Impeachment by Half-Measures

A more generous man than me may, at some point, feel some sympathy for Speaker John Boehner. He’s a man who has ascended to a rather great height from very low beginnings, but can’t seem to do anything right.

His tenure as speaker after the Tea Party revolt of 2010 has been nothing but a comedy of errors. From shutting down the government to quixotically seeking to overturn Obamacare, his speakership has been a litany of failure.

And now he’s embarked on possibly his greatest failure of all: suing President Barack Obama for doing his job, where the Speaker has failed to do his.

Last night the House GOP voted to sue President Obama. The meat of the lawsuit: the President’s delay of the implementation of the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act. It’s Mr. Boehner’s contention that Pres. Obama overstepped his authority by delaying the mandate for a year.

Let that sink in for a moment. Mr. Boehner is suing Pres. Obama for not fully implementing part of a law which the Speaker and his fellow Republicans have voted over 50 times to repeal. The House GOP has finally slid into the realm of Dada, suing to “uphold” a law it loathes.

Mr. Boehner must have good lawyers who are telling him that he and his merry band have no standing to bring the suit. They won’t be able to show where they were harmed by Pres. Obama’s executive action. The ACA allows for delays in implementation if they serve the law’s purposes. And, of course, the first judge before whom this suit appears may well wonder why Mr. Boehner is suing Pres. Obama for failing to fully enact a law which Mr. Boehner has spent four years trying to undo.

But of course, this isn’t about suing Pres. Obama.

Mr. Boehner’s backbenchers are braying for blood. More importantly, so are the Tea Party shock troops who are his only hope of maintaining control of the House. Regardless of Mr. Boehner calling impeachment talk a Democratic “scam”, several of his caucus have been on record over the year opining that impeachment might be the only remedy to rein in King Barack the Lawless. The calls for impeachment grow much louder off of Capitol Hill, in the hustings where slackjawed neanderthals are at their wits’ end seeing the black President running rings around their leadership, getting much more done than a president saddled with a chamber of Congress controlled by the opposition should be able to do. For them, anything Pres. Obama does is by definition an impeachable offense, because by definition he shouldn’t be occupying the Oval Office.

However, Mr. Boehner is nothing if not cagey. He knows he has to somehow satisfy his rabid base. But much like Nancy Pelosi in 2007, he knows impeachment is a non-starter, serving only to kick the Democratic base into a frenzy mere months before midterm elections. But he has to give them something. Hence, this impeachment by half-measure, the first time one branch of government has sued another branch in the Republic’s history. Unable to defeat Pres. Obama in the course of normal politics, Mr. Boehner hopes that if nothing else going to the courts will give the president a black eye, or at least a bit of annoyance.

But, as with everything he does, it’s a failure. Democrats are treating the lawsuit as a full impeachment, and are generating excitement among the base and raking in massive campaign donations. And the Tea Party is still calling for Pres. Obama’s impeachment, not satisfied by the fig leaf of this lawsuit. Most major polling over the past two weeks shows Democrats with a lead of anywhere between 2 and 6 points on the generic ballot. And the Senate, though more precarious, is still within Democrats’ grasp to maintain control. Mr. Boehner, by his lawsuit, has handed Democrats the juiciest cut of red meat with which to mobilize its base. And Pres. Obama, ever the brilliant politician, will shrug off the gross insult of being sued for doing his job by a man who hasn’t worked in four years if it means that the herd of cats he leads will attack in the same direction come November.

So, Mr. Boehner energizes Democrats, and doesn’t mollify his base by this laughable lawsuit. The dictum in politics is if you’re going to do something, do it full tilt; a half measure ensures defeat. Fortunately, Mr. Boehner is too hemmed in by competing interests to do anything at full speed. He’s just looking for a delaying action until November.

John Boehner: the right man at the right time—for Democrats.

88 Responses to “Impeachment by Half-Measures”

  1. 6 Nerdy Wonka
    July 31, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    • July 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      All those GOP *leader* showboating and demanding that PBO go to the border, but they can’t demand that the House GOP vote on an immigration bill?!?!?!?!?

    • 8 jackiegrumbacher
      July 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Great tweet roundup, Nerdy. You perfectly capture the irony/farce that the R-led US House represents. President Obama is toying with them now and he will put out Executive Order after Executive Order because it drives than mad and it shakes Democrats out of their mid-term coma. Once again I say that the GOP has never understood our president and repeatedly makes the fatal mistake of underestimating him.

