Legal murmurs and threats against President Obama grew louder and then quickly fell silent over the weekend after Republicans fell into the incumbency fundraising trap known as impeachment.
Any grievances against Obama were nonexistent in pleas from Democrat fundraisers — who used threats of impeachment to haul in $2.1 million in contributions over the weekend.
But the lopsided giving may soon even out, as partisans from the GOP to the LP will undoubtedly relearn that giving red meat to the faithful is a handy way to raise money. It may not help that the administration’s political calculus amounts to an outright dare to critics.
And politically, Obama has everything to gain from such rumors. When Bill Clinton’s impeachment was all said and done, Republicans bungled it so badly that they ended up losing five seats to Democrats in 1998’s mid term elections.
C’mon, grab your friends,
We’ll go to very swampy lands
With Hammer of Truth,
And Sword of Just,
The Republic’ll never end,
It’s Impeachment Time!
Fast forward to George W. Bush’s presidency. Democrats huffed and puffed about impeachment, but never quite bothered to do much more. Those calls grew only louder once Bush entered his second term, and they ended up using that rhetoric not to bring Bush to any justice, but to gain a whopping electoral advantage: 6 state Governors, 31 House seats, and 6 Senate seats went Democrat that year.
Impeachments have become more common in the modern era, and that is likely because of increasing numbers of independent voters. Less and less fealty is granted to the main two parties, meaning that the net amount of hostility to any given President is much greater than in previous years.
Not a bad strategy to use everyone’s hatred for the president to take power instead of exacting politically costly justice. In 2006 Democrats squandered their legislative and fiscal responsibility, and instead bemoaned Bush for lack of cooperation until they could switch out to their own imperial president.
Republicans would be wise not to re-use that tired playbook. After all, they’ve already capitulated on fiscal responsibility under Obama and it’s cost them far worse in primaries than Democrats ever fared under similar circumstances.
More importantly, impeachment talk and threats should be removed from being mere election or fundraising tools. Instead all politicians need to clearly understand that impeachment is a clear constitutional check (nay, duty) against an executive branch hell bent on vanishing its citizens dignity, rights and wealth away through the power of the pen.