Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

May 22, 2013

House of Burgess: 5 arguments against impeachment

Some Republicans are licking their chops to prosecute President Obama.

— Having lost the most recent election to Barack Obama, certain foes of the president looking for another chance at regime change have decided 2016 is too far away.

“People may be starting to use the ‘I-word’ before too long,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said earlier this month on “The Rusty Humphries Show.”

The “I-word”? What, are we in grade school now? I’ll say it: Impeachment. It’s funny how these people talk about it like it’s not even they who want it done. If you listen to them, this is being foisted upon them by their constituents. They are but your humble servants! What pandering.

“Look, it’s not something I’m seeking,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Wolf Blitzer May 14 on CNN. “It’s not the endgame. It’s not what we’re playing for. I was simply asked: ‘Is that within the realm of possibilities?’ And I would say ‘yes.’ I’m not willing to take that off the table.”

These Republican lawmakers must secretly understand how futile this entire endeavor would actually be. But just to set the record straight, here are five reasons why impeaching the president would be a wholly ridiculous, time-wasting enterprise:

What if it doesn’t work?

Under Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives alone has the power to impeach by a simple majority. This arrangement currently favors Republicans as they currently hold a 31-seat majority in that chamber.

A coordinated effort by right-wing congressmen could bring Obama to trial. However, that hearing would take place in the Senate, where Republicans hold 45 of the 100 seats. A two-thirds majority — also known as a super-majority — is required to convict. Those are pretty long odds given the surely party-line nature of any such balloting.

What if it does work?

Lest you think me some party hack loyal to a person over an idea, I had this same argument with radical leftist friends of mine in college about George W. Bush. When the inevitable cry of impeaching Bush came around, I would immediately douse such talk.

Due to the presidential line of succession, if Bush would have been successfully removed, Dick Cheney would have become president. Would that taste like victory? Likewise, if Obama were to be ousted, then say hello to President Joe Biden.

Do unto others

As improbable as it might sound to some, there will, most likely, come a day when the head of the executive branch of our government will not be a member of the Democratic Party.

When that happens you can be sure it will be well-remembered how Republicans behaved when it wasn’t the case. If Republicans want to maintain any kind of moral high ground on the judicious use of the presidential impeachment option, they had better think twice before going down that route. Otherwise they can’t feign shock and surprise when it comes back in the other direction.

With the exceptions of John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter, every president since World War II has faced an official congressional attempt to impeach. It’s time to apply the brakes on this practice.

Actual cost

Since the impeachment of a president only has happened twice in our nation’s history — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both acquitted — the actual figures for the investigation and prosecution of a president are sketchy. The most recent example, the Clinton trial, cost the American taxpayers around $80 million in all to investigate and prosecute, according to an April 1999 article on CNN’s AllPolitics. It would be hard to justify wasting this much capital again, especially now.

Opportunity cost

This is the idea that doing one thing robs you of the potential time that could be spent doing something more productive. Republicans have lost the last two presidential elections by not insignificant margins. Perhaps the time spent fantasizing over impeachment could be put to better use by having a long think over how that happened and what could be done to correct their course.

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Let's put lethal injection to sleep

    It was only a matter of time before this happened again; and I’m sad to say I’m not surprised at all.
    On July 22, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the killing of Arizona death row inmate James R. Wood III, who had filed suit requesting a delay until the state revealed the details of the drugs that would be used to end his life.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • Schools need kids' parents For school-age children in southern Miami County — and their parents — this is a seminal week. Classes start at Maconaquah schools on Friday.School starts for the rest of the Kokomo area next week.Before your children head back to school, ensure they

    July 29, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • LETTERS: No excuse letting trimmings rot at curb No excuse for letting trimmings rot at curbWe live in a recently annexed, east-side subdivision — a nice, clean, well-kept subdivision where almost all homeowners take pride in and maintain their homes and lawns.Before the annexation, we paid for our

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • LETTERS: Parents taking fun out of youth sports Parents taking fun out of youth sports I enjoyed reading the article, "Nation's youth sports leagues on troubling decline," by Bill Stanczykiewicz, CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, and the last paragraph, a quote by Dr. Bill Dexter, president of t

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • WEEKLY WRAP: Legal marriages should be honored Legal marriages should be honoredAn eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.The couple has properly obtained a marria

    July 28, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll