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The Week

by Kevin D. Williamson

We endorse the president’s annual pilgrimage to Martha’s Vineyard. When he starts groaning about inequality, it’s impossible to hear him over the yacht engines.

When the House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, it didn’t turn out much better than the impeachment of Andrew Johnson more than a century earlier. Experience has shown that impeachment and conviction require rock-hard majorities (in the Senate, a two-thirds supermajority), which did not exist in 1998–99 and could not exist now. Worse than futile, a push for impeachment would perversely provide a boost for the Democrats, who would rally around President Obama as a political martyr. Which is why Harry Reid, Jim Clyburn, G. K. Butterfield, Hank Johnson, Hakeem Jeffries, Marsha Fudge, Barbara Lee, Donald Payne Jr., Steven Horsford, and Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrats all, raised the prospect of impeachment as Congress headed home for August. (No Republican echoed them.) One more thing: Time treats impeachment talk differently, depending on whose it is. Even as Representative Jackson Lee spoke up last month, she said: “We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush” during the Iraq War. Yet in June 2008, she and eleven other Democrats sponsored a resolution to impeach him. Anyone would like to forget such reckless grandstanding, but only Democrats can.

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