In what may be his most artless dodge yet, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has asserted an obvious absurdity — that the talk of impeaching President Obama is a “scam” created by Democrats to raise money and create energy among their base going into the mid-term election. Reality, as we’ll see in a moment, does not favor him.
Boehner’s Boy Wonder, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), quickly backed up his leader, saying: “I see this sort of a ridiculous game by the president and his political team to try and change the narrative, raise money and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way.” Having amassed an impressive record of being wrong, Ryan was able to utter these words with a straight face and not a hint of a blush.
Although the Republican Party oath now seems to be “I’m not a scientist,” let’s tackle this issue as if we were scientists — let’s look at the available data. (Spoiler alert: Boehner and the Boy Wonder get buried by a mountain of 50 data proving them liars.)
As with most scientific discoveries, this one was predicted. In October 2010, the New Republic ran an article called “Scandal TBD” that employed the “if-then” hypothesis of formal logic and predicted if Republicans won control of the House, and Barack Obama were re-elected in 2012, then Republicans would try to impeach Obama and use any reason possible as pretext. The hypothesis has been powerfully affirmed by the data.
To be fair, let’s acknowledge that the New Republic writer had a least four data points already in hand when he formed his hypothesis: Just three months prior, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Times calling for Obama’s impeachment, and five months prior, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) asserted that the allegation that the White House had offered Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak a job to persuade Sestak to drop out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary election against Arlen Specter “is one that everyone from Arlen Spector to Dick Morris has said is in fact a crime, and could be impeachable.” (Let’s label those Data Points #1 and #2.) Dick Morris and Sean Hannity agreed that it was a “de facto bribe” and “an impeachable offense.” (Data Point s#3 and #4)
Just days after Obama won his second term, the Conservative Majority Fund launched a robocall campaign in support of impeaching the president. (Data Point #5.)
6. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told The Hill that Boehner’s lawsuit against Obama was merely “theater” and “a show,” and asked, “Why not impeach instead of wasting $1 million to $2 million of the taxpayers’ money?”
7. Jones later said he was prepared to attempt to impeach Obama if U.S. military action in Syria reached a certain point.
8. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said the House would immediately begin impeachment proceedings if Obama unilaterally granted work permits and amnesty to millions more undocumented immigrants.
9. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said the House should pass legislation with new steps to secure the border, and tell Obama if he didn’t implement it, they would impeach him.
10. In 2011, before Yoho was even elected, he offered six reasons to impeach Obama.
11. When a man told Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) that Obama should be impeached for no particular reason, Bachmann replied, “Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you, I agree, I agree.”
12. Bachmann shared some gossip of impeachment, telling a crowd at a rally that she’s asked every weekend: “Why aren’t you impeaching the president?”
14. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK.) said in an interview with “The Rusty Humphries Show” that impeachment over Benghazi — what he called the “greatest cover-up in American history.” — would soon become an issue.
15. Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) claimed the impeachment of Obama “needs to happen” to prevent Obama from “pushing his agenda.”
16. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said on Bill Bennett’s radio show that “impeachment is always a possibility” when discussing the Obama policy on immigration.
17. Rush Limbaugh agreed.
18. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said impeachment was “within the realm of possibilities” with regard to the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya,
19. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said at a town hall meeting that “you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president… and that’s called impeachment.” Then added, “I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ but I think you’re getting perilously close.”
20. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said Obama should be impeached due to issues with Obama’s birth certificate.
22. The Republican-controlled House Judiciary committee held a hearing that was formally titled “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” which was seen by many as an attempt to begin justifying impeachment proceedings.
23. The convention of the South Dakota Republican Party voted in a 196-176 resolution to call for the impeachment of Obama based on the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to free Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban.
24. Former Rep. Allen West (R-IL) agreed that the prisoner exchange was grounds for impeachment.
25. Sara Palin (R-AK) recently proclaimed: “It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.” She first expressed her views on Breitbart.com, then repeated herself on Fox News and Sean Hannity’s so-called news show “Hannity.”
26. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) threatened to impeach administration officials and possibly the president over the botched gun-running investigation, telling Attorney General Eric Holder: “If we don’t get to the bottom of this — and that requires your assistance on that — there is only one alternative that Congress has, and it is called impeachment.”
27. A Washington Times columnist called for impeaching Obama after the Boston Marathon bombing because, the writer asserted, Obama fails to realize that “we are in a clash of civilizations between radical Islam and the West.”
28. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) even said he planned to introduce articles of impeachment over proposed post-Sandy Hook gun regulations.
29. Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL), who said impeachment “should be on the table” and falsely claimed that Obama wants an executive order to “ban guns.”
30. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) charged that the president’s gun-control actions were “illegal” and grounds for impeachment.
31. Edwin Meese, former Reagan Attorney General and current Heritage Foundation official, claimed Obama may have “really tried to override the Constitution itself.” Congress, he said, would have to take action, “perhaps even to the point of impeachment.”
32. The head of Gun Owners for America urged Republican lawmakers to stop being “spectators while the country is being torn apart” and impeach Obama.
33. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), then in the House, said that if Obama invoked the 14th Amendment to circumvent the debt ceiling, it would be an “impeachable act.”
34. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) promised “Obama would be impeached” if the government defaulted.
35. Newt Gingrich (R-GA)suggested impeaching the president over his decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court
36. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) hinted at impeachment, too, for the same reason.
37. Republican advocate James Neighbors started the group Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment in 2013. The group stands on overpasses, holding signs “documenting” Obama’s impeachable offenses.
38. Glenn Beck, of course, called for impeaching Obama.
40. The conservative American Spectator published an article with the headline, “Of course He Should Be Impeached.”
41. National Review writer Andrew McCarthy’s book “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment” was published just last month.
42. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) told a local radio host, “He’s just absolutely ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the laws, and ignoring the checks and balances. The problem is, you know, what do you do? For those that say impeach him for breaking the laws or bypassing the laws. Could that pass in the House? It probably, it probably could. Is the majority the American people in favor of impeaching the president? I’m not sure.”
43. Jeanine Pirro, a former New York Republican star who tumbled out of politics and onto Fox News, was calling for the impeachment Obama over “a story no one wants to talk about.” (Benghazi.)
44. Iowa Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst said Obama had “become a dictator” who should be “removed from office” or face “impeachment.”
45. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) said: “Not a day goes by when people don’t talk to us about impeachment. I don’t know what rises to that level yet, but I know that there’s a mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to and I think Congress is going to start looking at it very seriously.”
46. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) said, “The president deserves to be impeached, plain and simple…. I don’t think it’s practical that we impeach him right now. But he definitely deserves it.”
47. Former state Sen. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) said he would back impeaching Obama.
48. Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) indicated that he would support impeaching Obama if the issue came up for a vote in Congress. In his fevered mind, it was a litmus test for conservatism.
49. North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Don Webb called for the impeachment of Obama in a campaign blog post, describing the president as “the bane of freedom-loving Americans.”
50. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-TX) called for the impeachment of Obama at a Tea Party rally.
(Some day, when we’re feeling charitable, let’s explain to the GOP how what they say does not immediately vaporize, never to be retrieved by people holding them accountable. Just not now — this is way too much fun.)