Impeachment is not a toy, redux

Impeachment is not a toy, redux
Impeachment is not a toy, redux
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Rep. Steve Stockman (R) of Texas served one term in the 1990s, during which he ran into a little trouble in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, when his “links to anti-government militia groups” became problematic.

Sixteen years later, the right-wing lawmaker is back on Capitol Hill, and this time, he’s prepared to impeach President Obama if the White House uses executive orders to shape gun policy.

“The White House’s recent announcement they will use executive orders and executive actions to infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms is an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic,” Stockman said in a statement. “I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment.” […]

Stockman on Monday called potential executive action by the president “an existential threat to this nation.”

The Texas congressman added that “the president’s actions” – which, remember, have not happened – are “a direct attack on Americans that place all of us in danger.” Stockman added, “If the president is allowed to suspend constitutional rights on his own personal whims, our free republic has effectively ceased to exist.”

Let’s look at this from a few different angles. First, I’d recommend Rep. Stockman consider decaf.

Second, using executive orders on gun policy is not an impeachable offense. On the contrary, Republican presidents have acted on gun policy through executive orders, too, and there are plenty of legal options available to the president that are entirely consistent with constitutional limits and powers. No sane person is talking about “suspending constitutional rights.”

And third, impeachment is not a partisan toy.

If it seems like this is an issue that keeps coming up, that’s because this is an issue that keeps coming up. As we talked about in June, then-Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) appeared on a conservative talk-radio show to argue that presidential impeachment “is always a possibility” if the Obama administration fails to “cooperate” with state immigration efforts.

What’s more, former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said in April he wants to impeach Obama because of ”all of the czars,” while Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) talked in March about impeaching Obama for no apparent reason. What’s more, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto suggested a year ago that Obama might be liable to impeachment over recess appointments; Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) has raised the prospect of impeaching Obama over DOMA; and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) talked up the idea of presidential impeachment because “it would tie things up” in Washington for a while, making governing impossible. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) even introduced an impeachment resolution, just in case Obama sends U.S. troops to Syria.

What’s more, in 2010, both Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also raised the specter of impeaching Obama, for reasons that still don’t make any sense.

To be sure, no one is seriously pursuing this just yet, but the frequent use of the “i” word is disconcerting.

Steve Stockman and Impeachment

Impeachment is not a toy, redux