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So, Which Party Actually Brought Up Impeachment First Anyway?

Impeach Obama Signs

As I noted yesterday, Republicans have taken the position that the current ongoing talk of the impeachment of President Obama is nothing more than a Democratic fundraising ploy in advance of the midterm elections. While it is true, as FiveThirtyEight points out today, that Democrats are currently talking about the issue more than Republicans, a little bit of research reveals the following:

Slate’s David Weigel goes further

If impeachment is a scam, it was started on the right, early in the Obama presidency. Some of its early adherents believed in it; some thought they were merely responding to the passions of constituents; some, obviously, wanted to raise money. At the start of this summer, the conservative book-publishing industry churned out two new tomes about why Republicans needed to start an impeachment conversation, to stop pretending that it was crazy to accuse the president of high crimes and realize that it was consistent with the rest of the party’s arguments. Republicans mostly refused to listen.

Then, on July 8 of this year, came Sarah Palin. Her PAC (this is important—see above, re: fundraising) placed an op-ed at Breitbart.com, announcing that the time had come for the I-word. For inexplicable reasons, Palin can still shift a news cycle; in a lucky synchronicity, the Senate campaign of Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley chose July 8 to release a tape of his opponent calling for impeachment.

Nothing will stop a movement quite like the other party noticing it. “Should Obama be impeached?” had been denouncing the threat from the House floor. Meanwhile, helpful (and anonymous) aides were reminding people that Boehner had resisted—prophetically!—when the Republican Congress of 1998 put all of its chips on impeachment and the Clinton scandals. (Boehner later overcame that resistance and voted for all four articles of impeachment.)

One could dismiss many of the calls for impeachment that I list above as political rhetoric from Republicans who were pandering to the base of the party, although it isn’t hard to believe that people like Bachmann, Gohmert, Stockman, Broun, and Farenthold were actually serious when they brought up the topic. As I said yesterday, I think we can take the comments from people like Speaker Boehner and others who are dismissing the idea of impeachment as a serious idea at face value. They know it’s a politically dumb idea that would do far more harm to the Republican Party than it would to the President. But they also knew a year ago that going down the government shutdown route was a politically dumb idea that would harm the Republican Party and, yet, they still went down that route when they found that the base of their own party had backed them into a corner. What will they do if they’re faced with a similar situation when it comes to impeachment? Perhaps we’ll see some profiles in courage at that point, but past history suggests otherwise..

As far as the current debate over who started the impeachment meme, though, the answer to that question is fairly obvious, no matter how much Republicans may want to deny it.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Pete says:

    By this standard, you could easily say that “the Democrats” were serious about prosecuting Bush and Cheney for war crimes. After all, several Democrats mentioned it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 40

  2. Surreal American says:

    @Pete:

    Waiting for Boehner to clearly and unambiguously state that “impeachment is off the table” the way Pelosi did in 2006.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  3. michael reynolds says:

    @Pete:

    We were serious.

    Your move.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3

  4. mantis says:

    @Pete:

    Were any of them claiming it was all a “scam” perpetrated by Republicans?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  5. Pete says:

    @Surreal American: So unless he uses those exact words, he is planning on impeaching Obama? Strict standard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  6. Surreal American says:

    @Pete:

    Doesn’t have to be the exact words, but issuing a “clear and unambiguous” statement against pursuing impeachment would do the trick.

    Orange Man aint got the stones to do that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  7. Davebo says:

    By this standard, you could easily say that “the Democrats” were serious about prosecuting Bush and Cheney for war crimes. After all, several Democrats mentioned it.

    Really? Which ones? I think Doug set a good example of how to support such claims in this medium.

    Do show us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  8. stonetools says:

    You can always tell the new conservative commenters. They’re the ones who show up, confidently assert some claim, and are flabbergasted when asked to support that claim. That’s not how they roll on right wing sites, where glib, unchallenged statements are the norm. Time to put on your big boy pants, Pete.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

