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July 10, 2014

Thursday Inflammatory Debate Topic: Impeach Obama?

Let's face it: what could possibly go wrong?

Reason Three: President Obama is boring If the other two reasons aren't good enough for you, you at least have to agree this is a serious problem. But I have a plan to fix it.

Step one, get the Senate's entire Democratic majority to go on a one-way mission to colonize Mars.

Step two, Impeach!

Step three, remove and replace Obama with President Joe Biden.

Now, please: Wherever you are, take a moment. Say that out loud, right now: “President Joe Biden.”

See how the people around you are reacting? Am I right, or am I right?

In addition to being a lot more fun, Biden would also sign a law repealing Obamacare and undo all of the administration's policies that got people talking about impeachment in the first place.

One of the few redeeming things about the train wreck that is American politics is watching things come full circle every 4-8 years. Just like clockwork.

Seems like only yesterday Democrats were yammering on about impeaching The Chimperor in Chief: a man widely held to be so stupid and weak willed that he took his marching orders from the aptly-named Dick Cheney, but simultaneously (!) so fiendishly smart that he was able to convince the nation to elect him not once, but twice (handily defeating two vastly more intelligent and sophisticated opponents).

Of course, had John Conyers, et al, been able to remove The Twig from office, the presidency would have passed to the man they all suspected had been running things all along.

Darth Cheney.

So, does the prospect of President Biden fill you all with glee? We must confess, it doth not seem like #winning to the Editorial Staff. But we are notoriously stupid that way :p

What say you, villains?

Posted by Cassandra at July 10, 2014 08:16 AM

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Comments

I kind of like Joe Biden. He's a real human being, flaws and all.

Posted by: Grim at July 10, 2014 11:36 AM

get the Senate's entire Democratic majority to go on a one-way mission to colonize Mars.

Mars? Isn't Obama from there?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 10, 2014 11:45 AM

I think Biden is monumentally arrogant. I am still shocked that he would suggest partitioning Iraq despite what the people of Iraq voted for, as if they should shut up and be grateful there were grownups there to tell them what's best for them.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 12:05 PM

Mars? Isn't Obama from there?

ACK ACK ACK :)

Posted by: Mars Attacks!!! at July 10, 2014 12:05 PM

I don't know if being arrogant goes along with being a Senator, but the Iraqis appear to be busily partitioning Iraq themselves along roughly the lines he proposed. I also thought it was wrong to partition Iraq ourselves, at the time and against what the Iraqis thought they wanted; probably it wouldn't have avoided the civil war we're now seeing. Perhaps Maliki, had he been just in governing instead of corrupt and factional, might have made a unified Iraq work. Perhaps our continued presence, had a SOFA been negotiated, might have kept things stable and encouraged just treatment of the ethnic and religious minorities.

So: no, I don't think Biden was right. But he's not quite as wrong, in hindsight, as he seemed to be.

Posted by: Grim at July 10, 2014 12:47 PM

...the Iraqis appear to be busily partitioning Iraq themselves along roughly the lines he proposed.

Are the citizens of Iraq doing that voluntarily? I'm not sure they are.

I also thought it was wrong to partition Iraq ourselves, at the time and against what the Iraqis thought they wanted; probably it wouldn't have avoided the civil war we're now seeing. Perhaps Maliki, had he been just in governing instead of corrupt and factional, might have made a unified Iraq work. Perhaps our continued presence, had a SOFA been negotiated, might have kept things stable and encouraged just treatment of the ethnic and religious minorities.

I think that's quite possible, but not certain.

I still think Biden was wrong - we aren't a colonial power and had no right to dictate terms to the Iraqis or subvert their attempt to find their own way.

You make a good point - it's fine if the Iraqis decide to partition. What bothered me was Biden presuming we should decide for them.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 12:56 PM

"Voluntarily" meaning peacefully? Well, the Kurdish region is: the IA melted away, so peshmerga units took control of the Kurdish regions, and they're apparently planning to hold a referendum on full independence. I'm pulling them.

The Sunni regions aren't doing anything peacefully right now, but the ISIS wouldn't be able to hold the territory in defiance of the tribes. One thing we learned during the Awakening was that al Qaeda-style groups (including what was then called the Islamic State of Iraq) couldn't stand up against the tribes when they made up their minds to repel them. The ISIS has weapons and ruthlessness, but the tribes have intelligence -- in the sense of knowing everyone, being intimately familiar with the terrain, and understanding the social dynamics. They also have relationships of blood and honor to rely upon.

