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Tags: Impeachment

For Simplicity’s Sake, Pledge Tit-for-Tat GOP Executive Order



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The essence of my proposal here is that the GOP would hold a caucus in which its members pledge not take any action against one future Republican president elected in 2016, 2020, or 2024, if he or she were to issue one executive order of equivalent impact with Obama’s threatened Big Amnesty order, if Obama goes through with it.  

You Dems dare to get Big Amnesty by unconstitutional executive-branch de facto legislating? Know this, then: The next time we elect a president, we get Big Fence, or Big Obamacare Repeal, or some other Big conservative wish-list law, by a similar executive order.

The GOP could do this if a) they were too chicken to pledge impeachment in retaliation for Big Amnesty, b) they pursued such, but found the public to be too much against it, or c) if the House went ahead and impeached Obama in retaliation, but with no effect on his behavior. Again, Senate conviction is impossible. Of course, I’m for the GOP pledging both impeachment and retaliation by executive order. ASAP. Give Obama and his party several reasons to want to back-down .    

The principle is simple:  this is grossly unconstitutional, and to deter Democrats from ever tolerating such again from one of their presidents, we will make them pay an equivalent price policy-wise. 

It is only in the language, and in agreeing upon the proposed menu of proportionately retaliatory executive actions, where things get tricky. 

As to the language, Republicans would have to say, “We are pledging ourselves to do nothing against one executive order by a GOP president we think is unconstitutional, for the sake of keeping any more of such orders being done. We will thus allow one instance of egregious Constitution violation for the sake of protecting it against many more.” The language must not say that any president has a right to such an action.  

As to the menu of acceptable retaliatory actions, this would be difficult to gain agreement upon, but such agreement would be absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we would face the prospect of some rogue Republican presidential candidate promising to do a too expansive retaliatory executive order, and he or she winning the election. Or, we would face the prospect of a Republican president, once in office, springing some quite new proposal upon us and saying we had agreed to it in principle. So each item — I would recommend three to five options — on the menu of acceptable retaliatory options would have to have some flexibility, such that a Republican president as late as 2024 would still find them relevant, but not so much as to amount to a blank check. 

I would leave the debate about such proposals to the Republican meeting, which should include all Republicans sitting in or elected to Congress, all Republican governors, and perhaps the chairman and other high officers of the party also. My suggestion would be to make the options as similar in broad nature to the promised Obama executive order as possible — i.e., they would be orders that mainly work via purported prosecutorial discretion, and that similarly effect so many millions of persons or have an equivalent fiscal effect. If a couple of these options could be drafted with respect to immigration policy, and if in a “restrictionist” spirit, all the better. I would, however, strongly advise against promises to punish those who have benefited from Obama’s order — we shouldn’t make the legal status of millions a back-and-forth political football.  

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Simplicity, ladies and gentlemen. You allow your president to blatantly violate the Constitution for X amount of policy/political gain, we will allow one of ours to do the same in the future.  We will do so regardless of what might happen in the courts, or with any shut-down or impeachment threat.

It’s the people’s Constitution. Republican representatives, show the people with actions they don’t need legal or budget-rules expertise to understand, that you stand up for it.

Tags: amnesty , Impeachment , retaliation , Constitution , spine

For Simplicity’s Sake, Pledge to Impeach



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In my most recent post (scroll below) I indicated why the using the power of the purse to respond to Obama doing the Big Amnesty executive order would likely be inadequate and confusing.

Back on August first, when Obama began floating his patently unconstitutional, utterly anti-democratic, and deeply polarizing plan, I wrote a piece here called “The Case for Formally Threatening Obama with Impeachment Right Now.”  If you’re going to object to this post in the comments, you may want to read that first, as it provides the full, objection-anticipating, case.  There I laid out the language a formal pledge would employ, in promising to impeach Obama if he does the Big Amnesty order.  There I also provided links to previous impeachment-blogging I had done (on the First Things channel) last December, one of which showed that there is no textual barrier, either in the Constitution or in The Federalist Papers, to impeaching Obama. 

What I envision now would be the Republicans calling for a party meeting and caucus of all Republican House members and all such Representatives-elect, for a one-day debate about, and public vote concerning, such a pledge.  ASAP.

The rationale would be this:  a) if Obama thought he would go down as only one of three presidents to be impeached (we’ll never have the votes in the Senate to convict) that might deter him from doing it, and b) if he goes ahead and does it, it will go down in the record books that the House, and perhaps 55% of the Senate, officially judged it unconstitutional. 

I am not saying this would be the only tool to employ.  The GOP could pursue legal angles, could make Big Amnesty part of a bundle of issues that provokes a money cut-off, and could organize mass protests.  We must want our “Sheriff” to show up to this constitutional crisis not just fingering a single billy-club, but also have a couple guns and plenty of ammo visible on his person.

