Obama Doesn’t Deserve Impeachment

The national Republican Party enjoyed a terrific off-year election. The GOP grew its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to 250, a near record. More importantly, it won control of the U.S. Senate, beating Democrats in almost all the races to watch.

Thus, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, while he didn’t succeed in his goal of making Barack Obama a one-term president, may well see the president impeached. The articles of impeachment will come from the House to a Senate in which McConnell will lead the majority.

Or so thinks South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn.

“There will be some reason found to introduce an impeachment resolution,” Clyburn told MSNBC last week. “These Republicans have decided that this president must have an asterisk by his name after he leaves office, irrespective of whether or not he is convicted. It is their plan to introduce an impeachment resolution.”

Clyburn may well be right. Republican talk of impeaching Obama has grown increasingly louder since the tea party victories of 2010. Should Obama attempt to thwart their majorities with vetoes or executive actions, they might well vote articles of impeachment and schedule a Senate trial.

Conviction in the Senate would require a two-thirds vote of its members. That would be next to impossible to achieve. Worse, for the party of Abraham Lincoln to put an asterisk after the name of the first African-American to win the presidency would put an asterisk after the GOP in the history books.

Particularly given what Clyburn sees as the issue that would prompt Republicans to vote impeachment: immigration reform. “They know this is an issue that the president feels very strongly about. They believe the president is so committed … that he will … perform an executive order to get it done, and that will be the peg on which they will hang an impeachment resolution.”

The GOP has won the popular vote in a presidential election just once in the past quarter century. Impeaching Obama on immigration would alienate both black and Latino voters so completely that it might well destroy the Republicans as a presidential political party.

But these are merely the numerical calculations of America’s looming demographic future, a future in which blacks, Latinos and Asians will constitute the nation’s new electoral majority. It’s the horse-race stuff of election-night political analysis.

Or it’s Beltway Washington talk, the variety found in MSNBC’s Chuck Todd’s new book, Barack Obama: The Stranger in the White House. Todd dismisses Obama as “a president whose potential wasn’t realized.”

That’s hardly fair, particularly when it comes from a young television reporter known primarily for his ability to handicap elections rather than his understanding of policy.

Obama deserves better. When he came to office in 2009, the United States was at war, actually, at two wars. One, in Iraq, had been built on a monstrous, bloody neoconservative lie: that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed “weapons of mass destruction.”

Obama brought the troops home.

By the end of this year, he will have brought them home from Afghanistan as well, a war that had been allowed to simmer in blood while the neocons hunted fruitlessly for their WMDs in Iraq.

The peacemaker proved to be a healer as well. Obamacare added millions to the number of Americans with health insurance, and it ended the insurance industry’s practice of denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions.

And the much-reviled Obama stimulus brought the United States out of the Great Recession. At last check, the nation’s unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent, near full employment, and the stock market had reached record highs.

An impeachable record? Hardly.