John M. Becker

GOP Endgame: Impeaching Obama?

Filed By John M. Becker | October 08, 2013 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, constitutional crisis, debt ceiling, debt default, default, GOP shutdown, government shutdown, high crimes and misdemeanors, impeachment

time_up.jpgImagine with me for a moment.

It's 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 -- an hour before the United States goes over the debt ceiling and defaults on its debts for the first time in its 237-year history.

House Speaker John Boehner has refused to lower the Tea Party's gun from the nation's head, insisting for more than two weeks that Republicans be given the authority to rewrite and repeal legislation they don't like as a condition for allowing the government to function and paying America's bills. Unwilling to allow a small band of extremists to hold the nation hostage and govern by extortion -- and mindful of the disastrous precedent that negotiating with political terrorists would set for the future of our democracy -- President Barack Obama has likewise not budged.

The consequences of the looming default would be catastrophic: the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasury bonds -- the foundations of the global financial system -- would be ravaged, markets across the globe shaken, the U.S. and world economies would fall into a recession or perhaps even a depression, and millions of Americans might stop receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits.

In the eleventh hour, facing an impending worldwide financial collapse, President Obama makes the critical decision to act unilaterally and raise the debt ceiling on his own -- perhaps through an executive order, invoking emergency executive powers under the Constitution, or even by minting the trillion-dollar coin. After all, the U.S. Constitution states that "[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States... shall not be questioned."

But because the Constitution also explicitly grants Congress, rather than the executive, with the power of the purse, this hypothetical scenario triggers a constitutional crisis and hands Republicans the perfect opportunity to do what they've been jonesing to do since the day he was inaugurated: charge the President with high crimes and misdemeanors and remove him from office.

Sound far-fetched? Probably -- and I certainly hope I'm wrong. But it's definitely not out of the question; Republicans do have a nasty habit of trying to impeach two-term Democratic presidents.

impeach-obama-billboard.jpgThink about it: the GOP has been disgustingly successful in their efforts to obstruct President Obama and grind government to a halt rather than work with a man they viscerally despise. Yet when it comes to their ultimate goal -- taking Obama down completely -- they've failed miserably. Republicans failed to live up to Mitch McConnell's stated goal of making Obama a one-term president. So why wouldn't they go for impeachment? After all, it's been a right-wing wet dream for years.

What better way to do it than by forcing Obama -- and the nation -- into a Republican-created constitutional crisis, watching him pull the country back from the brink as any good executive would do, and then prosecuting him for it?

Cynical? Yes. But would I put it past these Republican thugs? Hell no.

UPDATE: Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks the above scenario might be plausible. That scares me.

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