For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed a lengthy exchange I had with John Sexton of Verum Serum and AG_Conservative after the latter quipped that the DNCC fundraising apparatus should send Sarah Palin a thank you note for being able to raise so much money off of impeachment talk.
What I gleaned from the exchange that followed was this: there are those on the right who concern themselves primarily with what they call “strategy” — and in this case, view impeachment as a terrible strategy that could energize the Democrat base and foil a takeover of the Senate by the GOP (or, if you prefer, those who carry an R in front of their names, but who ran by courting Democrats and demonizing the constituency they now will claim to represent, making their affiliation more difficult to pinpoint) — and those who view impeachment not as some mechanistic act, but rather as a Constitutional imperative if in fact the case can be made that impeachable offensives have been committed. That is, while impeachment itself as a numbers game cannot happen given Reid’s control of the Senate — and so is a futile “strategy” maneuver, when viewed in that light, one that may, in fact, energize the Democrat base if it’s promoted on principle alone — the argument can (and in my opinion should) be made that those who take an oath to uphold the Constitution should be prepared to use those remedies proffered by the Constitution; more, they are in fact obligated to use such remedies, if in fact they wish to maintain the integrity of separation of powers. (Sarah Palin called into Michael Medved’s show to make her case; while Medved argued as Medved normally does, up to and including a reminder that Obama is, in fact, the first black President).
Boehner’s lawsuit is, as I’ve argued, a punt. A distraction. A joke. And while I do hope it is granted standing, there’s no reason to believe a court won’t ask the GOP House why, when it has among its own powers several checks on executive overreach, among them the power of the purse (a power Speaker Boehner preemptively surrendered), it is seeking remedy from a co-equal branch to solve what is a separation of powers dispute that the Constitution already provides remedy for?
The essential question is this: if the GOP believes that Obama is a lawless President who has committed the high crime or misdemeanor of exceeding, repeatedly and without fear of clear constitutional restraints, the proper function of the executive, and has appointed himself a second legislature, one that trumps the actual legislative bodies designed and implemented by the Constitution, then does it have an obligation to act on behalf of We, the People, whose sovereignty is being molested by the bypassing of elected representation?
This is not a simple matter of mechanistic strategy. It is a matter of Constitutional principle and the fate of the separation of powers. So while it may not prove politically expedient to do what the Constitution calls for, does that mean that not doing so is savvy politics, or an abrogation of the responsibility doled out to elected representatives under our Constitutional structure?
Many prominent Republicans who concentrate on head counts and believe control of the Senate under any circumstances (save conservatives being elected, natch) should be our primary focus choose to see impeachment as a mere political tool. Whereas others of us see impeachment as a political tool that is meant to be used when the Constitutional principles our elected officials swear to uphold come under attack.
Again, one way pragmatism can be used is in the promotion of principle as your rallying cry. The case for impeachment can be made, and it should be. This doesn’t mean it will succeed — and in fact, in the current electoral situation it almost certainly can’t. But the fact that it won’t succeed doesn’t necessitate an avoidance of the argument advancing the principles behind the attempt.
If we believe in the Constitution and wish to call ourselves conservatives, we simply must be willing to buck the popular wisdom — for instance, who cares what percentage of those polled are against impeachment? Have they had the case made to them why impeachment is being considered to begin with, and what the President’s overreach means to them as individuals going forward? — because the popular wisdom is almost always narrativized by the left and then reinforced by a timorous right who fears losing the “moderates” or undecideds.
Pale pastels or bold colors. There’s a choice to be made. So while you may be of the opinion that impeachment as a tactic is dangerous so close to an election, that’s no reason to try to minimize or dismiss those who hold an opposite view.
The truth is, the Democrats can get their base energized just as easily by calling us racists; or by raising the specter of a “war on women.” And so long as we keep allowing them to do so, they’ll find boogeyman to use against us.
Instead of running from the case for impeachment, it is just as reasonable to outline the case and then say that, from a numbers perspective — and given the lockstep nature of the Dem Senate under Reid — there is no way that impeachment can happen. But that still shouldn’t prevent the American people from hearing just what it is the Dem-led Senate is willing to say is proper Executive behavior.
The left sticks together; we eat our own. But not because our own deserve to be eaten. Rather, because those who are eaten are consumed to show deference to the left’s hold over popular opinion.
You don’t change that by consistently capitulating to it. You change that by going around their presumptions to play permanent narrative gatekeeper.
All of which was just my long run-up to this interview with Andy McCarthy on the subject:
For those of you unable to listen, the transcript can be found here.