Of the many consequences of Bill Clinton’s tawdry two terms, arguably the worst was the denigration of Impeachment to a mere political tactic. If Bill ‘n Hill had come clean about their Whitewater fiasco there never would have been a Special Prosecutor. However, once one was appointed, it was just a matter of time before he unearthed something actionable. Revelations of the President’s sophomoric behavior, coupled with his disdain for the rule of law set in motion a chain of events which led inexorably to Impeachment.
That he survived the trial had more to do with the GOP’s failure of nerve than any merit the Arkansan brought to the process. In the end, he was, if not vindicated, certainly excused. Republicans were painted as small-minded and vindictive, and the Ship of State had sprung a handful more leaks. The only concrete result, given tremendous impetus with the 2006 elections, was a strong tit-for-tat impulse on the part of the reascendant Democrats to return the favor.
Fortunately for the body politic, there was nothing actionable in George W. Bush’s Presidency. It didn’t take long before even rabid impeachment advocates such as Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) discovered that slogans did not constitute a valid basis for bringing the process forward. “Bush Lied, People Died,” may have filled the Democrats’ campaign coffers, but they wouldn’t stand up in court.
So it was, following the denouement of Bush’s Presidency, that many hoped the scourge of impeachment would be laid to rest. Certainly your correspondent hoped this would be the case. It was my position vis-a-vis the Birther movement. I responded, “I don’t want to know,” whenever the subject was raised. If we had a responsible media, that question would have been addressed during the primaries, when reporters should have asked the tough questions, rather than exulting over the tingles running up their legs each time The One opened his mouth. Once he took office, it was too late. I definitely didn’t want to see him Impeached.
Over the course of his first term, Barack H. Obama (D-Chi.) fumbled the issues he didn’t bumble. He abdicated his duties on everything from foreign policy to the economy, gaining a glaring black eye through his mishandling of health care reform. He brought shame to his nation through his acts of obeisance to kings and princes, sheiks and ayatollahs. He dismantled the economy through a knee jerk embracing of ever-expanding government. He did little right, but one thing he didn’t do was deserve to beIimpeached.
Until now. It is painful to write these words, but they are true. Yesterday, with Virginia Commonwealth University’s upset victory over Kansas in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, Obama’s last claim to Presidential legitimacy was shattered. It is hard to believe, but as we approach the national rite known as The Final Four, the President has no picks left.
Few can recall the diligence with which he made his selections, as televised by ESPN, without feeling an upsurge of pride. While many Presidents in the past would have wasted valuable time and energy focusing on such extraneous matters as the upheaval in the Middle East, the Civil War in Libya, or even the steadily unfolding tragedy in Japan, Obama knew what was important. He kept his eyes on the prize, and picked the teams destined to play for the National Championship.
Timorous Americans rejoiced at his wisdom, they drew sustenance from his courage, they were inspired by his judgment.
Now, however, the American people have been cast adrift. Who, they wonder, will guide us now. Unmoored, many have begun to demandIimpeachment. While Constitutional scholars are divided over whether failing to pick even one entry in The Final Four constitutes a “high crime or misdemeanor,” a growing number argue that in fact, it does.
Andrew Johnson, a Professor at University of Michigan’s School of Law has stated, “It is a difficult issue, but the fact remains that no previous President has blundered quite so badly in his NCAA brackets. It isn’t pretty, but it is the law.”
Obama’s disastrous picks have badly damaged morale in the White House. One high ranking Administration official, who will remain nameless as he is not authorized to tell the truth, stated, “When he went around the world apologizing for America, we stayed with him. When Obamacare went up in flames, we were undeterred. When he punted on Deepwater Horizon, we were still on his side. Even when he looked like a deer in the headlights over Libya, we didn’t falter. We always knew, no matter how bad things looked, we had an ace up our sleeves. We still had the NCAA. We were serving the shrewdest Bracketologist of this or any other era. And now this.”
Overcome by emotion, the official broke off, before regaining his composure. “Look,” he said in a shaky voice. “He’s already lost his economic team. Rahm’s gone back to Chicago. Gates is leaving by the end of the year. And right now, all over the White House, people are cleaning out their desks and packing their bags.” He shook his head, angrily, and continued. “We all bought into his program. We all believed he was The One to turn things around. But now, not one team in The Final Four–are you freaking kidding me?”
It’s a pity it has come to this. So much potential, so much promise, so much hope, all wasted, all washed down the gutter on a flood of tears. Yes, sadly, tragically, it is time. Impeach Him.