Impeach Obama?

This past weekend, I got an unsolicited telephone message with a Washington, D.C., area code and the identifier “Impeach Obama.” I didn’t answer it.  I don’t answer most unsolicited calls, especially political ones, but the “identifier” bothered me.  I’ve been involved with or close to national politics for more than forty years, and I’ve never seen this kind of extremism before, particularly the hate-mongering in the guise of “fundamental” values on the part of groups associated with the tea partiers or the Republican Party.  I certainly don’t expect people to be wildly pleased with the president if he wasn’t their choice in the first place, but there’s a difference between informed opposition, even uninformed opposition, and rabid unthinking hatred rationalized by simplistic [and factually incorrect] sound bites and prejudice.

There’s a great deal that Obama’s done with which I don’t agree, and a great deal that I think he should have done and didn’t, but I can’t think of a single major act he’s taken that isn’t similar to at least one of his predecessors, if not several.  He’s not the first president to spy on Americans in the United States; he’s certainly not the first one to attempt to address immigration issues and to try to give illegal immigrants legal status.  He hasn’t made the kind of radical changes in the position of the federal government that Franklin Roosevelt did.  His one “arms scandal” was minute compared to Reagan’s “Iran-contra” arms deals.  He isn’t the one who struck down the Defense of Marriage Act – the Supreme Court did that all on its own.  He’s been trying to close Guantanamo Bay for years, and the Congress won’t let him. He didn’t even try to repeal the Second Amendment (although the NRA would have all its members believe that); he just wanted background checks on gun purchasers and a few restrictions on certain weapons and the size of magazines. As for the Obamacare business… has anyone else even attempted to address the plight of 46 million Americans without health insurance?  If the Republicans, or others, had attempted anything that would actually have accomplished something, I might be a tad more sympathetic, but “NO!” isn’t a program or a solution to anything.

If we’re talking about political dysfunction, the most dysfunctional branch of government isn’t the Executive Branch, but the Congress.  It can’t agree with itself on anything.  But I don’t see any large political movements to throw out members of Congress, or telephone solicitations with “Impeach Congress” identifiers. 

Some state governments are almost as dysfunctional – and stupid – especially when they pass laws that attempt to override or nullify federal law.  Like it or not, the supremacy clause of the Constitution means that states cannot override federal law, and passing laws in contravention of federal law is generally counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer dollars.  Again… I don’t see any rabid reaction to such waste and stupidity there, either.

I’ve talked with more than a few of the types that support this kind of “impeachment” rhetoric, and they all come up with semi-rational reasons.  They just can’t explain why, if they feel this way, they haven’t applied the same standards to previous presidents… or, for that matter, to other politicians… except perhaps to Bill Clinton, also perceived as too liberal, who faced impeachment essentially for lying about sexual indiscretions, as if sexual indiscretion had much to do with public policy, unlike the lies of the Reagan administration about Iran-Contra arms deals, but somehow the right wing wasn’t concerned enough about those lies to push through impeachment proceedings.  They just indicted eleven lower-level officials, all of  whom either had their sentences vacated on appeal or were pardoned by the first Bush administration.

So why do apparently Republican offshoots and/or sympathizers organize clearly significant telephone solicitation campaigns to “Impeach Obama”?  I have the very uneasy feeling that it’s a political appeal based on a barely concealed form of racism, and that appeal is being made because they either (1) don’t have another even halfway reasonable set of constructive proposals with wide enough popular appeal to win the presidency, (2) can’t raise enough support for what they really believe in; or (3) just can’t stand the thought of a black president popular enough to be elected twice.

The idea of elections is that, if the majority of Americans want a change in government, they can vote for someone else.  Clearly, a majority doesn’t want that change, or at least they didn’t in the last Presidential election.  Yet whoever is behind the “Impeach Obama” campaign can’t seem to accept the results of the election.

Whatever the reason, it’s a chilling representation of a certain mindset.

10 thoughts on “Impeach Obama?”

  1. Therman says:

    For the most part, I completely agree with you. I’m a strong conservative but frankly, the positions many of the Republican leadership have taken over the past decade embarrass me, along with the apparant incompetence. Though I have some sympathy with some of the espoused positions, they are not positions that can or should be imposed.

    As far as I know, President Obama hasn’t done anything approaching the level of considering impeachment. Clinton probably did but only because he chose to lie under oath.

    I’m not happy with the direction our country is heading or with many of President Obama’s actions. His instruction not to enforce DOMA while it was still the law troubles me for instance, but he is our elected president and a part of the system we live under.

    I don’t remember this level of partisanship or extremism, by either party, from my younger days. Maybe its rose colored glasses but I think our society was more restrained, more concerned with the consequences of our words, and more interested in maintaining a civil discourse that, with the advent of mass media and the search for ever more shocking images, has become something less than civil.

  2. Josh says:

    There is blatant hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle. The left tried to impeach Bush as well. I thought the whole impeachment business was stupid, a waste of time and money. And I think the same thing now even thought I didn’t vote for our current president either time.
    And disagree with the tea party all you want, but do you really think they are more extreme than the Occupy movement? How many assaults, rapes and even murder happened at tea party protests vs. the occupy protest?
    And the funny thing is I hear people defend the occupy movement just because they were against the bailouts of the financial sector. Guess who else was against the bailouts? The tea party. But I know people who hate the tea party and constantly refer to them as tea baggers who could not tell you one thing the tea party believes in.
    Hell, look at the exit polls from the last election. How many people voted for Obama or Romney and had no idea what either one of them stood for? Ignorance abounds on both sides.
    And gun control again. Sorry, the laws we have now aren’t enforced and we are supposed to pass more laws to help. Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought there was a line in one of your Ecolitan books where it talks about politicians passing laws just to do something, even if it wouldn’t help. ( And if I got that line completely wrong I apologize, it’s been a few years since I’ve read that series and they are at home where I can’t check them.) Same with health care. It seems the deal is there’s a crisis so lets just do something!
    To me, it seems that extremism is increasing on both sides.

  3. Bob Walters says:

    As usual the voice of a reasonable republican perhaps you should run for office (but not if it delays your next Imager book). I just read that Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond wants to eliminate public education in your state. What do you think about that?

    1. Most, if not all, of the Republican state legislators in Utah have resisted supporting public education financially, either in public primary and secondary schools or at the college level, all the time claiming that they’re for education. That essentially translates into “cheap” public education for a culture that pushes having lots of children [regardless of what they claim]. Osmond’s position is scarcely surprising.

  4. Jim S says:

    A few thoughts, probably kind of randomly organized here.

    First, there’s no grounds to impeach Mr. Obama. I may not like most of his policies; I may think that he has a habit of sticking his Presidential nose into things that he should leave alone (Cambridge, Zimmerman…) — but that doesn’t mean he has violated his oath of office or otherwise committed crimes in office.

    That leads to the second thing… People are ignorant because they aren’t given much opportunity not to be ignorant. Sound bite politics has become a recursive loop, with less and less actual information. Add in increasingly entrenched and hostile partisanship over the last several years, and a ceding more than usurping of power to the Executive Branch by the Legislative Branch… Well, I voted independent, mostly trying to bring more players to the table. (How many people realize that there were 4 candidates on the last presidential ballot that had a theoretical chance to win the electoral college — but were blocked from the press, from the debates, and generally from visible participation?) I don’t intend to vote for an incumbent Congressmember until they actually start passing a budget.

