Barack Obama

Should Obama Be Impeached?

We've had too few impeachments in American history, not too many.


You may be appalled about IRS inquisitions for Tea Party groups and dragnet subpoenas for investigative reporters, but what's really outrageous, according to some commentators, is that a couple of Republicans recently dared to use the "I-word"—"impeachment."

I'm not convinced that any of President Obama's recent scandal eruptions constitute an "impeachable moment." But surely something's gone wrong with our constitutional culture when opinion leaders treat the very invocation of the "I-word" as akin to screaming obscenities in a church.

"The notion of impeachment is industrial-strength insane," Michael Tomasky fumes in the Daily Beast. Over at the Atlantic, "communitarian" guru Amitai Etzioni moans "I see no way to protect the president and all of us from the second term curse."

"First among" the serious issues that confront us, Etzioni insists, is "the threshold for impeachment." It's distressingly low, he argues in a piece entitled "Why it should be harder to impeach the president."

"Harder"? We've impeached a total of two presidents in our 224-year constitutional history: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton (Richard Nixon resigned before the full House had a chance to vote on articles of impeachment). Let's be charitable and call it three. The question that should have occurred to Etzioni is, if we only manage to impeach a president once every 75 years or so, just how easy can it be?

As Alexander Hamilton explains in Federalist No. 66, the impeachment power was supposed to serve as "an essential check in the hands of [the legislature] upon encroachments of the executive." Unfortunately, that power has been too rarely used against presidents, and, on occasion, it's been abused.

One such case, argues constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, was the 1868 impeachment of President Andrew Johnson for firing his secretary of war and, through various intemperate speeches, "excit[ing] the odium and resentment of all good people of the United States against Congress," which is hardly a "high crime."

"The Johnson case shows the danger majority factions may pose if the constitutional standards for impeachment are ignored," Turley writes, but given how infrequently presidents are impeached, "a more significant danger lies in impeach[able] conduct that is ignored by the majority," as when presidents assert "a relativistic view of their authority to claim extraconstitutional powers at times of crisis."

That was a worry shared by many of the Framers. As Virginia's Edmund Randolph noted at the Philadelphia Convention, the impeachment power was essential, given that "the executive will have great opportunities of abusing his power; particularly in time of war. … Should no regular punishment be provided, it will be irregularly inflicted by tumults & insurrections."

In this regard, the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf makes a key point: "The biggest Obama scandals are proven and ignored." Among other offenses, Friedersdorf writes, the president has "violated the War Powers Resolution … when committing U.S. troops to Libya without Congressional approval" and "ordered the assassination of … American citizens in secret without due process," while "refus[ing] to reveal even the legal reasoning he used."

"People may be starting to use the I-word before too long," Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said last week in relation to the Benghazi scandal. But impeachment talk is relegated to the fringes of the Republican Party, and it's usually invoked for the wrong reasons. The real Benghazi scandal is how we got there in the first place. The president launched an illegal war in a country that his own secretary of defense admitted wasn't "a vital interest" for the United States.

One thing is clear, however: Given the massive abuses of power and public trust that modern presidents have committed, we've had far too few presidential impeachments. We should stop treating the "I-word" like it's a curse.

This article originally appeared in The Washington Examiner.

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  1. Joe Biden privately thinks so.

    1. Does that mean Obama is going to come around to it if it proves to be a popular position?

      1. There are those who say that we should impeach the President whenever he has been caught doing a whole list of things that are unconstitutional, immoral, power-mad, and treasonous.

        I say, we must reject those voices.

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          (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

    2. That’s because he racist.

    3. Few admit this, but as bad Biden stinks and bumbles, he would be a better president than Obama. The parallels between Dick and Gerald versus Barry and Joe are uncanny.

      1. Its funny, but Spiro Agnew had to jump ship before Trickster, and that itself be would be a political milestone of sorts were it not for his showboating boss couple years later.

        But Biden is Spiro much as Gerald – an incompetent politiclown bumbler, but a vicious and cartoony-corrupt one all at the same time.

  2. It’s a very sad commentary on our system that only two presidents have been impeached and none convicted. Really, do any of us believe every president operated completely legally and ethically?

    Presidents, appointees, judges, and members of Congress should be getting ousted regularly. Without that, they don’t feel any pain from their abuses of power. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s like we’re conditioning a response we shouldn’t want at all.

