In a normal political environment, it would be crazy and irresponsible to speculate about the possibility of Presidential impeachment. But in the current environment, it would be insouciant not to.
Potential debt default now looms as an even larger threat to the nation than the federal government shutdown. The Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives seem willing to force the country over this financial cliff. If they succeed, President Obama will have to choose between an international financial meltdown and a stretching of the bounds of historically permissible executive action.
Kevin Drum’s prediction is that Obama will opt for the latter:
But if the debt ceiling showdown lasts more than a couple of weeks, it’s likely that President Obama will simply order the Treasury to start auctioning bonds regardless. Maybe under the authority of the 14th Amendment, maybe under his authority as commander-in-chief. Maybe he’ll declare a state of emergency of some kind. Who knows? But eventually this is how things will work out, with Obama acting because he has to, and because he knows that courts will be loathe to intervene in a political dispute between the executive and legislative branches.
If Drum is correct and Obama takes this step, the counter move that seems most likely for the Tea Party Republicans is to impeach the President on the charge of violating the Constitution. Whether that charge holds any water legally or not, an impeachment by the House would be good for grassroots fundraising and for validating the Tea Party’s conviction that Obama is not a legitimate leader of the nation.
So, what would happen if our political system continued to unravel in this fashion? I think President Obama would be unharmed and might even come out ahead. Continue Reading…