Nor am I saying that the threatened Big Amnesty is the only aspect of presidential behavior unacceptable, illegal, debatably unconstitutional, and patently unconstitutional that Congress will need to act against.  Several scandals remain to be investigated, for one.  What a pledge would do is to highlight for the public how particularly heinous, constitution-wise, the Big Amnesty plan is.  It would single it out from other violations and disputes, and push the public to consider its opinion on the matter. 

Were a caucus-meeting gathered, obviously we would get polls about how the public feels.  If the immediate opposition to the idea in those polls was overwhelming, the delegates to the meeting could vote the pledge down.  Similarly, if over the period of time between the pledge and the initiation—assuming Obama goes ahead—of actual impeachment proceedings, the public voiced overwhelming opposition, that could be grounds for any representative voting against impeachment.  The pledge would only be to initiate the official process, not to vote one way or the other. 

To keep saying that the public isn’t ready, so don’t propose impeachment, is to never try to ready them.  I said as loudly as I could that it would be wrong for the GOP to pretend to disavow all recourse to it prior to the elections.  I was roundly ignored.  Charles Krauthammer and others announced that any talk of impeachment was insane.  Well, now the elections are won.  So it’s time for Republican representatives to talk honestly about the fact that probably majorities of those who voted for them want impeachment talk, although sure, doing so now is a bit more awkward than it needed to be.

But it is going to keep getting more awkward the longer it is put off.  If Obama gets away with Big Amnesty, with only drawn-out and confusing responses via budget process and legal challenges as the price, he will surely keep issuing unconstitutional orders.  When, oh sage Republican strategists, will it finally become acceptable to threaten impeachment?  If we stomach the four or so obvious violations he has committed so far, mostly to tinker with Obamacare rules, and then Big Amnesty on top of that, will it be at three more?  Ten?  Twenty?  In the summer of 2015?  The winter?  During the heart of the 2016 campaign? 

Simplicity, ladies and gentlemen.  It is what is the most democratic, the most Constitution-following, and compared to all the complex talk of budget-process and close-door bargains, it is indeed a joy.  “This would be a vile sin against the Constitution, and here is the remedy the Constitution itself provides against such.  We pledge, if the president does Big Amnesty, to use that remedy.  If he does it, there will be impeachment proceedings.  Period.”

Say it, and let the people judge.

Tags: Big Amnesty , Constitution , Barack Obama , Impeachment

Ross Douthat and the Week of Obscene Silences



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Last week was one of the more dismaying ones in the history of our republic.  A president suggested that he was ready to take an action that would violate the separation of powers in a major way. In Ross Douthat’s words:

…the president is contemplating — indeed, all but promising — an extraordinary abuse  of office: the granting of temporary legal status, by executive fiat, to up to half the country’s population of illegal immigrants.

It even appeared plausible he was signaling this for the sake of provoking demands for impeachment  that he calculated would aide his party’s fortunes at the next election.

Did the president deny the rumors—likely planted by his minions—that he was considering this patently unconstitutional action?  He did not. 

Did he respond to the speculations of his wanting to provoke impeachment talk by denying them?  He did not. 

Were any reporters able or willing to aggressively ask our president about the origins of these rumors?  About how such an action could be constitutional? No again.

Did he seek to distance himself from claims that the GOP would impeach made by many in his party in fund-raising letters and speeches?  No.  Rather, the sudden adoption of that tact appears to have been coordinated, and we can rightly suspect that such coordination was approved by him.  Rather, he modeled for one and all how to characterize Republican concern and debate about how to combat his unconstitutional expansions of executive power–referring to the lawsuit resolution passed by the House, he delivered this:  stop hatin’ all the time! 

And the response of Americans, particularly those of the political class, to all of this?

Crickets.

Oh, there was talk alright, but among the Democratic leaders it was all along the lines of how to better drive home the hatin’ angle, and among Republican ones it was all along the dishonest-in-spirit, utterly unsustainable, but sure, technically true lines of “WE haven’t said the I-word!” 

A mere word, of eleven little letters that begins with an “I,” and every conservative strategist is shaking in fear of it, and every other Democratic partisan is suddenly brandishing it about like a talisman!  Available at a click are carefully thought-through and exquisitely constructed sentences from our Founders laying out what they intended, both for the separation of powers and for impeachment, but a president of these latter days utters some schoolyard Miley Cyrus phrase, and that’s it, everyone knows and accepts that there’s nothing more to see here. 

Well, thank God that Ross Douthat is not among those.  The man’s had many a great column, but this week he stands particularly tall, for being one of the few willing to warn that a very dangerous line is about to be crossed (although in the strict sense, it is not, as he said, a “Rubicon”-type line of no-return).  It is the line between confining the power to make and repeal legislation to one branch, and allowing it to be shared by two.  If there is anything sacred about our Constitution, then the mere suggestion given by a president that he might erase such a line is tantamount to a high priest uttering blasphemies before the whole congregation. 