  2. 9 Betsy
    July 31, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Congrats on first BillR

  3. 12 Jeff
    July 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm


    Time to go for a walk. Nice and lovely day to think and contemplate about things. Perhaps do some meditation to empty my mind.

  4. July 31, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    “John Boehner: the right man at the right time—for Democrats.” So true, LL.

    However, he could do 1 thing that would actually help the GOP and millions of Americans ….

    #OWNthe114th … Boehner just made it easier to do so ….

  5. 15 Betsy
    July 31, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Brilliant piece LL. We Dems MUST vote these assholes out in Nov

  6. 16 Nerdy Wonka
    July 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    “At some point you have to feel some sympathy for Speaker John Boehner. He’s a man who has ascended to a rather great height from very low beginnings, but can’t seem to do anything right.”

    I disagree with this statement, LL. I have no sympathy for a man who campaigned for the job, chose the biggest gavel to compensate for his tiny penis, makes over $200K a year – at the taxpayers hands, has stocks in the millions of dollars, lives a cushy life and will continue to do so if/when he leaves Congress.

    I feel sympathy for the families I see everyday who are working hard yet still struggling to stay afloat – many of them minority families who had pretty much everything wiped out by the recession. I feel sympathy for students struggling with student loans. I feel sympathy for those who still can’t access healthcare due to Medicaid being blocked by GOP governors. I feel sympathy for undocumented immigrants who have provided so much for this country yet are treated like scum. I feel sympathy for people who aren’t begging for so called “hand-outs” but are begging for their congress members to do something that relieves their burden as they were sent to do. I feel sympathy for a President who is using his blood, sweat, and tears to help millions and millions and is being treated like a usurper or pariah.

    That’s who I feel sympathy for. Not a privileged man who has the world at his fingertips yet chooses to damn everyone else to a life of poverty and pain.

  7. 24 japa21
    July 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    John Boehner, poster child for the Peter Prinicple. Of course, that applies to every Republican in Congress and in the judicial branch.

  8. 28 amk for obama
    July 31, 2014 at 2:36 pm

  9. 30 amk for obama
    July 31, 2014 at 2:37 pm

  10. July 31, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I think I can say this without jinxing any longer: The missus has found a full time position!

    She’ll be taking care of a 4 year old cancer patient. The little girl isn’t dying—she’s going through therapy—but she needs constant care. And the missus is very excited about taking on this challenge. She met the girl and her mom yesterday, and now just has to go through the paperwork with the agency. Huzzah!

  11. 42 Linda
    July 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Sen Jeff Sessions also convinced the Alabama delegation in the House not to vote for the border bill.

    Boehner pulled it because he only whipped 215 votes and did not want to take a chance that Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer would instruct all of the Dem caucus to vote NO on it.

    The Republicans in the House are meeting at 3 PM in conference.


  12. 43 Linda
    July 31, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    c-span just said that there is about 50 members on the House floor arguing…..

    They cannot show it because they don’t have control of the cameras…the majority does and they have turned them off.

  13. July 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm

  14. July 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    The GOP is having an emergency meeting. They have been called back from the airport.
    Now what?

  15. July 31, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    The tragedy of errors which is John Boehner continues apace:

  16. July 31, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Also the Red Sox just traded the whole team.

  17. 52 Allison
    July 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    It’s not a huge island, but there’s always room for a lot of big names on Martha’s Vineyard.

    Two weeks from now, two of the very biggest names in Democratic politics — President Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton — are set to be there at the same time.

    Clinton, seen as her party’s top 2016 White House prospect, is scheduled to sign copies of Hard Choices at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven on Aug. 13 as part of her book tour, promoting the account of her time as the nation’s chief diplomat.


  18. 53 vcprezofan2
    July 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Ciao again indeed, Bill R! You wear il primo well.

  19. 54 Linda
    July 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    CNN just transferred the US coverage over to London…..

    What the heck is going on….they should be covering what is going on in Congress…….

  20. July 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    From what I can tell, some GOPers seem to be demanding an up or down vote on the Senate CIR bill. Of course, this won’t save them, as by their delaying tactics all these months they’ve already lost the goodwill of Latinos.

