by Robert Emmett Murphy, Jr.

Part Two – 2009 and forward – The Rise of the New Age of the Scurrilous.

President Obama was sworn into office in January 2009. Within seven weeks, Right-Wing pundits were already calling for his Impeachment, but it would not be until May 2010 that a Republican Congressperson would start publicly using the word. Representative Joe Sestak (a Democratic) stated that Obama, pre-the-2008 primary, had promised him a White House job if he dropped out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary race against Arlen Specter. On hearing this, Representative Darrell Issa (a Republican) called the offer an “impeachable” offense. Issa was apparently unaware that such deals are commonplace and was in fact how the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution — the one that ended slavery —  got passed. As you’ll see in a couple paragraphs, Issa would come to regret that statement.

dar2Within two months, Michelle Bachman jumped on the bandwagon. She was unhappy with the amount of resources Obama was putting into securing the border with Mexico, suggested that Obama’s failure to satisfy her desires might constitute an Impeachable offense. She was speaking hypothetically and didn’t provide a specific charge of criminal misconduct to base that Impeachment on. (By the way, she is currently under criminal investigation herself.)

 

The floodgates opened after November 2010 and the “Tea Party” revolution. The dar4word “Impeachment” started being bandied around Washington with frequency surpassing the word, “Pork,” and perhaps even the word “Entitlement.” Important in this explosion of rhetoric was the December 2010 elevation of Mr. Issa to the Chairperson of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which has broad powers to investigate the conduct and policies of the President via public hearings. Issa predicted that his investigations would result in $200 billion in savings for U.S. taxpayers by ending Obama’s programs, and he wanted his Committee hold “seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks.”

 

darIssa was an unusual choice to head a Committee whose responsibilities include investigation of corruption and ethics charges. Though he has no criminal convictions on his record, he does have a past indictment for grand theft auto, was accused of stealing at least one other car, was arrested for illegally carrying a concealed weapon, and was twice the suspect in insurance fraud investigations – in one of these cases the evidence included sworn testimony by former business associates that he burned down a building for the insurance money.

This was seven months after he suggested that an Impeachment investigation be opened regarding the Obama offer to Sestak. Now with the power to pursue the charges that he, himself, had made, a suddenly sheepish Issa said he wouldn’t mount a probe into the matter or similar deals made by prior President George Bush Jr.

But this didn’t really represent a reformation of his character. In January 2011, he declared President Obama headed “one of the most corrupt administrations” in American history. Issa was then challenged to detail the alleged criminal behavior, and he found he was unable to do so, and forced to apologize:

“If I had to do it over again I’d have parsed my words a little more carefully…Do I think the president is personally corrupt, no…I should never have implied that, or created that in a quick statement on a radio call-in.”

He also had to apologize to Congressperson Carolyn Maloney for calling her a “paid liar” after she made a factually correct statement about the gender make-up of a panel on contraception that included no women and blocked the testimony of the only female witness.

Issa’s name will come up repeatedly in part three of this series.

The desire to impeach President Obama is clearly an ideological disease, and this was aptly expounded upon by journalist Steve Benen:

“In a question and answer session following a speech he gave at a Montgomery County GOP dinner last night, an audience member asked Cruz, ‘Why don’t we impeach him [Obama]?’

dar3“’It’s a good question,’ Cruz responded, ‘and I’ll tell you the simplest answer: To successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. Senate.’

“Actually, it’s not a good question, and to successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. House. But other than that, the right-wing senator clearly knows what he’s talking about.

“National Review posted an audio clip of the Cruz event, and listeners will notice that neither the senator nor his audience actually bothered mentioning a rationale for impeachment; they just seemed to think it was a good idea. Cruz said something about his belief that Obama has acted outside the law, but he offered no details or specifics.”

Or, as Rachael Maddow pointed out, Republicans rarely level specific charges against Obama when the jump to Impeachment, they “just like the way the word sounds.”

Benen’s article referred to Ted Cruz and Blake Farenthold. I already brought up Issa and Bachman. I could add Congresspersons Mark Wayne Mullin, Kerry Bentivolio, Jason Chaffetz, Steve Stockman, Trey Radel, Louie Gohmert, Tim Scott, Steve King, Tom Coburn and James Inhofe, without completely exhausting the list.

With the exception of Nixon (who had the Articles voted on by Judiciary) and Clinton (Impeached by the House), no American President in the last 50 years or more has faced so many suggestions, or straight-out demands, that he be Impeached. Not Reagan, whose criminality was as definitively established as Nixon’s. Not Bush Sr, who was under investigation (and quickly cleared) of treason. Not Bush Jr, for starting a war under false pretenses and creating secret torture camps.