The elected VP of Iraq, al-Hashimi, was run out of the country by Maliki's faction and took up residence in Turkey. He's basically calling on America to stay out of it, and let the Sunnis deal with ISIS once they're assured of independence. I think we should back the Kurdish play, and then reach out to any of our old Awakening allies who want clandestine support to subvert and claim leadership over the state ISIS is trying to build. Assuming, of course, that any of our allies trusts us enough to work with us again after we walked out on our promises to them the last time.

Posted by: Grim at July 10, 2014 01:12 PM

we aren't a colonial power and had no right to dictate terms to the Iraqis or subvert their attempt to find their own way.

Yes but. Once we invaded Iraq we were an occupying power. I think one of the mistakes we made was wanting to have it both ways, being an invading/occupying force that tried not to look like one. Early on in the Iraqi occupation, I remember hearing the news that there had been a protest march (in some Iraqi city, Baghdad, I think) opposing the American presence in Iraq. My thought then was, "What part of military defeat and occupation do the Iraqis not understand?"

I don't think being an occupying force is equivalent to being a colonial power. We were an occupying force in Japan, Germany, Italy for a long time after WW2. We were clearly in charge in those countries because - to quote our President - we won.

It seems to me that being neither fish nor fowl - occupying but not really - makes a bigger mess than just clearly laying down the law. I'm not saying this necessarily means we should have forced partition on the Iraqis but pretending that Saddam Hussein was the only thing standing between the Iraqis and a vibrant, healthy democracy and that therefore the Iraqis would easily find there way once Hussein was gone wasn't very realistic. I think this goes back to the question of whether democracy can flourish unaided (or unguided) when there are no institutions to support and channel it.

Posted by: Elise at July 10, 2014 02:58 PM

And on the question of impeaching Obama, why? Just ignore him except for the necessary lawsuits challenging him when he oversteps his authority. If the Republicans hold the House and win the Senate in the Fall they should be able to pass legislation forbidding him to do much of what he tries to do via fiat. For example, I do not see how the EPA could issue regulations specifically forbidden by Congress.

Actually, I'd love for the Republicans to stop mentioning Obama at all. When asked about him, perhaps they could simply say that he has become irrelevant and let it go at that.

Posted by: Elise at July 10, 2014 03:02 PM

It seems to me that being neither fish nor fowl - occupying but not really - makes a bigger mess than just clearly laying down the law. I'm not saying this necessarily means we should have forced partition on the Iraqis but pretending that Saddam Hussein was the only thing standing between the Iraqis and a vibrant, healthy democracy and that therefore the Iraqis would easily find there way once Hussein was gone wasn't very realistic. I think this goes back to the question of whether democracy can flourish unaided (or unguided) when there are no institutions to support and channel it.

Amen, Elise. I could not agree more.

You can't see me (thank God!) but I'm standing up and cheering madly :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 03:07 PM

Actually, I'd love for the Republicans to stop mentioning Obama at all. When asked about him, perhaps they could simply say that he has become irrelevant and let it go at that.

OK, I'm feeling downright sycophantic now, but this made my day.

I'm loving the fact that SCOTUS has publicly smacked the administration down so many times in a row and even progressives are starting to complain about him abusing his power.

This is what I hoped would happen (and what I thought would happen) when he was elected. It's an object lesson, and those are the best kind.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 03:10 PM

I think Biden is fundamentally dishonest (I've never forgotten the plagiarism scandal that was supposed to end his career decades ago), and a bit of a dope, but I can't believe he'd be worse than Obama. I also think every elected official should live in fear of impeachment if he gets out of line.

Nevertheless, there's simply no point in talking about impeachment. It will never come to anything except a campaign issue to be used against those mean, out-of-touch Rethuglicans. Under our present system, only one party is subject to impeachment.

But, hey, did you notice Ray Nagin got put away for ten years? I know it wasn't strictly speaking for making a hash of the Katrina response, which of course was All Bush's Fault, but at least there's some recognition that the local New Orleans authorities were not only incompetent but on the take.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 10, 2014 05:21 PM

I like to remind people of this story every chance I get. It just.never.gets.old:

If ever there was a crash that tugged at the heart of the entire state, it was the one that took the lives of Joe Biden’s wife and baby daughter and hospitalized his two toddler sons 35 years ago, just weeks after his precocious election to the U.S. Senate.

It was an unbearable turn of events, from one of the most daring political breakthroughs in Delaware political history to unspeakable grief, and there is no reason to make the accident appear worse than it was.

While campaigning in Iowa for the Democratic presidential nomination, however, Biden did.

“Let me tell you a little story,” he was quoted as saying last Friday in the New York Times.

