable enough that Obama starts following the law.