House Republicans yearn to impeach Obama

Even though they know impeachment would fail in the Senate, some House GOPers are still weighing their options

Published December 4, 2013 2:35PM (EST)

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa                            (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

You may not know this, but House Republicans don't like President Obama. Really, they don't! And as a new piece from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank shows, the antipathy on the far-right for the president has begun to slowly but surely turn into a growing chorus calling for impeachment.

A prime example can be found in Tuesday's House Committee on the Judiciary hearing, a spectacle of impeachment innuendo that laid bare Republicans' current desire to find a way to unseat the president. Iowa Republican Steve King ominously and obliquely referred to "the word that we don’t like to say in this committee, and I’m not about to utter here in this particular hearing.” Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, meanwhile, said, with evident disappointment, “We’ve also talked about the I-word, impeachment, which I don’t think would get past the Senate in the current climate."

As Milbank shows, however, Tuesday's hearing was hardly the only venue where Republicans — in the Senate as well as the House — have mulled aloud impeaching the president:

In recent days, Rep. Steve Stockman (Tex.), one of the more exotic members of the Republican caucus, has distributed proposed Articles of Impeachment to his colleagues. Last month, 20 House Republicans filed Articles of Impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder. Around that time, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) accused Obama of “impeachable offenses.”

Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.), before his cocaine arrest and guilty pleainvoked the prospect of impeaching Obama over gun policy. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) raised the specter of impeachment over Obama’s threat to bomb Syria without congressional approval. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) said it would be his “dream come true” to write the Articles of Impeachment, and Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.) said that if “the House had an impeachment vote it would probably impeach the president.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe said Obama could be impeached over the attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, while fellow Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said in August that Obama was “getting perilously close” to meeting the standard for impeachment (though he called Obama a “personal friend”). Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) thought it would have been an impeachable offense if Obama unilaterally raised the debt ceiling. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) branded Obama “lawless.”

On the House Judiciary panel, impeachment has been floated by GOP Reps. Jason Chaffetz (over Benghazi), Louie Gohmert and King (default on the debt), Darrell Issa (presidential patronage), Trent Franks (Defense of Marriage Act enforcement) and Lamar Smith (who said Obama’s record on immigration comes “awfully close” to violating the oath of office). Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) gets creativity points for proposing the impeachment of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

At this point, is there any doubt that the Dem-controlled Senate is the only thing standing in the way of President Obama's being impeached? Assuming there isn't, the 2014 election should be interesting and consequential, indeed.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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