    We have candidates for office that sound like grade school class president candidates, because they keep offering things that they don’t have the authority or power to do, especially in the Presidency. A lot of people quite honestly don’t even know the three branches of the government, or about the checks and balances that were placed into the Constitution. Shoot — I suspect a frightening number don’t even know what the Constitution is. I know, from direct, professional experience, that most don’t know what the 4th Amendment actually covers…

  5. AndrewV says:

    I agree with Josh and shame on you, Mr. Modesitt, for falling for the ‘If you don’t like Obama you are racist’ silliness. You have too much experience, and are far too intelligent, to get caught up in that nonsense.

    The President is the target because it is easier to bring a campaign against one person than a thousand different people in different parts of the country. People want things boiled down to a single target for their anger. They want to believe if this one person is removed and replaced by someone better, things will get easier.

    How many liberal politicians, journalists, and activists called for President Bush’s impeachment? They did so for the same reasons people now call for President Obama’s. The amount of vitrol spewed against President Obama is no more than was spewed against his predicesor. It has zero to do with racism and everything to do with a huge partisam divide that, unless I am mistaken, our current President promised to heal when he was running the first time.

    Go read “The Price of Politics” by Bob Woodward. Our President was inept in the beginning and made a major concern worse. I didn’t vote for him and am not thrilled with the job he’s doing (and agree he’s not impeachable because he hasn’t committed a crime), but that doesn’t make me a racist. I don’t hate the man, I just want him to do a better job.

    And honestly, I think you would agree I have every right to demand more out of my elected officials. We all should, at every single level.

  6. I’m not falling for the line, “If you don’t like Obama, you’re a racist.” I am saying that there are racists, still, and a great many of them are using Obama’s weakness as a cover for their demands for impeachment, which are in fact based on racism. The very fact you declare he can’t be impeached, much as you dislike what he has done, indicates the difference.

  7. nick vance says:

    The reason no one put forward for Reagan to be impeached probably had something to do with the fact that he is considered the most popular president of the present era and that he had like an average of a 80%+ approval rating, and if they had tried to impeach him there probably have been riots. There have been far right and or far left groups trying to impeach almost every president for the past 80 years if not longer lets all just try to get along and ignore the extremist people as best as possible.

  8. Adam says:

    Personally, I’ve grown very weary of politics. Back in the 90s, I got caught up with all the anti-Clinton rhetoric. I thought that Bill Clinton was corrupt, through and through. But, after all the dog and pony shows, it all boiled down to lying about an extramarital affair. We already knew Clinton had a morals problem and we (“we” being America) voted him in. Twice. Then George W. Bush got in and the liberals had a field day. It was another eight years of nastiness. But this time it was liberals doing it. Then Obama got in. And now the conservatives are the ones all shrill and angry. Enough, already. We need to relearn how to be Americans. Ditch the extremists and the haters. Work together for the common good. Sounds horribly idealistic, I know, but this has got to change.

  9. Steve says:

    As a person who did not vote for Obama,I think that Obama’s problems stem from his beliefs. I question whether Obama should be impeached based on Bengazi, but there is not any proof yet of a crime to be impeached, bad judgement, yes. However people are upset at congress and the President for their actions. The actions of our government has shown wasteful spending, a disregard for it’s citizens it administrates, and the idea that we the people are too stupid to run our own lives. Perhaps we are, after all we did elect them. However I believe this is what happens when the government gets too big and has more administrators to dictate other people’s life. I do believe that you have addressed concerns such as this in your books. We, the people, want freedom from the government we put in place to protect us from evils but not to dictate every aspect of our lives to us. While this is an easy concept to understand it is very difficult to carry out in the long term. The people soon think the government needs to spell out all the protection it can do and state the varying consequences for such actions. This results in more administration, more corruption, and more people actually getting hurt by one law or another. In the long run the citizens will either vote for responsible people to fix the government or the government will slowly kill itself, which I believe is happening right now.
    Having been rereading some of your earlier books it reminds of how much you have studied the problems and the realistic solution will eventually lead to the demise of the controlling government. Now I do not know when such an event will happen in the USA but I’ll wager we will see a new government or a fracture of the country this century.

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