  9. Pinky says:

    @Davebo: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HE00635:@@@P

    H.RES.635
    Latest Title: Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration’s intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.
    Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 12/18/2005) Cosponsors (38)
    Latest Major Action: 12/18/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Rules.
    ——————————————————————————–
    COSPONSORS(38), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)
    Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] – 12/22/2005
    Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] – 3/9/2006
    Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] – 3/30/2006
    Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] – 2/7/2006
    Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] – 4/27/2006
    Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] – 3/30/2006
    Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] – 2/7/2006
    Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] – 2/8/2006
    Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] – 4/27/2006
    Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] – 12/22/2005
    Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 2/1/2006
    Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] – 2/7/2006
    Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] – 2/7/2006
    Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] – 3/14/2006
    Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] – 1/31/2006
    Rep McKinney, Cynthia A. [GA-4] – 2/7/2006
    Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] – 2/14/2006
    Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Oberstar, James L. [MN-8] – 2/1/2006
    Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] – 2/16/2006
    Rep Owens, Major R. [NY-11] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] – 12/22/2005
    Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 12/22/2005
    Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] – 9/6/2006
    Rep Sabo, Martin Olav [MN-5] – 3/2/2006
    Rep Sanders, Bernard [VT] – 3/9/2006
    Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] – 5/3/2006
    Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] – 1/31/2006
    Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] – 2/16/2006
    Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] – 2/14/2006
    Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] – 12/22/2005
    Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] – 11/14/2006
    Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 12/22/2005
    Rep Wu, David [OR-1] – 3/14/2006
    Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] – 12/22/2005(withdrawn – 1/31/2006)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  10. anjin-san says:

    “From my standpoint, if the president [enacts more executive actions], we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives. That’s my position and that’s my prediction,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Breitbart.com over the weekend.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obama-immigration-executive-actions

    Can’t have an executive acting like an executive. Impeach!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Surreal American: Waiting for Boehner to clearly and unambiguously state that “impeachment is off the table” the way Pelosi did in 2006.

    To reinforce Pinky, 35 Articles of Impeachment were introduced into the House in 2008 — under Speaker Pelosi.

    So cut the crap. You have a right to your own opinions, but not your own reality.

    And who cares “who started it?” After all, it was originally a black liberal who referred to Barack as “the magic Negro.” Does that make it OK for everyone to call him that?

    Now I’m tempted to find out who first used the term ObamaCare…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 22

  12. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And who cares “who started it?”

    After 5 years of the GOP, the Tea Party, right wing radio and TV talking about impeaching Obama, and now the absurd House lawsuit, certain Republicans want to pretend it’s an invention of the Democrats, a “scam.” Republicans care who started it, because they know they did and now they want to lie and point the finger elsewhere. It ain’t going to work, and neither will your handwaving bullshit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  13. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “After all, it was originally a black liberal who referred to Barack as “the magic Negro.”

    No, it was black (and possibly liberal — I have no more idea than you do) film critic David Edelstein who referred to a type of character such as the one played by Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance as “magic negros.” It was Rush Limbaugh who applied it to the president. And you have absolutely no idea what the phrase actually means, except that you saw it on some right wing site somewhere.

    Next time, do try to acquire some knowledge before you start.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: Oh, lots of us would like it to happen, but it ain’t gonna happen. I’d also like to spend a weekend with Kate Upton and win the lottery, but I ain’t expecting either to happen.

    The Bush Articles of Impeachment were passed when the Dems held both Houses. As much as I like to think about it, The GOP is NOT going to end up with 67 Senate seats. And there is no way in hell a single Democrat will vote for impeaching Obama.

    The Dems are raking in MILLIONS off this scare. And they’re going to keep pushing the scare as long as they keep hauling in the Benjamins.

    And you just gotta help ‘em out all you can, don’t you? Just can’t help pushing the lie that there’s a chance in Hell Obama will actually be impeached.

    Hell, I’m starting to think he’s pulling some of the crap he’s pulling just to dare the GOP to impeach him. It’s a no-lose proposition. Go for broke and push all he wants. If he’s not impeached, he’s got another win under his belt. If he actually gets impeached, major political gain.

    BTW, you watching Sharknado 2? It’s more plausible than Obama’s impeachment.

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  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Once again, you’re not entitled to your own facts. Here’s the column in question.

    Since you’re obviously either chronically stupid and/or dishonest, the title is “Obama the ‘Magic Negro'”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, to recap: in 2008, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House filed 35 Articles of Impeachment against Bush. In 2007, black/Jewish/gay film critic David Ehrenstein wrote a column supporting Obama as an example of “the Magic Negro.” And the Democratic party is raising MILLIONS by hyping the nigh-impossibility that Obama might actually get impeached.