“I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on December 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly – and I never pursued it – drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”

Except there was no drinking. There was not even speeding. The truck’s brakes checked out, as well. It was not the driver’s fault.

Link: http://www.delawaregrapevine.com/12-07bidencrash.asp

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 05:38 PM

I think it would be kind of fun to have Uncle Joe in the Oval Office. Just think, he could look in the mirror and say "that's above your pay grade."

Posted by: Allen at July 10, 2014 06:33 PM

I will say that I wonder what excuse the Dems would use if Onion Joe were Prez. They wouldn't be able to cry "RACISM!!!11!" approximately every 20 seconds.

But I'm guessing they'd spend the next 3 years fulminating over the implicit racism in impeaching a person of color. Because hey - no white president has ever been treated that way.

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 06:42 PM

As I have said before (including earlier today on fb), I sometimes wonder if Biden wasn't chosen as a hedge against impeachment.

That being said, is the fact that Obama is black the only reason he "can't" be impeached? Look at what has happened with his administration. Selective enforcement of the law. Rewriting the law to suit his political needs. Fast & Furious. Benghazi. Assasination of American citizens abroad with either trail in absentia followed by conviction and a death sentence or stripping of American citizenship (and the president bragging about picking the names off a kill list himself). The IRS targeting.

If Obama is unable to be impeached, no president would ever be able to he impeach ever again.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 10, 2014 07:02 PM

I don't think I agree, MLB.

The great danger of the Internet is that it's mostly like a funnel. I worried about this a lot when I started blogging in 2003 and I still worry about it today.

Looked at in the context of history (and I think this perspective is vital), has Obama done anything so bad that we could charge him with "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

For instance, what has he done that is clearly criminal (much less a "high crime")?

This is one of those areas where the Constitution is so incredibly vague as to be almost worthless. What in the holy hell does "high crimes and misdemeanors" even mean? Well, for one thing, I think at a minimum it means that you'd jolly well better be able to credibly accuse the man of doing something that is statutorily defined as "criminal".

Note what I'm *not* saying here. I'm not saying he can't be impeached. What I am saying is something I'd hope every American - regardless of political persuasion - would agree with: namely, that we aren't a country that brings charges against someone - anyone - without due process. So yes, absolutely, if there is credible evidence that would convince a grand jury (not a partisan one) that this man has committed crimes, impeach his ass.

Absent that evidence, as much as I detest this man, I won't jump on that bandwagon.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 07:29 PM

One more thought.

My reading of history has lead me to believe that impeachment is more political than legally correct.

There are a small number of presidents who were never impeached that possible could have been. And some who were successfully or unsuccessfully impeached, should not have been.

When I was a girl, I wrote two school reports on the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. They convinced me that impeachment is both necessary and dangerous. We shouldn't speak of it lightly - it's a big freaking deal. I don't think Johnson should ever have had charges brought against him. It was a blatantly partisan, political stunt.

Having watched all the idiocy during the Bush administration, I think we need to take great care to base our actions on the evidence and not on emotion. If anyone wants to make the legal case for impeachment, I will entertain it. But having argued many times that the Executive is due a lot of latitude (a theme in the Federalist papers), I would require evidence that included looking at how other presidents exercised their power before deciding whether this particular president had done so intolerably.

My personal opinion is that he's a freaking disaster. But it is my practice to put aside emotion and insist upon good evidence (and not just one-sided evidence). We are all - myself included - prone to bias that distorts our perception. And one of the great blessings of civilization is that it has established so many mechanisms to compensate for innate bias.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 10, 2014 07:39 PM

The assasination of an American citizen without due process, I think, rises to the level of "high crimes". Sure, this guy joined the Islamic terrorists. But he was an American citizen with a Constitutional right to due process before he was targeted for execution. And, as I mentioned, Obama has as much as bragged about picking which people we'll target with the drones...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 10, 2014 09:52 PM

...and he got a (recently released to the ACLU) memo full of legal advice telling him why it was legal to do that.

The linked article reads like a joke and I take it as such. Obviously you do need a nice simple "high crime or misdemeanor" for impeachment...like sitting down in the witness box and lying under oath. Political passions running high, it's easy to imagine that "having really bad policies that make me mad" translates into "committing a crime somehow." And since it's the only tool for removing a president you hate...it becomes the hammer that makes the world look like a nail.

Posted by: Joseph W. at July 10, 2014 10:07 PM

Perjury occurs when one breaks a lawfully sworn oath, too. Like the oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

The problem with impeachment isn't the absence of a crime, but the structure of the process. It was given the appearance of a judicial process, but it's a purely political one given that party loyalty is more important than honor to our political class. Thus, it is impossible to impeach and remove a sitting President without strongly controlling both houses of Congress. That will only occur in a case in which the public has turned so far against the President that he would be ineffective anyway.

