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.