    Thus endeth the lesson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  17. jukeboxgrad says:

    Doug, nice list, but you shouldn’t leave out Limbaugh, who said “this guy needs to be impeached” (6/24/14). Reagan himself described Limbaugh as “the Number One voice for conservatism,” so Rush is important enough to include.

    And the details of this are pretty funny. Now Rush is trying to pretend he is being misquoted (7/17/14):

    Media Hell-Bent on Attaching Me to the Impeach Obama Movement … You know, the left, the media is really hell-bent on attaching me to the movement seeking to impeach Obama. … I have never called for the impeachment of Barack Obama. In fact, quite the opposite. I’ve never called for it. Yet no matter where you turn in the Drive-By Media, I am associated with this command that Obama be impeached. … I have never called for it, yet they really want to attach me to it.

    The best part is that “the Drive-By Media” includes Breitbart (6/24/14):

    LIMBAUGH: OBAMA ‘NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED’ … On his Tuesday radio show, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh make [sic] the extraordinary call for the impeachment of President Barack Obama

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  18. MarkedMan says:

    Bush should have been impeached for lying to the country in order to bring us to war. More significantly, he turned the US into a country that officially sanctioned and used torture for the first time in its history, including periods in history orders of magnitude more perilous than what we faced after 2001. Those are facts.

    Obama should be impeached because of … what, exactly? The made up BS on from right wing crazies? Because his grandparents secretly flew to Hawaii and planted birth announcements in the local newspapers after Barack was really born in Kenya?

    Republicans are such losers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  19. denni9s says:

    @Pinky:

    Okay, Pinky; you win. Still, at least those are serious charges made by democrats who were serious about invoking impeachment. They were hardly playing politics, as are the un-useful fools in today’s conservative cabal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  20. humanoid.panda says:

    @denni9s: Yes. If I were in Congress at the time, I would not vote on impeachment on anything related to Iraq war, as Bush was not the first or last president to engage in stupid, unnecessary wars,nor would I vote to impeach Reagan, because stupid fvkry in Third World countries is something many administrations engaged in. However, the torture regime the Bush-Cheney administration installed was an unprecedented atrocity, and sufficient ground for at least an impeachment trial.
    Besides Bush by the way, I think two Presidents of the last century deserved impeachment: Nixon for Watergate, and FDR for the Japanese internment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, let’s tally up the bullshit, shall we?

    The Bush Articles of Impeachment were passed when the Dems held both Houses.

    Articles of Impeachment were never passed against Bush. They were referred to the Judiciary Committee, where they died.

    As much as I like to think about it, The GOP is NOT going to end up with 67 Senate seats.

    Which would give them enough to try the president and convict on an impeachment charge. The House GOP majority could impeach tomorrow if the speaker were to allow it. Maybe the wouldn’t, but they have the votes. Impeachment could happen with zero Democratic votes. We can obviously agree that conviction in the Senate is highly unlikely, but that in no way precludes the House from impeaching anyway. They did it not too long ago, in fact. The current speaker even voted to impeach President Clinton. Maybe he’s learned his lesson, but he seems to fold under pressure from the right quite often, so who knows!

    The Dems are raking in MILLIONS off this scare. And they’re going to keep pushing the scare as long as they keep hauling in the Benjamins.

    I suppose you were similarly outraged when the NRSC, for one, fundraised on the Democratic threat of impeachment in 2006, right?

    It’s becoming clear that if the liberal Democrat leadership takes control of Congress, they will embark on a destructive agenda of politically motivated “investigations” of President Bush and his administration.

    The Washington Post reported this week that House and Senate Democrats are salivating over the possibility of convening hearings on everything from the War in Iraq to the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program.

    They want nothing more than to create a three-ring political circus they know will get favorable coverage from the liberal media so that they can discredit, and then undo the Bush tax cuts and other important elements of the Bush agenda.

    And it’s even likely that Democrats – should they take over the House and Senate – will try to impeach President Bush….

    Did you just wake up from a coma and discover politics? Shall we browse the archives for your writings on the subject? You know, where you giddily encouraged Democrats to impeach Bush? But the Democrats are just plain awful for doing something like that. My word, it’s just beyond the pale!

    And you just gotta help ‘em out all you can, don’t you? Just can’t help pushing the lie that there’s a chance in Hell Obama will actually be impeached.

