Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee meets bare minimum standard for GOP governance

And that's all he needs

By Alex Halperin
Published August 26, 2013 12:47PM (EDT)
Mike Lee        (AP/Rick Bowmer)
Mike Lee (AP/Rick Bowmer)

This is the bar a Republican has to clear these days to appear like a mature statesman: Refrain from calling for the impeachment of a president who hasn't committed an impeachable offenses. The Salt lake Tribune reports that by this criteria Sen. Mike Lee R-Utah, excelled when he was speaking to some less-measured constituents recently:

Lee carefully explained that while he didn’t agree with the outcome of the 2012 election, Obama won. He said no matter how much conservatives disagree with his policies, it isn’t evident he has committed any "high crimes and misdemeanors" at this point.

The senator, who prides himself on being a constitutional scholar, also repeatedly told the crowd that any impeachment proceedings, no matter how unlikely at this point, would begin in the House. The Senate’s job is to sit in judgment of any articles of impeachment.

"We’re stuck with him," Lee said.

Fortunately for Lee, looking like the adult in the room doesn't force him to abandon his quest to defund Obamacare, a law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. He just has to appear more reasonable than Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who've both batted their eyes at impeachment recently.

Lee's approach to governance is like someone who buys the second cheapest wine on the menu. It may get the job done but only a fool thinks it makes him a connoisseur.

Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Government Impeachment Mike Lee Senate Tea Party Ted Cruz Tom Coburn U.s. Senate