Commentary: A modest proposal
Enough with all the phony impeachment talk. Onward to a real impeachment! In the absurdist capital we live in, it would be good for all sides — in ways you may not have considered.
President Barack Obama’s threat to bypass obstinate Republican lawmakers with executive actions — “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” — may have seemed a bit of a wimpy cop-out in January. But now he has a chance to turn it into a historic battle cry.
He gives a passionate address to the nation, channeling 2004 Obama, and asks, as the son of a foreigner who came to America to go to school, how our mosaic of immigrants soured into such a cruel place toward displaced children.
He defies the Republicans and shoots the moon on an executive order, giving backdoor amnesty to millions of undocumented Hispanic immigrants as well as all those suffering kids on the border who are afraid to live in their own violent countries.
The Republicans go absolutely nuts and realize that their lawsuit, the mini-me of impeachment, will not suffice. They hesitate to go as far as a Swiftian solution, selling the children to rich people as food. So they race back into session and try the president for the high crime and misdemeanor of abusing his power.
It gives the party, which is ripping itself apart trying to figure out what it stands for, a clear identity: You can count on Republicans to always impeach Democratic presidents in their second terms. GOP will become short for Gratuitously Ousting Presidents.
They won’t be able to win the White House ever again after alienating every Hispanic in the country, but they can bask in presidentus interruptus.
Republicans could finally take on Obama to a degree that would make their crazed base happy — or as happy as this begrudging, seething crowd and their mindless, malcontent queen, Sarah Palin, are capable of being.
Presidential candidates who support impeachment would thrive in the primaries because the rabid anti-Obama base would reward them. A recent CNN poll reported that 57 percent of Republicans support impeaching Obama — and that is before any bold executive action on immigration or preventing corporations from fleeing America to dodge taxes.
Democratic candidates, struggling in this election season, wouldn’t have to think of silly excuses not to appear on the trail with the president while Republican candidates jockey to get a blessing from Mitt Romney.
And if Democrats are having so much success raising millions by hyping a fake impeachment threat, think of what they could do with a real one.
The biggest beneficiary, of course, would be Obama.
If Congress makes him the first-ever president removed by impeachment, his popularity will soar from its current nadir, maybe even approaching Bill Clinton heights. It would validate the president’s whinging that he could never work with the Republicans and cement their reputation as world-class thwarters.
It would endear him to Democrats for years to come because he lost the highest office in the land going to bat for them. They would finally forgive Obama for running for president — twice — when he scorned politics.
Fed-up Americans would decide to actually go vote this year for Democrats and save them from the losses they seem headed for.
Best of all, Obama could take an extra-early slide out of the job he doesn’t seem to enjoy.
He and an ecstatic Michelle could move back to Chicago or up to New York, leaving the despised Washington in the dust. He could indulge in the speechifying, edifying and modulating that he loves so much.
As a master of narrative, the president knows that he lost control of his own. An impeachment would allow him to recast his story in a vivid new light.
Right now, his story is the boring — and bored — president who can’t get Congress to do anything and is just coasting into irrelevance. After taking big risks early in his presidency, with health care and the bin Laden raid, he seemed to sink into disgust at the gnarled system, slacking off and playing golf.
But if he got thrown out of office for taking an audacious risk, showing he was willing to fight for something and stand up to the nihilists, racists and tea party loonies, his narrative would leap into “High Noon” drama.
Oh, and there’s a final person it would be really good for — and he’s owed one.
Joe Biden would get to be president — the shot that Obama and his strategists have been reluctant to give the loyal vice president, preferring to boost former rival Hillary Clinton.
Unlike Obama, Biden enjoys schmoozing, jawboning, logrolling, arm-twisting and deal-making with lawmakers ’til the cows come home.
And, as we learned in the new Ronald Kessler book on the Secret Service, Biden likes to swim in the nude. So he’d certainly be a president who believes in transparency.