With the House now firmly in Republican hands, some on the left have and are voicing concerns that the GOP will attempt to impeach President Barack Obama. While liberals, such as MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait, and various bloggers wring their hands over the sinister hypothetical, the Republican leadership is denying that they have even considered the possibility.
“Liberal commentators are simply making things up,” Republican leader John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel told The Daily Caller. “We have no plans to [impeach] the President. Our plan is to listen to the American people, who want us to stop the tax hikes, cut spending, repeal and replace ObamaCare, and help create jobs.”
Some have pointed to the future head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa’s plans to investigate the president as an impeachment indicator — something Issa has denied planning to do on Bloomberg’s “Political Capitol” in October.
“Not a chance at this point. I don’t see it happening,” Issa said regarding the possibility of impeachment. “Look, disagreeing with the president — the president using his authority, maybe even misusing it — that’s not what impeachment’s for. Do we have disagreements? Yes. Do we want to see that the president strictly adheres to process? Yes.”
Despite such assurances, on Election Night Schultz called on Republicans to reject any notion of impeachment — despite the fact that no leading Republican has voiced any such intentions.
“Four years ago, in the midst of an avalanche of criticism of the Bush administration, Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table,” Schultz sputtered. “I want to ask Mr. Boehner tonight, are you going to take impeachment off the table? Or are we going to go down this road of divide, are we going to go down this road of investigations?”
While some may wonder just what the GOP would go after Obama for, according to Chait, Republicans really don’t even need the president to commit an impeachable offence in order to act on their presumed desires.
“Wait, you say. What will they impeach him over?” Chait wrote. “You can always find something. Mini-scandals break out regularly in Washington.”
The Atlantic Wire earlier in the year highlighted four more left leaning journalists and bloggers speculating about the possibility of impeachment — including the blogger Big Tent Democrat.
“Put the GOP in the position of having to either alienate their base or the rest of the electorate. Dems should ask the question – does the GOP want to impeach Obama?” Big Tent Democrat wrote.
The director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, Larry Sabato, told TheDC that either way it is very doubtful the Republicans will seek impeachment, especially given the fact that no Republican of consequence has even hinted at doing so.
“I have never heard a whisper about impeachment from anyone with actual power and influence in the GOP congressional ranks,” Sabato said. “In a large caucus you always going to have one, or a few, going off-script on any subject. But to suggest that a sizeable number of Republican legislators, much less the leadership, would go down the impeachment route is ridiculous. For one thing, it would backfire badly, just as it did in 1998.”
Schultz did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.