That's not where we are, because the public itself is divided. Impeachment can't help fix that; it can only follow a political decision by the People.

Our institutions cannot avail us as long as we remain so divided on basic questions of what is right.

Posted by: Grim at July 10, 2014 10:50 PM

Biden as POTUS?
Heh. He makes Dan Quail look brilliant in hindsight.
He lays claim to a dubious honor, narrowly beating out the Senates most accomplished suitor of wealthy heiresses; by achieving the near impossible . . . Being wrong on *every* major foreign policy issue as a Senator.

Impeachment is a purely political act, as Grim notes.
BHO is for sure a wretched President, but absent some proof of ties to the IRS scandal, I'm guessing the best political solution is to win control of the Senate (then deny any SCOTUS nominees), then prevent a 'third term' by the next dim Dem.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at July 11, 2014 02:59 AM

If a smoking gun email from the desk of the President was found where he instructs Lois Lerner to target conservative groups... then you might find impeachment on the table. But even then, it'd be hard to get a conviction in the Senate (as insane as that premise is to believe). Short of that, it's not ever going to go through the Senate.

And all that aside, I fear a President Biden, not because I think he's some kind of political genius, but precisely because he IS a buffoon. The amount of damage that man could do as the POTUS is unimaginable. Foreign relations alone would suffer unimaginably. He's an idiot who thinks he's brilliant (and isn't afraid to tell you how much smarter he is than you), he's a hothead, he's a blowhard, and if you put him in the Oval Office, it would be disastrous.

Posted by: MikeD at July 11, 2014 08:36 AM

The amount of damage that man could do as the POTUS is unimaginable. Foreign relations alone would suffer unimaginably. He's an idiot who thinks he's brilliant (and isn't afraid to tell you how much smarter he is than you), he's a hothead, he's a blowhard, and if you put him in the Oval Office, it would be disastrous..

And how, exactly, is that different than the current occupant?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 11, 2014 09:07 AM

Impeachment will be a circus, which isn't in our best interests right now. AFTER the election, we can circus all we want, but BEFORE the election, it would just be a distraction which could cost us the election.

And impeaching is only the first step in the process, and is done wholly in the House. After the impeachment, the trial is conducted in the Senate. What the circus of impeachment would show to the public is the complete list of how Obama has continually avoided the laws as passed by Congress, which, believe it or not, most Obama supporters are not aware of. Including the fact that 13 Supreme Court decisions have gone against his administration by 9-0 votes.

Coming up with a Misdemeanor shouldn't be too hard, even without a smoking gun. Not for a circus, anyways.

Posted by: Rex at July 11, 2014 10:30 AM

What the circus of impeachment would show to the public is the complete list of how Obama has continually avoided the laws as passed by Congress, which, believe it or not, most Obama supporters are not aware of.

What the circus of impeachment of Clinton was supposed to show to the public was that the chief law enforcement officer committed purjury in a lawsuit to deny justice to a victim of sexual harrasment by her boss, which, believe it or not, most Clinton supporters were not aware of.

Turns out, most Clinton supporters, even to this day, think he was impeached for lying about an affair to the media.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 11, 2014 10:49 AM

Bingo. How many voters know that Clinton was actually convicted of contempt of court for intentionally providing false/misleading testimony in the Paula Jones case?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/contempt041399.htm

The real irony here is that it was liberals who pressed for the laws Clinton was accused of violating - laws that were designed to protect women from precisely the kind of behavior Clinton's supporters laugh off as trivial.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 11, 2014 11:01 AM

I'm sorry, but impeach his ass. The oath of the President says he will faithfully defend the laws of the land. This is the one thing he hasn't done time and time again starting with the Black Panther voter intimidation case in 08, then DOMA, the mulitple illegal changes and waivers to his signature law and now the real man-made disaster that is illegal aliens invading our country. These are laws on the books - one that he signed, boasted and bragged about - and he is duty and oath-bound to have his justice department pursue and defend with the same vigour as they do the other laws they do like.
These are the impeachable offenses.
And I don't give a crap what freakin' color he wants to claim he is today. Impeach his white ass if the black one is too politically *unpleasant*.
Good Lord, has it really come to this in this country? Where we won't even consider whether or not someone is a viable subject to the laws of the land based only on the color of their skin?
pheh

Posted by: DL Sly at July 11, 2014 12:41 PM

I agree he deserves it, but to what end?

We both know he'll never be convicted *and* the media will lie about Republican motives.

