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July 31, 2014

The Chimpeachment Follies

It's summertime, the air is balmy and full of talk about impeachment. Well, at least if you're a Democrat and you're fundraising (but we repeat our ownself):

21 Emails From the Democratic Party About Impeachment

...If all you were reading were Democratic email lists, though, you might imagine it was December 1998 all over again. The set of increasingly hysterical missives from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee presents an alternate political history of the last week.

It's no secret why Democrats are so eager to talk about impeachment. By their own admission, it's been a cash cow, drawing in millions of dollars in donations.

Or if you work in Congress or at MSNBC:

House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that Republicans have no plans to impeach President Obama, and that all the impeachment talk was driven by Democrats hoping to stir up their base.

Boehner’s statement isn’t literally true: There have been mentions of impeachment around the edges of the GOP and by some Republican members of Congress. But on the whole, Democrats are spending a lot more time talking about impeachment than Republicans.

Consider, for example, the Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words database, which tracks words spoken in the House and Senate. So far in July, there have been 10 mentions of the term “impeachment” in Congress and four others of the term “impeach.” Eleven of the 14 mentions have been made by Democratic rather than Republican members of Congress, however.

Impeachment chatter has also become common on cable news. On Fox News this month, Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, called for Obama’s impeachment, for instance. But for every mention of impeachment on Fox News in July, there have been five on liberal-leaning MSNBC.

Nate Silver, who calls the Dems "obsessed" with impeachment, tallied up impeachment mentions at MSNBC and Faux News during the same Jan-July timeframe in the Bush and Obama presidencies. We took the liberty of making a handy dandy visual aid for the assembled jackwagonry:

impeachment_mentions.png

Of course it's worth noting that during the Evil Bush Years when Fox was mentioning impeachment more than MSNBC, actual attempts to impeach George Bush were occurring (condensed from Wikepedia):

2005 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) filed a resolution to create an investigative committee to consider impeachment. His resolution gained 38 co-sponsors before it expired at the end of the 109th Congress.

2006 Rep. Keith Ellison brought a resolution to impeach Bush brought to the Minnesota State House of Representatives. Ellison was elected to the US House of Representatives in November 2006, where herepeatedly called for an investigation into a possible impeachment. In support of his candidacy, he “received a $1,000 contribution from ImpeachPAC.

Jan. 2006 At another unofficial hearing convened by Conyers, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) called for the committee to explore whether Bush should face impeachment, stemming from his decision to authorize domestic surveillance without court review.

On May 10, 2006, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated she was not interested in pursuing impeachment and had taken it "off the table", reiterating this phrase on November 8, 2006 after the election.[9][10] In July 2007, Pelosi stated that she "would probably advocate" impeaching Bush if she were not in the House nor Speaker of the House.[11]

On December 8, 2006 (the last day of the 109th Congress), then-Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) submitted a resolution, H. Res. 1106. The bill expired along with the 109th Congress.[12]

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich's major point in the Democratic Presidential Debate on October 30, 2007 was that Bush and Cheney should be impeached for the Iraq war.[14][15] On November 6, 2007, Kucinich introduced a resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney in the House of Representatives.[16]

November 2007, Joe Biden, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, stated that he would move to impeach if President Bush were to bomb Iran without first gaining congressional approval.

June 2008, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), introduced a resolution, H.Res. 1258, to impeach president George W. Bush, which included 35 counts in the articles of impeachment. At the end of the evening on June 10, Kucinich offered a motion to refer HRes 1258 to the House Judiciary Committee. On June 11, the House voted 251-166 to send the resolution to the Committee.[18]

On July 14, 2008, Kucinich introduced a new impeachment resolution (H.Res. 1345) limited to a single count.

At the state level:

On January 2, 2008, Betty Hall (D) ... introduced New Hampshire House Resolution 24 in the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.[..."petitioning Congress to commence impeachment procedures" against Bush and Cheney for "high crimes and misdemeanors", including domestic spying, illegal detentions, signing statements, electioneering, the breaking of international treaties, and war crimes.[24] The bill further asserted that "section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of Parliamentary Practice states that an impeachment may be set in motion by the United States House of Representatives by charges transmitted from the legislature of a state".