    You just can’t resist putting words into people’s mouths, can you? I’ve never said he will be, as I don’t really think Boehner is that dumb and even if he is, there are still enough Republicans in the House who know they’d be shooting themselves in the foot (most of them enjoy it, it seems), and would keep any articles from passing. So I’m not pushing any lie (that’s you, as I’ve shown), just pointing out the bullshit coming from the likes of you and others in the GOP who are now blinking innocently and saying, “What? Who ever said anything about impeachment? Nobody over here. That is a dastardly lie. Good day to you. Harrumph.”

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  22. mantis says:

    After all, it was originally a black liberal who referred to Barack as “the magic Negro.” Does that make it OK for everyone to call him that?

    The “Magic Negro” is an odd and interesting character in American cinema, and I don’t think there’s any problem with people talking about him in that context. Of course, people like Limbaugh saw that column as merely an excuse to call Obama a negro over and over again and say “It’s okay, that black guy did it!”

    When Spike Lee first described the recurrence of this type of character, he was linking it directly with the “noble savage” and “happy slave” characters that have been common in white racist culture for centuries. which would mask and soften the horrors of colonialism and slavery. It’s not a complement, it’s just another slur, and when Limbaugh has an idiot write a song about it and play it on his show over and over, he’s playing directly to all the many racists in his audience.

    It’s easy to tell because he completely misrepresents Ehrenstein’s point. Obama was not the “Magic Negro” because he wasn’t authentically black, as the impersonated Sharpton character through which the lyrics are sung contends, but because he was positive and soft spoken and inspirational and a little bit unreal, so some white Americans could project their magical fantasies onto him. Agree with it or not, what Ehrenstein wrote had little to do with what Limbaugh and other wingnuts who love repeating the line are saying. His column was just “permission” for them to run around saying “Negro!,” which for some reason they love to do. I’m sure you think it’s hilarious.

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  23. george says:

    @denni9s:

    Okay, Pinky; you win. Still, at least those are serious charges made by democrats who were serious about invoking impeachment. They were hardly playing politics, as are the un-useful fools in today’s conservative cabal.

    Actually they were certainly playing politics. If starting a questionable war and having torture occurring in its course were impeachable offenses, probably a third of American presidents should have been impeached (higher if you include the wars against Natives).

    The talk of impeachment against Obama is nonsense. So was the talk against Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  24. jukeboxgrad says:

    and having torture occurring in its course

    Nice use of passive language there.

    It’s one thing to say that torture occurs in war. It’s another to find it ordered from the top. Bush is an instance of the latter.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: You are correct; I misspoke when I said that the Articles of Impeachment were “passed.” They were introduced and referred to committee — after Pelosi said, as noted, that it was “off the table.” I regret my error.

    Apart from that… I stand by all I said.

    By the way, in your obsession with accuracy, you missed wr’s misstating the film reviewer’s last name. I pointed out his misstatement of Ehrenstein’s words, but not his name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    BTW, it gets more entertaining. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Loony Bin) said about the Obama lawsuit by the house:

    ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt at impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job. A historical fact: President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.

    (Emphasis added)

    Jackson-Lee was one of the co-sponsors of the Articles of Impeachment against Bush in 2008.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  27. stonetools says:

    @george:

    If starting a questionable war and having torture occurring in its course were impeachable offenses, probably a third of American presidents should have been impeached (higher if you include the wars against Natives).

    I disagree with that. Lying us into war and authoprizing torture ARE the kind of serious charges worthy of impeachment talk. Routine enforcement of statutes that Republicans don’t like, such as the ACA or or the EPA, simply don’t rise to the level of impeachable offenses. The words “high crimes and misdemeanours” , although vague, do mean something .Torture is a crime: enforcing EPA regulations aren’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    If starting a questionable war and having torture occurring in its course were impeachable offenses, probably a third of American presidents should have been impeached (higher if you include the wars against Natives)

    Another problem with your statement is that you are failing to take into account the fact that the law has changed. Reagan signed the Convention Against Torture in 1988. The Geneva Conventions prohibited torture in 1949. I am not aware of any prior president ordering torture (which is what Bush did), but even if they did, presidents prior to 1988 and 1949 were not breaking those laws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  29. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Apart from that… I stand by all I said.

    Yes, you are often found standing proudly next to large piles of bullshit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  30. Eric Florack says:

    That Obama deserves removal from office is beyond question. But, that assumes Biden will be better, which is laughable on its face. Biden is the best insurance policy Obama could possibly have purchanced.