    There’s enough smoke around to start talking about impeachment, though I wouldn’t actually put that on the table until there’s more evidence.

    1. Oh please. Like the people who run things are going to let one of their own get fucked. What dream world are you pining for?

      1. Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?

        1. Why is it I’m the only one who has that dream?

          1. You are? Uh, I mean, yeah, you are.

          2. You’re all just a bunch of degenerates!

            1. You’re all just a bunch of degenerates!

              Did you even clean up and put away your skanks before you commented that, Epi?

              1. Your failure to respond “We are? What about that time I found you naked with that bowl of jello?” disappoints me terribly, jesse. If I can’t count on H&R commenters to know Real Genius quotes, what can I count on?

                1. disappoints me terribly, jesse

                  The day is young, I haven’t even begun to disappoint you. Give me a chance to warm up a bit before you jump to terrible disappointment.

                2. it was hot and I was hungry, okay?

                  Happy now?

            2. If that be degeneracy, aye, I’m in.

              Except mine had warm apple fritters instead of pickles.

              1. Well that’s just fucking degenerate, John.

            3. We are? What about that time I found you naked with that bowl of jello?

      2. But you do raise a good point. Since the government is just pure democracy, and we’re all the government, just like Obama said, why can’t we impeach you?

        1. “The public” means “everyone but you” when it comes to public servants.
          Since “everyone but you” disagrees about impeachment (we know this because the public servant said so) any talk of doing so is racist (again because the public servant said so) and you will now be subject to a beating by the public servant.

        2. You can try. Just realize that I don’t like being impeached, especially since I hold no position to be impeached from. I fight back. And I pull hair and bite. So watch out.

          1. Impeached for you means being deluged by peaches wherever you go. I envision you living like Charlton Heston in The Omega Man. Really, it’s not that different from your current lifestyle.

            1. (unloads entire clip into building where he sees ProL lurking with white hair, laughs uproariously, goes and watches Woodstock in empty theater)

              1. If the world ends without you living that life, I’ll be sad.

                1. Me too.

                  (starts talking to bust of Caesar)

              2. unloads entire clip into building where he sees ProL lurking…

                You would use a Smith and Wesson, you deviant.

                1. What is this “clip” of which you speak?

            2. Living in buildings with a pretty black woman who goes topless? I don’t see the downside to that.

  3. What we really need to bring back is tarring and feathering.

    1. Nothing wrong with a nice T&F’ing, as long as they’re rode out of town on a rail afterwards.

      1. Along with tarring and feathering, we should bring back ostracism. Not only no more job, no political position of any sort, within or without government. Ten years!

    2. Everybody forgets step three: light ’em up! Pine tar burns very well.

      1. Just ask George Brett.

  4. Well, let’s get those impeachments rolling! Times a wasting.

    1. And let their Goddess, Democracy, sort out her own.

  5. “Without that, they don’t feel any pain from their abuses of power. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s like we’re conditioning a response we shouldn’t want at all.”

    Power is the culprit that makes abusers of all who wield it. I have been assured there is nothing that can be done to save these victims from it’s conniving manipulation.

    1. Hark! The pinhead has spoken!

    2. Without that, they don’t feel any pain from their abuses of power. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s like we’re conditioning a response we shouldn’t want at all.

      Only you would be so twisted as to disagree with a obviously correct observation.

      1. It’s sarcasm, you fucking twit

        1. Unless everything you’ve posted has been “sarcasm” that seems very unlikely.

          1. Unless you weren’t on any of the IRS threads yesterday or are brain-dead you would know what the comment refers to. I’m not sure which it is, but carry on.

  6. There are very few elected or appointed officials in Washington who should not be impeached.

  7. How dare somebody suggest that the emperor is not divine?!

  8. The only possible reason why anyone would want to impeach Dear Leader is racism.

    Some actress who wears too much eye makeup said so.

    1. Tammy Faye Baker?

    2. Lindsay Lohan?

    3. Zachary Quinto?

    4. Barack Obama?

    5. Elizabeth Taylor?

    6. Sean Penn?

  9. Please no.

    He may deserve it. But in the unlikely event he were to be impeached, and in the nearly impossible event he were to be convicted, we’d be left with President Biden. I’m not a religious man, but I’m reasonably sure that event is foretold as being part of the end of the world.

    1. President Biden would be great: he would be effectively powerless and the entirety of his term would be humorous and upbeat.

      America needs Joe Biden.

