As the 2014 cycle progressed, the number of congressional Republicans talking about impeaching President Obama faded, and there’s no real mystery as to what happened. GOP leaders, fearing a public backlash, told Republican incumbents and candidates to dial it down a notch. Why rile up Democrats, who too often stay home in midterm cycles, when they’re tuning out?
And as a consequence, for months, the “i” word more or less faded. That is, until very recently.
Last week, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), less than a month into his first term in Congress, announced his belief that President Obama, without a doubt, “deserves impeachment.” He’s not the only one talking like this.
Republican Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania says President Obama is “getting close” to impeachment. “People say, ‘should the president be impeached?’ I say, we’re getting close to that,” the Marino said in a video posted on YouTube Wednesday by the local newspaper, the Wellsboro Gazette.Marino said he was talking about impeachment because “it comes up consistently at town hall meetings.”
Well, that’s a good reason. Marino was a little fuzzy on what, exactly, would be the grounds for presidential impeachment, but for many GOP lawmakers, that’s a minor and inconvenient detail that shouldn’t interfere with reckless rhetoric.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), meanwhile, has no use for subtlety and is already talking publicly about “jail time” for the president:
In an appearance on “The Steve Malzberg Show” [Tuesday], Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., continued his crusade against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform, calling on the federal courts to find that the president’s actions violated the law.If Obama defies such a ruling, Brooks said, then Congress should pass a contempt citation against the president for his “reckless conduct” and demand that he comply with the court’s decision.He said that Obama would then drop his executive actions since he, like Richard Nixon, doesn’t want to “incur the wrath that comes with a contempt citation with potential fines and jail time.”
At this point, I still consider it unlikely that GOP leaders will go along with the far-right’s impeachment crusade, but conservative media appears to be on board, and the number of congressional Republican talking up the idea since the elections keeps growing.
Even if party leaders balk, this only means they’ll have to think of something else to mollify the extremists in their midst, and pointless anti-Obama lawsuits probably won’t cut it.