    That said, it is perhpas an indication of how nervous the Democrats are about getting the blame for starting this buzz, when they start lying about it. http://www.buzzfeed.com/katherinemiller/we-never-tried-to-impeach-bush-says-democratic-lawmaker-who?s=mobile

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: BWAHAAHAAHAHAHAAHAA…. Ten thousand unemployed comedians and here you are giving it away for free.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  32. stonetools says:

    @Eric Florack:

    That Obama deserves removal from office is beyond question

    See, core Republicans believe this nonsense. What’s why an impeachment nonsense really is a live possibility, the way it wasn’t in 2006.Buetler , as usual, nails it:

    If Boehner had “current” or “future” plans to impeach Obama, Republicans wouldn’t be wasting valuable time filing an unusual lawsuit against him. But that lawsuit is meant to strike a balance that allows the GOP to channel its base voters’ resentment of Obama into midterm election victories without indulging their toxic, procedurally extreme tendencies. In that sense it’s best seen as a reflection of a real and growing (or soon-to-grow) desire to take it all the way. And as the entire White House political team is fond of noting, Boehner had “no interest in seeing a government shutdown” one week before he did it anyway. Republicans really are more liable to go where danger lies than Democrats.

    In that sense, when Democrats at the White House, and congressional leaders like Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, play up the possibility of impeachment, they aren’t just pandering to liberals and raising money. They’re scraping at the stitches binding Republican leaders and party activists. And there’s no downside. The more firmly Boehner protests, the more dejected a significant segment of the right becomes. But the more wiggle room he leaves himself, the more the issue lingers over national politics in a way that damages Republicans nationally. Under the circumstances Boehner’s protestations are a sign of real frustration, and perhaps that he’s starting to recognize that the lawsuit was ill conceived.

    Buetler’s analysis is even handed, in that it notes that the Democrats aren’t entirely innocent of playing politics, but are gleefully waving a red flag at the bull the Republican establishment is trying to ride ( to mix metaphors here).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  33. MarkedMan says:

    My last comment is hung up in spam he’ll for some reason. Can someone rescue it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    My last comment is hung up in spam

    By any chance is it addressed to me? That would explain why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Rob in CT says:

    Some of this is just frustration over divided government. Nobody can really accomplish much of anything right now. A Republican policy agenda (to the extent this even exists, hah) is DOA, and so is a Democratic one. This will be true until at least 2016 – even if the GOP takes the Senate, they will not have the numbers to override vetoes. This does not mean the GOP taking the Senate would be harmless, but base supporters still will not get the WIN they want. That bad Obama man will still be in the way. Hmm, what can we do about that?.

    As usual, Florack provides us with a view of how the hardcore Righties think (or emote, if you prefer).

    And sure, yeah, the Dems will fan the flames if they can. They want the GOP to self-destruct. Terrible people, those Democrats, playing politics in a political battle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  36. Rob in CT says:

    I just looove, btw, that apparently starting a disasterous war on false pretences and ordering torture are somehow just the same as the grab bag of BS transgressions the GOP claims for Obama. Benghazi!: 4 US dead, and the country is still a mess. Bad call, IMO, yes. Iraq II: 4000+ US dead, many more wounded, plus of course staggering Iraqi casualties resulting largely from the sectarian/ethnic civil war we touched off and couldn’t control, plus the impact on our global standing. THESE ARE TOTALLY THE SAME YOU GUYS! Yeah, sure they are. Democrats in 2006 just had “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

    Now, was Iraq, The Sequel! impeachment-worthy? Hard to prove it was criminal as opposed to stupid (I think admin officials lied about the casus belli, but that’s not good enough to make the case, I think). Torture, as it directly violated laws and treaties, was probably the strongest charge, even though in the grand scheme of things the war was worse than the torture (not that you can neatly separate the war and torture, btw).

    The Democrats made a political calculation that impeaching Bush would be a bad idea that wouldn’t work. They made the same calculation with regard to trying to prosecute Bush administration figures for war crimes, etc. Look forward, not backward, I believe Obama said. Some of us find that decision problematic, because it means sweeping some serious misconduct under the rug. But then it’s nothing new, either, and they were almost certainly right from a political standpoint. No matter what, any such investigations would be easily spun as pure political witchhunting. So: off the table.

