If you want evidence that Democrats are talking up the impeachment of President Obama, look no farther than the floors of the House and Senate.
In recent days, Democrats have pushed back against claims that they are stoking the flames of impeachment for fund-raising purposes, to rile up their base, or for other reasons. But impeachment talk has figured heavily in Democratic messaging, with a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warning on Sunday that a proposed lawsuit against the president “could lead to impeachment hearings.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) called the Democrats’ repeated claims that Republicans are planning to impeach Obama a Democratic “scam” Tuesday. Democrats have responded by claiming, in the words of a Democratic super-PAC, that “the tea party is so focused on hurting President Obama.”
But a search for the terms “impeach” and “impeachment” in floor speeches in the House and Senate since Monday reveals that only Democrats have discussed the matter. At least ten Democratic legislators, including the Senate majority leader, have brought up impeachment, while no Republican has touched on the issue.
While praising the bipartisan agreement on a new Veterans Affairs reform bill Tuesday, the Senate majority randomly mentioned impeachment.
“Isn’t it good we’re talking about this rather than impeachment of the president, or suing the president?” he said. “We shouldn’t be off on those tracks of impeachment and suing the president.”
2. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina
Later that morning, the assistant Democratic minority leader took to the floor to warn that the House Republicans’ lawsuit against the president is the first step toward impeachment proceedings.
“The ultimate goal of this exercise is to try to discover some peg for which they can hang an impeachment resolution,” Clyburn said. “This wasteful Republican lawsuit is their prelude to impeachment.”
Rank-and-file members of the Democratic caucus are following suit with their leadership, and echoing that the lawsuit will eventually development into impeachment efforts:
3. Representative G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina
Butterfield predicted the lawsuit was to “set the stage for despicable impeachment proceeding” if Republicans hold the House and capture the Senate in November.
4. Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia
Referencing Janet Jackson’s 1986 song “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” Johnson called on Republicans to focus on other matters than “the issue of impeachment.”
More notably, a handful of members of the Congressional Black Caucus took the floor late Monday night to raise the alarm about impeachment.
5. Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York
Jeffries took the floor first to kick off “talk about halting the GOP march towards impeachment.”
Later, Jeffries railed against the “conservative entertainment complex” riling up the aforementioned march towards impeachment.
6. Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio
The chairwoman of the CBC railed against the “irreverent and irresponsible march towards impeachment of the president of the United States.”
7. Representative Barbara Lee of California
“Stop this politically motivated, extreme and disturbing march toward impeachment – because that’s where this is going, and hopefully the public understands that,” Lee said.
8. Representative Donald Payne Jr. of New Jersey
Calling on Republicans to be more respectful to the president, whom he called “the most powerful man in the world,” Payne urged Republicans to stop the “talk of impeachment.”
9. Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada
Horsford warned voters “should not underestimate the lengths” to which Republicans are willing to go to rein in the president. “After recess, that we shouldn’t be taking, maybe it’s impeachment proceedings,” he said.
He went on to call such actions “a direct affront to our constituents that elected us to do a job.”
10. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas
Even though Lee said she did “not know whether this is a substitute for impeachment,” she urged caution in allowing the lawsuit to move forward.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.