  21. 58 vcprezofan2
    July 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Good job, Lib_L! I must ask though, have you shared this – ‘The dictum in politics is if you’re going to do something, do it full tilt; a half measure ensures defeat’ – with Boehner? 😉

  22. July 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm

  23. July 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    What have I missed?! Why are Congress creatures rushing back from the airport?!

    • July 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      From what I gather, Sen. Sessions caused the AL and MS GOPers to withdraw support from Boehner’s border bill. Now some prominent GOPers seem to be calling for an up or down vote on Senate CIR. All very exciting.

      • July 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm

        For the sake of the Nation and so many, many Americans, as well as all those children stranded at the border, I hope Boehner takes the advice in the tweet, above, irrespective of whether it actually helps Republicans (though I doubt that they will repair the damage they’ve done themselves in the Latino community).

      • July 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm

        Good Lord, what the heck?!

  24. 71 Linda
    July 31, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Leaked Memo: Top Tea Party Group Says It Forced Mitch McConnell To Oppose the Stimulus

    FreedomWorks’ president writes that the GOP senator’s “uwillingness to lead” forced his group to “shut down every phone line in the Leader’s offices.”


    Matt Kibbee is the President of FreedomWorks and is frequently on Hardball and Real Time .

    • 72 jackiegrumbacher
      July 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      So, Linda, is this group working for Allyson Grimes because it just shows McConnell to be a spineless wimp that the tea party can lead around by the nose.

  25. July 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Welp. Ron Fournier has thrown in the towel.

  26. 81 EricFive
    July 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Great piece LL. This bogus lawsuit is a compromise designed to appease the Tea Party set who want impeachment, just as the gov’t shutdown was meant to appease the Tea Party set who wanted the U.S. to default on its debt. “Half-Measures” to appease an increasingly insane group, blinded by racial hatred and racial insecurity. The MSM/GOP echo chamber is no longer able to keep the nuts happy with the constant stream of anti-PBO propaganda (worst President ever, PBO would lose rematch with Mitt, PBO is incompetent). Reality keeps rearing its head and disrupting the GOP manufactured anti-PBO alternate reality. As I have watched the descent of the GOP into madness, I come away with the following impression: racism is a parasite of the brain that drives its host insane. The MSM has done its best to “normalize” this descent into insanity. Notice how the MSM never discusses the role race plays in the treatment PBO receives. It is always framed as somehow being PBO’s fault. Always boiling down to “PBO is too aloof” (translation: uppity) as the cause of the problem. When someone has the unmitigated gall to call PBO (by any measure one of the best Presidents this country has ever had) incompetent, you see how deep into the abyss these racists have fallen, how detached from reality they have become. The MSM/GOP seem to live in a fantasy world where the ACA is a dismal failure, Syria is still gassing its citizens and the U.S. economy is in shambles. This disconnect becomes more pronounced every day. America has the taint of racism in its bones, in its marrow. This is a racial freak out not seen since Reconstruction, with the levers of official power (legislative and judicial) used to undermine the nation’s forward march. It shows both how fragile the White racist psyche really is (and how shallow their “love of country” truly is). They view their world view (as well as their place in the world) as being under attack. The wiser and more competent PBO proves himself to be, the more they see the foundation of their very existence as crumbling under their feet. We are witnessing what happens when one race bases their identity on the inferiority of another race. What happens when being able to say “well at least I am not a n*gger” no longer provides the comfort it once did.

  27. 85 Heather
    July 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Well said. I wonder if any white preachers are taking the opportunity to use this as a teaching moment for their parishoners. The truth will set us all free. The irony that Boehner’s grandchildren will look like Obama! One would have hoped that Boehner would strive to create a world where his progeny can thrive without struggling against racism (or at least look back on Grandpa’s legacy with pride).

  28. 87 Dudette
    July 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I swear that man looks like The Grinch!

  29. July 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    The calls for impeachment grow much louder off of Capitol Hill, in the hustings where slackjawed neanderthals are at their wits’ end seeing the black President running rings around their leadership, getting much more done than a president saddled with a chamber of Congress controlled by the opposition should be able to do. For them, anything Pres. Obama does is by definition an impeachable offense, because by definition he shouldn’t be occupying the Oval Office.


    Great Piece…telling it like it is!

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