    The charges the GOP can bring against Obama are significantly weaker than those the Dems could have brought against Bush. Therefore, the political calculus should be pretty simple, and Boehner is smart enough to know it. The lawsuit is clearly designed to: a) help whip up fervor in advance of the mid-terms; and b) act as a sop to those who’d prefer impeachment but have a nagging sense that it’s impractical. Politically, I think it’s reasonably smart. He’s gotta do something, and the lawsuit is something (even if it’s groundless, has zero chance, etc).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  37. george says:

    @stonetools:

    I disagree with that. Lying us into war and authoprizing torture ARE the kind of serious charges worthy of impeachment talk. Routine enforcement of statutes that Republicans don’t like, such as the ACA or or the EPA, simply don’t rise to the level of impeachable offenses. The words “high crimes and misdemeanours” , although vague, do mean something .Torture is a crime: enforcing EPA regulations aren’t.

    I completely agree that nothing Obama has done is anywhere close to high crimes.

    On the other than, I think what Bush did is pretty much standard for US presidents.
    Remember pretty much all of the Indian wars? How about Tonkin Gulf and the Vietnam war? Much of the Civil war? How about Wilson getting into WW1 after promising to keep out? And have you ever read about the standard torture involved in WW1 (and WW2) intelligence, often battlefield?

    For that matter, how about Obama’s drone usage, including civilians being killed at marriages and the like? Nothing that Bush did rose above the norm, and much of it is far below what was normal practice over the last few hundred years of American presidencies. I think the Iraq war was a horrible waste of lives and money, completely pointless, a bone headed political war. Which makes it about the same as the Spanish American war, the Mexican-American war, the Vietnam War … none of which seem to have been considered impeachable offenses. And the so called Indian wars were far worse in almost any aspect you might consider. Again, no hint of impeachment.

    Talk of impeachment because of a stupid, unjustified war (which 90% of them were) is political, given the history.

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  38. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    That Obama deserves removal from office is beyond question. But, that assumes Biden will be better, which is laughable on its face. Biden is the best insurance policy Obama could possibly have purchanced.

    Of course the fact that he’s committed absolutely no impeachable offense is of no concern whatsoever to Republicans.

    We knew that, tell us something new, please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  39. Pinky says:

    @wr: So, in review, you said that a film reviewer came up with the term “magic Negro” but didn’t apply it to Obama. But the film reviewer didn’t come up with the term, he did apply it to Obama, and you got his name wrong. Then you closed your comment with, “next time, do try to acquire some knowledge before you start”. And you got 21 upvotes for it. Sweet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:
    ‘Magic Negro’? … and yet we all know that for most of these 6 years since Obama was inaugurated, that the Birther Movement has been supported by about 50% of Republicans, and that at it’s core the Birther movement is strongly informed by racism.

    Why Republicans are now trying to run away from their (that’s right, their own) impeachment talk is patently obvious – they want to get the mid-term election squared away, lest they inadvertently cause a significant increase in turnout among Democratic voters.

    Own it, Republicans brought it up, and now they want to put it back in the box until after the upcoming election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  41. jukeboxgrad says:

    george:

    what Bush did is pretty much standard for US presidents

    Bush ordered torture. Where is there evidence that any other president did so? Especially since 1949, when it was outlawed by GC?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  42. jukeboxgrad says:

    I think no one has mentioned this important fact: 57% of Republicans believe Obama “should be impeached.” Link. That majority is the force behind this process, and it’s a force that is not going away. stonetools cited Buetler talking about “a significant segment of the right.” 57% is indeed “a significant segment.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  43. Davebo says:

    @Pinky:

    Nice try Pinky but you do realize impeachment and prosecution for war crimes are two different things right?

    Keep trying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  44. dennis says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Indeed. I attended a Critical Thinking in Intelligence course a couple years ago, hp. The guest speaker was one of the investigators of the “Curveball” intel. (I’m not comfortable divulging his name.) He basically laid out the entire scenario, and the conclusion was that the Bush administration knew — KNEW — the intel was b.s., but went on with the invasion all the same. They all should have been thrown out on that alone.

    Full disclosure: I was one of the useful idiots supporting the invasion. What a rube I was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  45. dennis says:

    @george:

    Actually they were certainly playing politics. If starting a questionable war and having torture occurring in its course were impeachable offenses, probably a third of American presidents should have been impeached (higher if you include the wars against Natives).