      1. ^^hear hear!

    2. In all seriousness, that’s irrelevant. The House should impeach whenever there’s anything unethical/illegal going on. We shouldn’t have a term go by without an impeachment. Unless Martin Sheen is vice president. Then I suggest enduring the pain until he’s gone.

      1. But what if Sheen promised to appoint Gary Cole as HIS Vice President?

        That wouldn’t be bad, depending on how long we’d have to wait for the next impeachment.

  10. which is hardly a “high crime.”

    Everybody leaves off “misdemeanors.” “Bad acts.” Like in the UCMJ, these don’t even need to rise to the standards which would call for the prosecution of ordinary people.

    1. I’d say the merely unethical should be sufficient.

      It’s an interesting question what “high crimes and misdemeanors” means, but it’s one that really could be answered by the House alone. If they say something qualifies, I doubt the Court would dive in to say otherwise, unless it was something totally absurd, like the wearing of a tie that wasn’t red or blue.

  11. We should definitely shoot an admiral now and then.

    1. Perhaps admirals should only be shot when acting on their own and not the orders of the Commander in Chief. Otherwise no one would ever want the job, and we’d be forced to sub-contract the admiralty out to willing expendables from India.

  12. James Taranto in the WSJ

    If ordinary politics are a battle between good and evil, then winning becomes an overriding moral imperative. The end justifies the means: Journalists shade or conceal the truth in the service of a “larger truth.” Government restricts political speech in the name of promoting democracy. Administrative agencies perpetrate injustice in the name of “social justice.” That’s how IRS agents could think it was their patriotic duty to help fix an election for the party in power.

    Or, like we always say, partisans are scum.

    1. I could live with the partisan bullshit if people gave a shit about ethics and legality. You know, turning on their own when caught doing something wrong? I know that’s an impossibly high standard that no human could possibly aspire to. . . .

      1. Of course they don’t. Because the other side is evil, and anything is morally sound when you’re fighting evil.

        1. Perhaps the means matter, too?

      2. Uh, ProL, the very definition of partisanship is excusing wrong done by your TEAM. You just bleated out the sentence equivalent of an oxymoron. You moron.

      3. And this reminds me of something I heard Penn Jillette say once: There are no ends; there are only means. To be a partisan is to be too stupid to understand this.

        1. It’s skipping key elements that get people in trouble. There is no collective, only individuals. Ends and means aren’t separate things. And so on.

    2. My favorite part about all the scandals that came up last week was the fact that he gave that stupid Ohio commencement speech (short version: CITIZEN! OBEY) right before all this stuff came out.

      Makes you wonder what he knew at the time.

      1. I just hope this keeps spiraling out of control. We desperately need a wake-up call. Some of us more than others.

      2. Pick up that can.

        1. Not this year.

          1. Hey, a Half-Life 2/They Live crossover! Good idea.

  13. “excit[ing] the odium and resentment of all good people of the United States against Congress,”

    As if Congress’s behavior itself isn’t enough. Of course, if it was enough to impeach Johnson, Obama might want to review some of his statements about Congress.

  14. The fact that senators and others are referring to impeachment as “the ‘i’ word” is pussification personified. Jesus fucking antichrist, this isn’t shouting “NIGGER!” in a crowded theatre. It’s talking about a Constitutional process invoked exactly as Healy suggests – too few times, not too many.


    We’re here!
    We impeach!
    It’s the law!
    Get used to it!

    That is all.

    1. You say that, but look at the record. Clinton, the first black president, impeached. Obama, the second black president, possibly impeached. What does that tell you?

      1. We got the potential for a “twofer”?

      2. Oh, PS – I blame Bush

      3. That Republicans are vindictive hypocritical hyperpolitical sons of bitches?

        There were two scandals a week during the Bush administration worse than any of the current ones, and he parlayed a nightmarish terrorist attack into a shield of criminal and political immunity for years, with the former still disgustingly in place (provided they don’t travel to countries where they prosecute war criminals).

        That being said, I’m all for impeachment. If Republicans want to keep nailing their own coffin shut with hysterical partisan episodes, they can be my guest.

        1. There were two scandals a week during the Bush administration worse than any of the current ones
          Citation Needed

          And screaming “BOOOSHH!!111!!” in no way excuses the malfeasance of Obama. But you knew that, you dishonest fuck. I’m surprised even you would show your face here to try to defend what Obama’s been up to.

