That same truth-telling applies today to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) surreal response to the impeachment hysteria gripping Washington these days. He insists Democrats are giving him hell, when all they’re doing is telling the truth.
The speaker claims Republicans had nothing to do with raising the threat of impeachment, claiming it is all part of a Democratic plot to raise money. “We have no plans to impeach the president,” he told a news conference. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House. Why? Because they’re trying to rally their people to give money and show up in this year’s election.”
Now, Boehner’s right about one thing. Democrats have been very successful in raising money over the threat Republicans could pursue impeachment of President Obama. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reports raising $2.1 million in online, anti-impeachment donations over the July 25 weekend alone. Another $500,000 was raised within 24 hours of Sarah Palin’s July 8 call for Obama’s impeachment.
But Boehner’s dead wrong in asserting that all this impeachment talk was hatched at the White House. He’s referring to comments made at a recent Christian Science Monitor breakfast by senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer. In response to Sarah Palin’s impeachment blast, Pfeiffer simply told reporters: “We take it very seriously, and I don’t think it would be a good thing.”
That’s hardly inflammatory. And that’s not where it all started. Leading Republican politicians and right-wing talk show hosts have been pushing for Obama’s impeachment since the beginning of his term. Here’s the first, conservative talk show host Michael Savage, on February 4, 2009, just two weeks and a day after Obama had taken the oath of office: “Impeach Obama now. Stop him before he kills this country. That’s my opinion. Get out the bumper stickers, put ‘em on your cars, and get the liberals riled up.”
No, John Boehner, it didn’t start in the White House. And there’s been a steady stream of demands to impeach Obama ever since Savage. We know that Savage was joined in 2009 by Republican strategist Floyd Brown, architect of the notorious “Willie Horton” ads against Michael Dukakis. In 2010, WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah jumped on the impeachment bandwagon, and continues to be one of its leaders. By 2011, several Republican members of Congress had publicly proposed impeaching President Obama, including Ted Yoho of Florida, Michael Burgess of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who said Obama should be impeached merely to “get him out of the way.”
Impeachment crazies took a year off in 2012, perhaps hoping the election of Mitt Romney would solve their problem. But in 2013, they re-booted their campaign, led by Glenn Beck, who wanted to impeach Obama over Benghazi; Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who called Obama’s failure to pay off the national debt “an impeachable offense;” and Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), who told constituents that impeaching Obama “would be a dream come true.”
Convinced shouting “Impeach Obama!” is the key to firing up their base for the mid-term elections of 2014, Republicans are now doubling down. To voices demanding Obama’s impeachment, for everything from the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to problems at the border, add Republican Congressmen Steve Stockman, Lou Barletta, Jack Kingston, Steve King, Bill Flores, Paul Broun, Randy Weber, and others. Add also Sen. Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, James Inhofe, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham. And Sarah Palin.
Most notably, Boehner’s number three man, newly-elected Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), appearing on Fox News Sunday July 27, refused, despite repeated requests by host Chris Wallace, to say that impeachment was off the table. And John Boehner still wants us to believe that Democrats started all the impeachment talk? Nonsense. That dog don’t hunt.
Of course, if John Boehner really wants Democrats to stop raising so much money over the impeachment issue, there’s only one answer: Tell Republicans to stop talking about it. Then donations to Democrats would dry up. Unless House Republicans vote, instead, to sue Obama. Oh wait, they already did!
Bill Press is host of a nationally-syndicated radio show.