How is any of that *better*?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 11, 2014 02:14 PM

Obama can, and should, be impeached. However, the corrupt Democrats in the Senate would block conviction. Therefore, I believe the people themselves should take the initiative and remove Obama from office by following the process outlined in chapter 19 of John Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government.” I outline the reasons why Obama should be removed from office and Locke’s prescription for putting the old form of government, i.e., our constitutional republic, into new hands in a short book, which is available for free at www.chapter19.us/whatthen.pdf

Posted by: Groenhagen at July 11, 2014 02:18 PM

"High crimes and misdemeanors" is a legal term of art. "High" refers the alleged doer of the crime or misdemeanor; he (or she) is high, in a place of political power, and has used (or abused) that power to commit the crimes and misdemeanors. It is because of this abuse that they may be impeached, removed from that place of power. The crimes may be entirely ordinary if government power is used to aid in their commission. (Some crimes can only be committed by those in power; those are included, but it is not only those crimes that are part of high crimes and misdemeanors.)

The Empty Chair, in my mind, deserves impeachment for his playing with the IRS. His underlings abused their power for political ends. Probably other things, too.

I hope that Team R does NOT impeach him, does not even attempt to. Such an attempt would have the Social Justice Warriors and Team D blaming all of the coming woes on that attempt to impeach, rather than leaving it at Empty Chair's feet, where it belongs.

Posted by: htom at July 11, 2014 03:41 PM

I tend to agree with you, htom. Here's my reasoning:

1. The attempt will almost certainly not succeed. And, as we've seen both with the Clinton impeachment and with the post about not even a *trial* but a simple police ruling of "not founded", most people take anything short of conviction to mean the person was "found innocent".

That's not what it means at all, but perception matters. It makes very little sense to launch an expensive proceeding, fail to get the votes (and there's no f-ing way the Dem-controlled Senate will vote to convict) and end up with a ruling the majority of the public *think* means, "He didn't do anything wrong".

2. His race has nothing to do with it, period. If there were strong evidence of guilt on a convictable offense, I'd support it.

3. It's not even apparent to me that there's strong evidence of an impeachable offense. As you say, "high crimes and misdemeanors" is incredibly vague.

MLB stated the closest thing to such an offense earlier, and I'm not sure they'd get a conviction on that either.

Perjury isn't going to happen. Laws have strict definitions and from what I've seen, nothing he has done fits it. And you have to prove willful intent (mens rea).

Failure to faithfully execute the laws isn't a federal crime as far as I know. If I'm missing something, I'll be happy to read the statute but I'm pretty sure there is no such thing. And we don't get to make up laws and prosecute people for violating them.

The Executive branch has broad discretion on the exercise of executive and prosecutorial power. They can decline to prosecute, for instance. So although I agree that the Black Panther thing is bad, that won't fly.

As I said before, if someone wants to cite a statute Obama has violated, along with actual evidence (not suspicion, but hard evidence that he has violated that statute, then yes - impeach him.

Short of that, we're supposed to be a nation of laws, not men.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 11, 2014 04:15 PM

Late responding to this but:

OK, I'm feeling downright sycophantic now,

Nonsense! Just one great mind recognizing another. :+)

Posted by: Elise at July 11, 2014 05:12 PM

The post election prosecution that might actually matter would be various charges against Holder; most corrupt & politicized AG since RFK.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at July 12, 2014 02:19 AM

"As I said before, if someone wants to cite a statute Obama has violated, along with actual evidence (not suspicion, but hard evidence that he has violated that statute, then yes - impeach him."

My friend, you're demanding more than even a judge instructs a jury before going into deliberations.

via Powerline:

"As a general matter, evidence can be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is direct proof of a fact, such as testimony by a witness about what that witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence, that is, it is proof of one or more facts from which one can find another fact. Both direct and circumstantial evidence are entitled to consideration. Either can be used to prove any fact. The law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence.

The propositions above come straight out of federal jury instructions for use by federal judges in trials held before them. The jury instructions may even include an illustrative example: “[I]f you wake up in the morning and see that the sidewalk is wet, you may find from that fact that it rained during the night. However, other evidence, such as a turned-on garden hose, may provide an explanation for the water on the sidewalk. Therefore, before you decide that a fact has been proved by circumstantial evidence, you must consider all the evidence in the light of reason, experience, and common sense.”

Do I believe impeachment can happen right now?
No, the Reid-controlled Senate will never let such a things see the light of day.
After the mid-terms, though, there is a very distinct possiblity of a very different Senate majority. Then, hell yes!

Posted by: DL Sly at July 12, 2014 12:44 PM

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