          1. And screaming “BOOOSHH!!111!!” in no way excuses the malfeasance of Obama.

            Well… there goes every last bit of MSNBC’s programming for the remainder of the year, then.

          2. What has Obama been up to, exactly? Is there any evidence of his involvement in any of the current scandals? Or is his simply, as usual, responsible for everything that ever happens in life that you don’t like? Not even the most loyal Democrat is half as obsessed with Obama as you guys.

            Like it or not, Bush set a bar, with many of the Republicans currently in Congress guilty of allowing it to happen and calling anyone who dared question the president “in a time of war” a traitor. It’s entirely appropriate to “scream BOOOSH” for generations to come. The damage done was widespread, and includes the damage done to political accountability. Generations hence sensible people will be saying, “Well they didn’t impeach Bush, how could we possibly impeach this guy?” Unless of course that guy got a blowjob.

            1. “What has Obama been up to, exactly?”

              The same thing he’s been up to since he decided on politics. Perpetual campaigning.

              1. Well impeachment seems too light a punishment for a politician being political.

            2. Shorter Tony:
              LALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOUUUU!!!!


              You really are a pathetic fucking idiot. You’d keep gobblin’ Obama’s cock if he was filmed raping puppies on the Capitol steps, you douche.

              1. So you got nothin?

                1. As impossible as it seems, you always have less than nothing, Herpy-Derpy.

                  1. The only weed capable of growing in the typical “progressive’s” intellectual garden is the worthless Yabbut Bush. It bears neither useful bloom or fruit, but is occasionally useful for obscuring the stealthy encroachment of other, more poisonous plants.

            3. As if assassinating an American citizen, signing indefinite detention into law, and quadrupling warrantless wiretaps wasn’t enough, there’s this:

              Here’s an amazing and revealing fact: after Richard Nixon lost the right to exercise prior restraint over the New York Times’ publication of the Pentagon Papers, he was desperate to punish and prosecute the responsible NYT reporter, Neil Sheehan. Thus, recounted the NYT’s lawyer at the time, James Goodale, Nixon concocted a theory:

              “Nixon convened a grand jury to indict the New York Times and its reporter, Neil Sheehan, for conspiracy to commit espionage . . . .The government’s ‘conspiracy’ theory centered around how Sheehan got the Pentagon Papers in the first place. While Daniel Ellsberg had his own copy stored in his apartment in Cambridge, the government believed Ellsberg had given part of the papers to anti-war activists. It apparently theorized further that the activists had talked to Sheehan about publication in the Times, all of which it believed amounted to a conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act.”

              As Goodale notes, this is exactly “the same charge Obama’s Justice Department is investigating Assange under today,” and it’s now exactly the same theory used to formally brand Fox’s James Rosen as a criminal in court.

            4. He shoveled money toward corporate America, banks and car manufacturers. He championed the bailouts of the same Wall Street firms his very partisans blamed for the financial collapse. He picked the CEO of General Electric to oversee the unemployment problem. He appointed corporate state regulars for every major role in financial central planning. After guaranteeing a new era of transparency, he conducted all his regulatory business behind a shroud of unprecedented secrecy. He planned his health care scheme, the crown jewel of his domestic agenda, in league with the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.

              He continued the war in Iraq, even extending Bush’s schedule with a goal of staying longer than the last administration planned. He tripled the U.S. presence in Afghanistan then took over two years to announce the eventual drawdown to bring it back to only double the Bush presence. He widened the war in Pakistan, launching drone attacks at a dizzying pace. He started a war on false pretenses with Libya, shifting the goal posts and doing it all without Congressional approval. He bombed Yemen and lied about it.

              1. He enthusiastically signed on to warrantless wiretapping, renditioning, the Patriot Act, prison abuse, detention without trial, violations of habeas corpus, and disgustingly invasive airport security measures. He deported immigrants more than Bush did. He increased funding for the drug war in Mexico. He invoked the Espionage Act more than all previous presidents combined, tortured a whistleblower, and claimed the right to unilaterally kill any U.S. citizen on Earth without even a nod from Congress or a shrug from the courts.

                The left-liberals who stand by this war criminal and Wall Street shill have made their choice: better to have the militarism and police state, so long as it means a little more influence over domestic politics, even if that too is compromised by corporate interference, than it is to embrace a radical antiwar agenda that might complicate their domestic aspirations.


