Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a member of the House Democratic leadership, told reporters yesterday that the House Republicans’ anti-Obama lawsuit is little more than a “precursor to impeachment.”
“If the Republicans maintain control of the House, Barack Obama will be impeached…. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think so,” the Assistant Democratic Leader said. “They would just love to be able to open the history books years from now and say, yeah he may have been the first African-American president, but he was also an impeached president.”
Given recent events, this would ordinarily be the point at which Republicans and much of the Beltway media starts complaining: “Why are Democrats always the ones talking about impeachment?” Except the criticisms ring hollow under the circumstances.
Mike Huckabee appeared on Monday’s edition of Iowa-based Steve Deace’s radio talk show, where he said President Obama “absolutely” deserves to be impeached but cautioned that Republicans should not pursue impeachment at this time since the GOP doesn’t have the votes to convict him in the Senate.“There’s no doubt that he has done plenty of things worthy of impeachment,” Huckabee said.Earlier in the show, Huckabee accused Obama of deliberately weakening border security and creating lawlessness: “The government is going to have to secure the border. There’s a big difference between what we owe God and what we owe Caesar, and right now we’ve got Caesar acting like God.”
There are a few interesting angles to this. The first, obviously, is that Republicans are going to have to get their story straight one of these days when it comes to presidential impeachment. Every time GOP leaders try to put the fire out, more Republicans step up to fan the flames. Dems are exploiting this to mobilize their base, but it’s working because the story is rooted in fact.
For that matter, Huckabee’s rhetoric falls into a familiar pattern: he’s a prominent Republican voice who believes there’s “no doubt” President Obama has committed impeachable acts, though he hasn’t been able to identify any. It’s funny how that happens.
But it’s this “Caesar” comparison that’s especially noteworthy.
If it sounds at all familiar, the New York Times’ Ross Douthat published a column this week that generated quite a bit of discussion, accusing the White House of “domestic Caesarism.” The evidence: Obama’s deferred-action policy for Dream Act kids.
The argument, of course, is predicated on the dubious notion that prosecutorial discretion is itself an outrageous abuse. Huckabee, however, takes the thesis further – in Douthat’s metaphor, President Obama is tyrannical; for Huckabee, the president is a tyrant who also acts like a monotheistic God.
They’re both wrong. As Brian Beutler explained very well, Republicans don’t have to like the DACA policy, and they may consider it reckless, but it’s not illegal.
Finally, let’s just note one policy detail for the record. Huckabee, like so many on the right, remains convinced that border security is weak and getting weaker, perhaps even by design. That is, however, the exact opposite of reality – security along the U.S./Mexico border has arguably never been as forceful and effective as it is now.
It’d be even stronger still if House Republicans passed the bipartisan legislation on comprehensive immigration reform, but at least for now, they refuse to consider the bill or present an alternative.