Inexplicably, despite actual attempts to impeach The Shrub, the good folks at Faux News did not feel the need to mention this over 900 times :p And now that the shoe is on the other foot, we are learning none of that nasty, disrespectful partisan grandstanding ever actually happened:

“We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority.”

— Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a co-sponsor of the House Resolution to impeach George Bush.

What is all the fuss about? Apparently, little more than mere mentions of the "I" word.

Incroyable.

Posted by Cassandra at July 31, 2014 08:46 AM

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Comments

I think you may have the years flipped on that chart.

By the way, why is Nate Silver's logo a... Fox?

Posted by: Grim at July 31, 2014 12:43 PM

Good Lord :p

Thanks Grim - good catch! Last minute tweaks are going to be the death of me. I know they're a bad idea but I still do them.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 31, 2014 01:42 PM

Just after reading your blog, Cassandra, I ran into this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/opinion/gail-collins-none-dare-call-it-impeachment.html?_r=0

My irony meter bent its needle and will need recalibration.

Posted by: Roy at July 31, 2014 10:36 PM

"Please impeach me, let me go . . . ."

Speaking of guys who can't get out the door fast enough, this morning brings news that Eric Cantor is leaving the House early in a snit.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 1, 2014 11:05 AM

Cass:

Don't feel bad. Today's WaPo has this wonderful line:

"Idaho went from 802 prisoners in 1978 to 7,985 in 2012, almost a 10 percent gain."

Almost!

Posted by: Grim at August 1, 2014 11:32 AM

Speaking of guys who can't get out the door fast enough, this morning brings news that Eric Cantor is leaving the House early in a snit.

http://lefthandbrewing.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/well-bye.jpg

Posted by: MikeD at August 1, 2014 12:46 PM

"Speaking of guys who can't get out the door fast enough, this morning brings news that Eric Cantor is leaving the House early in a snit."

Don't go away angry.
Just go away.
0>;~]

Posted by: DL Sly at August 1, 2014 12:55 PM

You can leave in a huff! If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff! If that's too soon, you can leave in a taxi!

Posted by: Texan99 at August 1, 2014 03:19 PM

Or, as my Pop would say, "Hurry thar. Tek yor tahme cumin' baack."

Posted by: DL Sly at August 1, 2014 06:31 PM

There was an interesting example of Bush impeachment obsession in my area in 2006. A Microsoftie with no real political experience, Eric Oemig, ran for state senate in the 45th district (suburbs east of Seattle, including part of Redmond). He promised to be a moderate, which would fit the district.

The very first thing Oemig did after being sworn in was introduce a resolution of impeachment in Washington's state senate -- which, of course, has no jurisdiction in this matter.

It is true that Oemig was defeated in 2010 by a good man (and another Microsoftie), Andy Hill, but it is also true that the vote was close, 51-49, even in that Republican year. (Which was not as Republican here as in some other parts of the country).

So I think it fair to say that Oemig's dishonesty and his stunt did not hurt him greatly with the electorate.

Posted by: Jim Miller at August 1, 2014 07:25 PM

"Idaho went from 802 prisoners in 1978 to 7,985 in 2012, almost a 10 percent gain."

Wow. And I felt bad about screwing up a last minute label change!

Jim, I remember a ton of impeachment resolutions during the Bush years. One of the funnier episodes involved John Conyers, who had an entire website devoted to impeaching Bush and a petition for people to sign.

We had a lot of fun adding fake signatures (and they allowed comments!). Almost as fun as the time the DNC had a contest to design the best anti-Rush Limbaugh billboard.

I'm no great fan of Rush, but I had a lot of fun sending them entries that didn't say what it looked like they said. That's why I still get emails from the DNC to this day :p

These people deserve to be mocked mercilessly.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 1, 2014 07:31 PM

Heh, Princess, despite your best efforts and obvious talent, you may never be able to mock them better than they mock themselves.

'Only I may truly prove myself a fool.'

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at August 3, 2014 11:20 PM

Speaking of going away, Gloria Estefan, Go Away -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g_0-leBhME

Posted by: htom at August 4, 2014 07:03 PM

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