            5. Is there any evidence of his involvement in any of the current scandals?

              What’s worse–a President who is so disconnected from the agencies he runs that he’s not aware malfeaseance is taking place, or one who knows about it and lets it happen?

              My liberal 8th-grade history teacher posed this very question after Iran-Contra, and it still holds true. You’re just pissed because it’s Captain Mompants getting all the negative attention now.

            6. Tony| 5.21.13 @ 12:52PM |#
              “What has Obama been up to, exactly?”

              Incompetence or evil, shithead. Enough to get fired if you worked for a private outfit.

        2. Good morning/afternoon, Herpy-Derpy. What has you up so early in the day?

      4. Stop electing slick-talkin’ Democrats with great political organizations?

    2. If you shout “NIGGER” in a crowded theater in Watts you better make sure your own skin is black first.

      1. Somebody cue up Kentucky Fried Movie for me. Youtube is blocked at work.

        1. How do I “cue” it up for you, T?

          Hurry, I’m leaving to work.

  15. Keel-hauling, impeachment, tarring and feathering, and walking the plank.

    All options should be on the table.

    1. “Keel-hauling” now that’s a blast from the past.

      If you want to do it right, make sure that hull is covered with barnacles first.

  16. “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” ? Gerald R. Ford

    1. Gerry did occasionally have his lucid moments.

  17. “Gene Healy: Should Obama Be Impeached?”

  18. Short answer: no.

    He’s already enough of a martyr.

  19. Even asking the question is the worst kind of racism.

    Should Rosa Parks have been frog marched off the bus?
    Should Ghandi have been force fed double-bacon cheeseburgers?

  20. I’d settle for having BO, Holder, and Pistole perform a penance walk from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep. Napolitano and Schumer have to do it as well, but they keep their clothes on.

  21. I remember marching with Dr. King at Selma and he warned this day would come. He was speaking in tongues about tea pots, the rainbow jesus, and what sounded like Shush Bimbaw.

    And now the prophecy has come true. H8ers discussing impeaching Lord President Latte of Chicago via Jakarta.


  22. Is this like, a rhetorical question? Surely reason doesn’t actually think this is up for debate, right?

  23. The administration and the office of the president has great power, and Obama has been steadily increasing that power.

    Are his increases an abuse of power? It seems that impeachment is needed both to stop such abuses and from using that power. For example, what happened to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press? Is the president allowed to declare war unilaterally? etc., etc.

  24. His incompetence across all branches of government is enough grounds for impeachment. When someone fails this badly why do we have to wait 3 more years to remove him. If I have a lousy employe I don’t wait years to remove them.

  25. Presidents need to know if they misbehave they can be fired. Same as the rest of us.

  26. impeach obama for ordering cime, lieing, hypocracy, not representing the majority of its voters or the country, violateing oath of office, not to the best of its ability preserve protect and defend the constitution instead the oposite, not takeing care that laws be faithfully executed, and not doing its job.
    charge obama a refund for all the tax-funded benifits(personal security)it didnt need cuz it could afford to pay for at least some of it itself instead of extravagant golf, vacations, fashion, and exspensive dinners.
    constitution art VI “the senators and representitives before-mentioned, and the members of the serveral state legislatures, and all executive and judical officers, both of the united states and of the severall states, shall be bound by oath of affirmation, to support this constituion; but no religous test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the united states.” bound=you must obey or else fired.

  27. constitution art XIV section 3. “no person shall be a sentor or representitive in congress, or elector of president and vice-president, or hold any office, civil or military, under the unitied states, or under any state, who, haveing previously taken an oath, as a member of congress, or as an officer of the united states, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the constitution of the united states, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion agianst the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” =gov workers permantely banned from gov jobs if they breach their oath to the constitution, or if they insurect or rebel agianst the consitution, or give aid or comfort to the enemies of the constitution.
    youtube: obama explains the fema camps, the nsa wire tap over reach, canidate obama compared to president obama on government survailence – hypocrisy exposed, Obama On NSA: ‘We Don’t Have A Domestic Spying Program’ , obama’s hypocrisy on mass murder of children , state of the union adress gun control, weekly adress gun control, Barack Obama Lies about Benghazi Libya WITH the Main Stream Media’s Help, Obama During Weeks Following Benghazi Attacks, Benghazi Lies, 10/10/12 Libya timeline showing lie after lie by Obama administration officials, 3:35

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