You almost have to admire the chutzpah of Grover Norquist. For a man with no elected office and lacking the billions of the Koch brothers, Norquist exerts a phenomenal amount of influence on American politics. From his ability to force the entire GOP to pledge not to raise taxes under any circumstances (except on the Middle Class and poor, of course) to his latest act of arrogance in essentially threatening the President of the United States, Norquist is quite sure of himself.
In an incredibly smug and self-satisfied interview with the National Journal:
NORQUIST Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress.
Wow. Let’s ignore, for a moment, that the Right Wing working definition of “made no effort to work with Congress” is “give us everything we want or we will bring the gears of government to a standstill.” Just focus of the threat of impeachment.
The Constitution lays out the rules for impeachment as follows:
The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Despite the incessant screams of “Traitor!” coming from the Right, Obama hasn’t actually committed treason. He certainly hasn’t been caught taking a bribe so that just leaves “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This is more or less whatever Congress decides it is. Theoretically, they could impeach the president for wearing a black tie on a Wednesday. So, really, what Norquist is saying is that the second the Republican Party has a large enough majority in both chambers of Congress, they will impeach Obama for anything they can make stick.
This is one of the most cynical political statements I have ever heard. The GOP knows full well that the only reason they took the White house in 2000 was that Clinton’s impeachment has soured the public on Democrats. If it worked once, why not try again? To this end, the Right has been trying to fabricate a scandal large enough to initiate impeachment proceedings since almost the day the president was sworn in. They haven’t come close but that won’t stop them from trying and Grover Norquist has made it clear that a GOP majority will ensure that it happens regardless of the lack of justification.
The object here is not to hold Obama accountable but to either use extortion to extend the “temporary” Bush Tax Cuts that have drained hundreds of billions from the budget or use an impeachment on the flimsiest of grounds to smear the president. It doesn’t even have to be a successful impeachment, they just have to try and it will hurt the presidents’ image.
Once again, conservatives have stated, out loud and on the record, that they are absolutely not interested in the welfare of the country. They have been, are, and always will be, interested in regaining and holding power. How they get it and how they keep is irrelevant and the consequences be damned. If this doesn’t make clear just how high the stakes are for the 2012 elections, nothing will.
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