    1. I disagree that they were playing politics. The Dems were dead-gatdayum-serious about their opposition to the war. And I was on Bush’s side during that time.

    2. ALL wars are questionable. ALL wars.

    3. And don’t forget about that little trick we pulled on Mexico …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Bush ordered torture.

    I actually believe that you’ve touted that BS talking point so much, you actually believe it now. Did you take “believing your own bullshit” lessons from Joe Biden?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  47. wr says:

    @Pinky: You forgot to mention I misremembered Ehrenstein’s name, confusing him with a different critic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  48. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    That Obama deserves removal from office is beyond question

    If humiliating Republicans who were dismissive of Obama and overconfident of victory in two elections is an impeachable offense, sure. Otherwise, no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  49. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    @jukeboxgrad: Bush ordered torture.

    I actually believe that you’ve touted that BS

    So what happened then? Was Bush taking a nap in the oval office or down at the ranch pretending he was Ronald Reagan while others in his administration brought eternal shame to our country by ordering torture?

    You have gone on at great length about how Obama is responsible for everything that happens on his watch. Is the same not true of Bush?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  50. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I actually believe that you’ve touted that BS talking point so much, you actually believe it now. ”

    So the torture regime just magically happened without any input from the president?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  51. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    So the torture regime just magically happened without any input from the president?

    Apparently others in the administration were actually running the show, feeling free to ignore President Bush and make monumental decision like this without asking the person who was allegedly in charge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This is so off-topic, I’m going to answer it and then I’m not going on any more. Partly out of respect for our hosts, mainly because I’ve had this same stupid argument over and over again.

    The Bush administration told the Justice Department to take a very close look at the letter of the law on torture, then take a very good look at the interrogation techniques planned for use by the CIA and other bodies, and come up with a legal opinion that took the vague platitudes of the law and tried to hash out a concrete answer for each technique. And then they abided by that opinion. The order and the intention were both to stay within the letter of the law.

    The problem is, the Bush administration opponents were fixated on their goal, so they kept redefining their tactic. First it was “torture is bad.” Then it was “even coming close to torture without becoming torture is bad.” And then it was “anything that causes discomfort is torture, and therefore bad.” When the response to that was “we’re staying within the legal definition of torture,” the argument then shifted to “even discussing what is or is not torture is in and of itself is immoral.”

    The Bush administration looked at the law (a lot closer than others did) and worked to stay within the law.

    Contrast that with Obama’s attitude towards, say, the War Powers Act, or the solid deadlines written into ObamaCare, or the strongarming of the bondholder and the non-union workers in the GM bailout, or their refusal to enforce the border and suing states who figured “if no one else will, we’ll do the job,” or his insistence that there wasn’t a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, or… well, I could go on, but reciting the reasons Obama should be impeached is pointless — it ain’t going to happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  53. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “The Bush administration told the Justice Department to take a very close look at the letter of the law on torture, then take a very good look at the interrogation techniques planned for use by the CIA and other bodies, and come up with a legal opinion that took the vague platitudes of the law and tried to hash out a concrete answer for each technique. And then they abided by that opinion. The order and the intention were both to stay within the letter of the law.”

    Thank you for explaining what we’ve been saying — that Bush asked his lawyers to come up with legal language that would technically allow the CIA to torture despite the fact that this violated at least one international treaty which we had signed.

    Coming up with legal rationalizations to break the law when you want is actually not the same as following the law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  54. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Ah, so you are going to duck this question

    You have gone on at great length about how Obama is responsible for everything that happens on his watch. Is the same not true of Bush?

    out of “respect for our hosts” – something that you have actually shown very little of in your time on OTB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  55. anjin-san says:

    @ jenos

    Worth reviewing. A prominent conservative had the guts to allow himself to be water boarded. Then he had the guts to publicly say Believe Me, It’s Torture

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  56. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    their refusal to enforce the border

    Kind of a silly statement in the context of a discussion of an administration following the law. What does “enforce the border” mean? It’s a talking point, and not an especially compelling one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  57. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    The Bush administration looked at the law (a lot closer than others did) and worked to stay within the law.

    “Closer” is pure baloney, as usual. Feel free to explain why the OLC torture memos never once mention the fact that there is a long history of US courts treating waterboarding as a form of torture (link, pdf, link). Does that fit your idea of a good faith legal analysis? I guess it does. But other people think an omission like that indicates an absence of good faith.

