On a recent Hot Air thread about whether it’s desirable to impeach Obama I saw this comment:

Impeachment would be like a child throwing a temper tantrum — lots of sound and fury signifying extreme frustration. But in the end Obama would still be there.

Impeachment is not an absolute impossibility before Obama’s second term is through. But impeachment would be a very bad idea at this point, even though the GOP controls the House, and even though there’s plenty of fodder for impeachment.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that the Republicans in the House have not only the votes but the guts to do it. But the effort would go nowhere in the Senate; they would not get the requisite two-thirds for conviction. The failed process would only anger the public, the great majority of whom would find it to be vindictive overkill (as well as something that gets in the way of whatever it is that they think Congress is supposed to be doing instead). Such an action would increase Obama’s approval rating, and perhaps even lead to the Democrats holding the Senate in 2014 or even making advances in both bodies of Congress.

However, if Obamacare goes forward and things continue to get worse, and the Republicans win the Senate in 2014 (even if they don’t get over 2/3 of the seats there, which they almost certainly won’t), and Obama’s approval ratings drop into the cellar, then there’s a chance. The public might then get behind impeachment/conviction, and it’s theoretically possible (although exceedingly unlikely) that a Democrat or two might even come along.

That’s the only way it could happen, and I give it an infinitesimally small chance of coming about. But one thing is certain: now is most definitely not the time for impeachment. Ralph Waldo Emerson is reputed to have said, “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” He was supposed to have been responding to a student “who told Emerson that he was writing an essay about, and presumably critical of, Plato.” Emerson wasn’t talking about literally killing Plato, who had been dead for quite some time. He was talking about knowing how to choose the right time and way to undermine a person regarded as a powerful man.

The same is true of impeaching Obama: don’t start unless you have the votes in the Senate to convict, and the support of the American people, or you will end up hurting yourself. Impeachment has legal trappings, but its essence is political. So whether Obama has committed an impeachable offense—and I submit that he has committed several—is not the final determination of whether impeachment would be a good idea.


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