by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonah Goldberg‘s latest column challenges the notion that Republicans are more interested than Democrats in talking about presidential impeachment.
Far more than Republicans, Democrats love talking about impeachment. Not just Pelosi and the DCCC, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest, Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer, and first lady Michelle Obama all chummed the waters with the I-word, igniting a frenzy among reporters who pretend that this is a real thing.
Ostensibly the hook for all of this is John Boehner’s decision to sue Obama for abusing presidential authority. Pfeiffer said Friday that the suit “opened the door to impeachment.” But pretty much everyone in Washington knows that the political motivation for the lawsuit is to close, not open, those doors.
The president constantly talks about the evils of cynicism as if denouncing the alleged dishonesty of others demonstrates his own honesty. In 2008, he said cynicism was his real opponent. Last week at an L.A. fundraiser, he returned to the theme, calling Republicans liars and bamboozlers.
The cynicism of Obama’s war on cynicism is breathtaking. He’s wasted so much of his presidency demonizing political opponents as deranged radicals who need to shut up and get in line. Even now he is thumping the podium about “economic patriotism,” as if loyalty to his views on taxation is the only proof of 100 percent Americanism.
Last fall, Obama did nearly everything he could to be thrown into the briar patch of a government shutdown in order to denounce the Republicans for shutting down the government. When it went into effect, the administration endeavored to make the shutdown as painful as possible — a replay of a similar scheme with the sequester — so he could arouse the public against his political foes.
Given Obama’s famously low regard for the Clinton presidency, it’s ironic that he keeps stealing from its playbook. Bill Clinton benefited from a government shutdown and impeachment and from the general perception that his enemies were worse than his sins. The difference is that while Clinton was hardly immune to the charge of cynicism, he wasn’t trying to shut down the government or get impeached for narrow political advantage.