• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Top House Republican Dodges Question On Impeachment

Two elephants play soccer at the Elephant Ranch in the village of Platschow in northern Germany.

In an interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise refused to rule out the idea of impeaching President Obama:

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Sunday repeatedly declined to give a straight answer on whether he would support impeaching President Obama.

Even in the relatively friendly confines of Fox News Sunday, Scalise deflected three times when asked by host Chris Wallace whether impeachment was on the table. The first two times, Scalise said the White House was pushing the impeachment narrative to boost fundraising and rally its base, though he declined to say whether the GOP would actually pursue impeachment as some of its most conservative members have urged.

When Wallace tried for a third time to elicit a direct answer, Scalise changed the subject once more, responding, “The White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president’s failed agenda.”

Here’s the video

Scalise’s response has become something of a standard talking point on the right in the last week or so, making the argument the only people talking about impeachment are Democrats trying to fundraise off the idea. To a large degree, of course, this response ignores the fact there are indeed Republicans talking about impeachment, the fact that polling clearly shows that a majority of Republicans support the idea of impeaching the President, and the rather obvious fact that John Boehner’s lawsuit is intended to be a means of forestalling pressure to go forward on impeachment from the base. In that respect, the fact that Scalise deflected the question rather than answering directly seems to be telling. Like the rest of the House leadership, he may not support the idea of impeachment, but he also knows that he can’t afford to alienate the GOP base by rejecting the idea entirely. The question is whether this strategy of deflecting the base’s attention on the issue will work, and what the leadership will do if it doesn’t

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. gVOR08 says:

    The problem of the Republican Party in a nutshell. The .01% elites have always pretended they were in a coalition with the cultural conservative base, when they actually regarded the base as just marks, not partners. Now, after stoking the crazy (and half believing it themselves) for forty years, the .01% are facing real demands from the base. Awkward, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. PJ says:

    When Wallace tried for a third time to elicit a direct answer, Scalise changed the subject once more, responding, “The White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president’s failed agenda.”

    If someone refuses to answer a question about impeaching Obama three times in a row while looking in a mirror, Antichrist will be born. You can all thank God that this was Fox News and not MSNBC, MSNBC would have put a mirror in front of him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. Tillman says:

    It never occurred to me before how discounting impeachment before the midterms could be an honest vote-loser for the GOP. Reality continues to surprise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. legion says:

    Obama will not be impeached. Why, you ask? Two words:

    President Biden.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. Surreal American says:

    @legion:

    Obama will not be removed from office due to the 67 Senate vote requirement, which is beyond even the most optimistic yet still reality-grounded predictions for the GOP’s chances for 2014.

    Lacking 67 votes to remove a president from office didn’t stop the GOP from impeachment proceedings back in 1998 and it may not stop them now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. James Pearce says:

    “Like the rest of the House leadership, he may not support the idea of impeachment, but he also knows that he can’t afford to alienate the GOP base by rejecting the idea entirely.”

    Boehner can’t afford to alienate the GOP base because no one else supports “the Republican agenda.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    I think they’re (the GOP) is waiting to get the 2014 mid-terms squared away, then they’ll decide whether or not they want to impeach, which they could do right now, they have the votes.

    Again, this is what passes for governing in the GOP, this is what they do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    A slight paraphrase: the people who most want to talk about Obama’s impeachment are Obama and his supporters. Because they see it as a wedge issue, that will score them political points.

    Those who prefer to deal with reality recognize the truth — that there is no way in hell the Senate, without a massive shift in seats that ain’t gonna happen, would ever vote to convict. So an impeachment would be a colossal waste of time and energy, and quite likely help Obama.

    So instead of playing the role Obama and his lickspittles want to force us into, we look at more sensible plans. “Defeat in detail” is the term. Go after individual scandals and miscreants. Fight on issues.

    As they say, if you focus on the little details, eventually the big details take care of themselves. It’s like the old joke about how to carve an elephant: start with a big block of marble, then chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  9. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “So an impeachment would be a colossal waste of time and energy, and quite likely help Obama.”

    And we all know that the one thing that House Republicans hate is a colossal waste of time and energy that will quite likely help Obama. That’s why they stopped voting to repeal Obamacare after the 50th try, and why they’ve only shut down the government once.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  10. PJ says:

    @wr:

    That’s why they stopped voting to repeal Obamacare after the 50th try

    50 times? Did they serve cake? Maybe they even had a party?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  11. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    There is an easy way to stop the impeachment talk. The House leadership could simply say, we will not impeach. They are refusing to say that, so no matter how much you want to blame this on Obama it is the Republican leadership that is keeping this going with the help of the conservative base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @PJ: 50 times? Did they serve cake? Maybe they even had a party?

    Yup. Big party. They invited Obama, but he was off at yet another fund-raiser.

    But the really big party is over with the Democrats. They’re pushing this talk at every opportunity, because they see big Benjamins in it. It’s all about the Benjamins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    …the people who most want to talk about Obama’s impeachment are Obama and his supporters.

    And they really appreciate your bunch bringing it up all the time.

    Go after individual scandals and miscreants.

    ‘Cause that’s been going so well for your bunch?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @gVOR08: If you get through the blackouts here and in the mainstream media, you’d see that the IRS coverup is falling apart. So there’s one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Yup. Falling apart. And has been for what, three years now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @gVOR08: If you wanna praise how well they’ve stonewalled, that’s your choice. But it’s now becoming conventional wisdom that the leading cause of hard drive failures is “Congressional subpoenas.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  17. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    they’ve only shut down the government once.

    Don’t get Jenos started. We will be treated to dozens of comments on the scenic turnout scandal (Worst. Scandal. Ever.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “But it’s now becoming conventional wisdom that the leading cause of hard drive failures is “Congressional subpoenas.””

    As I recall, it was “conventional wisdom” in your set that Obama would be thrown out of office because he wasn’t a US citizen. It was also “conventional wisdom” in your set that Bill Clinton had fathered a black child. Oh, and that there was a national conspiracy to “skew” polls to hide the fact that Romney was going to win in a landslide.

    It’s all “conventional wisdom” because a lot of Republicans have a very shaky grip on reality, and they accept whatever Rush or Drudge or Hot Air tells them.

    There’s a big gap between “conventional wisdom” and truth, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0