On what grounds?

dar5The National Black Republicans Association (described as “a small, fringe group that tries to make a name for itself every election season by doing things like running ridiculous ads” by journalist Kyle Mantyla) was kind enough to summarize (almost) all the alleged grounds in one document. You see, they actually filed articles of impeachment against Obama.

The National Black Republican Association should be dismissed as part of the tin-foil-hat-brigade, but unfortunately, their filing has received some national attention. Of course that attention came from Fox News, but still, that was a great deal more attention than they deserved. (This link will take you to the Articles in their original form)

In the next installment, I will start deconstructing their charges one-by-one. Yes, as they are the tin-foil-hat-brigade, and I probably shouldn’t have had to bother, but each and everyone of their claims has been championed by one person or another within in the United States Congress.

Call it a road-map of a road-block. It is a detailing of (almost) all the delusions that brought this Country to a screeching halt.

 

Click here to view Part One of Robert Emmett Murphy, Jr.’s Impeachment series:

The President Cannot Be Impeached without a Crime (Part One)

 

 

 

3 Responses to The President Cannot Be Impeached Without a Crime (Part Two)

  1. Rick says:

    What amazes me most about the talk of impeaching Obama is the weakness of the actual charges — Benghazi, the IRS non-scandal re: targeting of “social welfare groups” for their political activities, etc. If the Republicans were truly serious about coming up with impeachable offenses against Obama, they would focus on such things as illegal NSA spying on all Americans (but most Republicans love Big Brother and the National Security State), the intentional killing of U.S. citizens in targeted drone strikes, without so much as an indictment, an arraignment, or a trial. However, they prefer to focus on idiotic sideshows that amount to nothing. That tells me that they do not really want to impeach Obama but would prefer to keep the “black guy in the White House” to use as a political (and racial) punching bag.

    • Robert Emmett Murphy, Jr. says:

      I address the NSA spying in part four, so I won’t get into that here. As for the drone program, which was never part of this series:

      To date, no one has ever learned how to make war healthy for children and other small creatures, but drone technology actually reduces civilian casualties over the more conventional method of utilizing a Special Forces team that has to shoot its way in and shoot its way out. Since the drone program is done under the cloak of secrecy, we can’t be certain how many civilian have died, and given the terrain, our intelligence agencies probably don’t know either, but it’s still not a hard case to make that it is a fraction of what would result from conventional combat.

      Who and how anyone is targeted is also secret, and controversial for that reason. The Administration claims the only strike based on intelligence of the presence of high-quality targets, but this is disputed. There are fears that any gathering of young men in certain areas are labeled terrorists, and so labeled, in death the can never be id’d as non-combatants–an additional, artificial, way of holding down the numbers of civilian dead.

      But you bring up Americans killed by drones specifically, and in the case, the criteria is known, and not unreasonable–“posed a continuing and imminent threat of violent attack against the United States,” and “it was not feasible to capture.”

      Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was a 16 year old American citizen, very likely wholly innocent, who was killed by a US predator drone.

      Why and how?

      Because his father Anwar al-Awlaki, another American citizen, and a high ranking Al Queda terrorist who recruited and plotted mayhem from a safe haven in Yemen’s al-Jawf province. He was directly involved in numerous plots, notably the recruiting of the “Christmas Day Underwear Bomber.” The father was killed by predator drones, a just targeting because there really is no question that he “posed a continuing and imminent threat of violent attack against the United States,” and that “it was not feasible to capture al-Aulaqi.” Samir Khan, another American citizen and Al Queda member, but of lower priority, died with him.

      The son had wanted to see his father, and traveled to Yemen to find him. A few days before his father’s death, he ran away from left the family home in the capital city, and went to a remote village in the Shabwa province. Two weeks after the death of the father, the boy himself was killed by a another Predator drone, but that drone was not targeting him.

      The boy had been standing too close to Ibrahim Muhammad Salih al-Banna, another leading Al Queda figure, as equally dangerous, and as equally legitimate a target as the father, and a least one other confirmed Al Queda officer of lower priority. The drone killed all there plus several others never identified in the press, and perhaps non-combatants like the American teenager.

      Even if the drone program undergoes a massive realignment, even if there standards for targeting are raised so that they are utilized with only half the frequency, or one quarter of the frequency, of what we do now, these two most controversial strikes would likely be viewed as legitimate by almost any criteria.

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