    Doug Kmiec “was once head of the Office of Legal Counsel, during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.” He mentions this idea: the possibility that the memos were “crafted in order to support preexisting policies and acts.” Kmiec made the same point elsewhere:

    the look of the opinion — that it was written to justify after the fact — is a breach of the practice of that office

    You should tell us what you know that Kmiec doesn’t.

    It’s apparent that the memos were written specifically to provide cover for crimes that were already underway. And they did so by ignoring the long history of US courts treating waterboarding as a form of torture. None of that history is mentioned, not even once. This is a giant red flag. And they also implicitly justified such things as sodomy and electric shock as not torture, which is another big clue that their analysis is bogus. The OLC torture memos are a joke, which is what Kmiec said politely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  58. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    The Bush administration looked at the law (a lot closer than others did) and worked to stay within the law.

    “Closer” is pure baloney, as usual. Feel free to explain why the OLC torture memos never once mention the fact that there is a long history of US courts treating waterboarding as a form of torture (see links in a separate comment below). Does that fit your idea of a good faith legal analysis? I guess it does. But other people think an omission like that indicates an absence of good faith.

    Doug Kmiec “was once head of the Office of Legal Counsel, during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.” He mentions this idea: the possibility that the memos were “crafted in order to support preexisting policies and acts.” Kmiec made the same point elsewhere:

    the look of the opinion — that it was written to justify after the fact — is a breach of the practice of that office

    You should tell us what you know that Kmiec doesn’t.

    It’s apparent that the memos were written specifically to provide cover for crimes that were already underway. And they did so by ignoring the long history of US courts treating waterboarding as a form of torture. None of that history is mentioned, not even once. This is a giant red flag. And they also implicitly justified such things as sodomy and electric shock as not torture, which is another big clue that their analysis is bogus. The OLC torture memos are a joke, which is what Kmiec said politely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    Link, pdf, link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Still wondering if you’ll ever actually give an opinion on the 2nd Amendment, but…

    You have gone on at great length about how Obama is responsible for everything that happens on his watch. Is the same not true of Bush?

    You really don’t understand the word “responsible.”

    But was RESPONSIBLE for the actions taken by his administration. He wasn’t TO BLAME for everything that happened, as there are always those who screw up or go rogue and cause problems, but Bush is “responsible” to handle things. For example, Abu Ghraib. He wasn’t to blame for it, as there were rules and laws against what happened; a group went off on their own. But he was responsible for it, and the military handled the matter appropriately. The offenders were punished in accordance to the law and in proportion to their misdeeds.

    Obama… not so much. His idea of “responsibility” is to say that he accepts the responsibility, and that ends the matter. How many people have been fired for misconduct or incompetence on his watch? I don’t recall too many. On the other hand, plenty of whistle blowers and inspectors general have been punished for doing the right thing.

    Personnel is policy. When people trying to do the right thing get slapped down on a regular basis, and “bad apples” are allowed to get away with things, the message is clear. Obama can talk all he wants; it’s his deeds that count.

    Oh, and obligatory on topic mention: the most talk about impeachment is as a Democratic fundraiser. Grifters gotta grift.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  61. Eric Florack says:

    quit using facts, Jenos Idanian #13. They dont matter to anjin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  62. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Grifters gotta grift.

    There you go again, obsessing on Sarah Palin

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    Sorry about that duplicate, above. I tried to delete one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Still wondering if you’ll ever actually give an opinion on the 2nd Amendment, but…

    I see your new found “respect for our hosts” & desire to stay on topic has already deserted you. I’ve got an idea for you. Stop whining about how other people on OTB are not writing what you want them to write and concentrate on your own writing, which tends to be piss poor, full of factual errors, and poorly reasoned.

    How many people have been fired for misconduct or incompetence on his watch? I don’t recall too many.

    How many people in the Bush Administration were fired after the worst national security failure in our country’s history? After an economic meltdown on their watch destroyed trillions in wealth? The Bush admin had so many epic disasters after all. Obama? Well, the Obamacare rollout was a fairly significant fiasco, and the relevant senior administration exec lost her job over it. Beyond that, I am not really seeing how people should be fired over the Faux scandals the right wing noise machine has been trotting out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1