Keep reading this post . . .

Tags: Impeachment , abdication of moderates , Ross Douthat , Barack Obama

The Case for Formally Threatening Obama with Impeachment Right Now



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In what follows, I will be making the case for the current Republican members of Congress, and all new Republican candidates running for House election to sign, ASAP, a pledge to this effect:

“We the undersigned promise the American People, that we will initiate impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama if he either a) commits three more violations, no matter how minor in practical effect, of the take-care clause and/or presentment clause of the Constitution, or if he b) commits one such violation that has the effect of providing amnesty to more than 100,000 illegal immigrants. 

This promise is totally independent from whatever occurs with the lawsuit.  Nor does it rule out or promise impeachment for other reasons, such as impeding investigations of current or future scandals.  This promise does not apply to just any independent executive actions, regardless of controversy about their being constitutional, but only to the kind indicated.  While this pledge could be used to judge how we actually vote on the final House decision on impeachment if such occurs, it does not pre-determine that vote:  each of us would certainly weigh all House debate and all input from our particular districts concerning that vote.”

A good brief argument against doing anything like this is found in Newt Gingrich’s remarks the other day

A solid case for undertaking some kind of future impeachment against Obama, once public opinion has been made ready for it, was made yesterday by Andrew McCarthy.  I am in broad agreement with Andrew, and particularly with his condemnation of the confusing lawsuit path, but note that the case I am making here would judge Andrew’s timetable as too slow and vague.  My case is that some commitment-to-impeach statement has to occur before the election, and some definite warning-shot has to be fired in response to Obama’s trial-balloon/threat this last weekend to unilaterally amnesty several millions. 

Keep reading this post . . .

Tags: Impeachment , Obama

Never Say Never to Impeachment



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Let’s assume most of the Republican House representatives heed the advice of Newt Gingrich, Charles Krauthammer, etc., and refuse to impeach Barack Obama. And even refuse to threaten to impeach him. Even if he actually does this rumored big amnesty order that Yuval Levin says “could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.”

The primary rationale behind the advice is that an impeachment threat gives Democrats a much better shot at holding on to the Senate. Let’s assume for the moment that that it is correct. (Indeed, it probably is.) So, the Republicans follow that advice and they hold the House, and gain the Senate by the likely narrow margin. 

What if on the Friday afternoon following the election, Obama does the big amnesty order?   

And assume that his minions stirred the rumors that a big amnesty order was imminent from August through election day, for the purpose of baiting impeachment. That would mean Republican candidates for the House would have constantly been asked variations of this simplistic question: “Do you support impeaching the President?” And we have to assume most of them, listening to the likes of Gingrich and Krauthammer, would have denied that they support it, some claiming this to be a false issue concocted by desperate Democrats

Each and every one of them, if they then sought to impeach Obama following a November amnesty order, would be wide open to the charge of lying to their constituents. The 2016 ads write themselves: “He promised us wouldn’t join his parties’ immigrant-hating extremists in impeaching Obama” — cut to close-ups of livid faces of shouting anti-Obama protestors — “so why should we listen to anything he promises us now?”

Try another scenario. What if Obama were to do the amnesty order well before the election, say, next week? The Republican candidates, also in this scenario listening to the advice of the political pros, refuse to take the bait, deny to one and all they will seek impeachment, and instead continue with the present plans to sue. Now let’s say that a week after the election Obama then does another extra-egregious violation of the Constitution, whether in the area of immigration or not. Assuming the House has remained in Republican hands, how will the representatives feel about not initiating impeachment proceedings then? Well, let’s say they don’t, and Obama commits another such violation in December. And another in January. And if they finally find the courage to impeach him then, how effectual will it feel? In every scenario, there is no possibility of Obama’s conviction in the Senate but only the consequence of going on record as one of only three presidents to be impeached. I think that is a serious consequence — but in this scenario the belated application of it to repeated offenses might well seem arbitrary to the public.  Moreover, the Republicans would still face the charge of lying to their constituents about opposing impeachment. 

These hypothetical scenarios, which merely assume Obama cares little about the Constitution and is game enough to raise the stakes whenever he calculates advantage, might suggest that the advice given by nearly the entire conservative establishment not to pursue a threat to impeach Obama now is less wise than it seems. I expect to explore that suggestion further in another post. 

But for now, one obvious takeaway. Republican representatives and candidates, do not let the media trap you into saying that you “are against impeachment.” For please notice, saying that implies that you will be against it regardless of what Obama does. Saying you are “against impeachment at the present time” is fine, but don’t promise your constituents that you will always be so. 

Tags: Impeachment

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