Impeach Obama? Don’t Bet On It!

In the USA there are two recognized major political parties:  The republicans and the democrats.  While there is a wide spectrum of democrats, they tend to pull together and their differences are generally minor and reconcilable.

The republicans are a different story.  They are severely divided into mainstream republicans, libertarians, and Tea Party/religious right/ Extremist right, whom we will call, for ease of identification, the “extremist-right fringe”, or ERF for short.

The ERF absolutely hates president Obama, partly because he is an African-American and partly because he is a bright, educated democrat.  They also hate all of the democrats and government.

The speaker of the US House of Representatives, republican John Boehner of Ohio, is actually a reasonable moderate republican, but he also likes being speaker  While he has often tried to corral the libertarians and the ELF’s in his party, he usually has failed to do so.  The government shutdown last October is a prime example of Boehner’s inability to “herd the cats” in his party.

However, because Boehner likes his job as speaker, he has to keep the ERF happy.  As a result, he decided to sue Obama over his use of presidential executive orders to bypass a house of representatives which is dominated by a GOP united only in a single goal;  oppose anything Obama wants, even if it is a good thing they agree with deep down inside.

After considerable research, however, the legal eagles Boehner consulted with told him that the executive order issue was a loser.  Boehner subsequently decided to sue the president for his failure to enforce a provision of the Affordable Health Care law, a.k.a., Obamacare, that has to do with employer-provided health care coverage.  It was determined that some employers were not ready for the implementation of this provision and Obama granted a one-year extension for them.

The GOP claims it cares about business, but in this case, they would oppose a provision of Obama that was delayed to help business.  Most people saw the extension as a good thing for businesses, but the business-loving GOP has chosen to make that issue the focus of their lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which has not yet been formally filed because the House votes on it today, would potentially take years and cost many milllions of dollars of taxpayer money.  Obama could well be out of office by time the lawsuit actually was finalized.  So it’s hard to take this seriously and even harder to believe it isn’t a republican political stunt to energize their ERF base.

However, as a political stunt, it may already have backfired on the GOP.  The ERF predictably tried to carry the issue too far by calling for Obama’s impeachment!  Sarah Palin advocated impeachment recently in an op-ed she wrote for a conservative news outlet.  And House GOP whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana stated during an interview over the weekend that impeachment was “on the table.

The democrats are eating it up.  They are using the threat of impeachment to raise tons of money and energize THEIR base.  They also know that the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the late 1990’s backfired on the GOP because when all was said and done, Clinton’s approval rated soared to 71% while the GOP-controlled congress’s approval rating plummeted.

John Boehner is no dummy and neither are many of the moderate, mainstream republicans in congress.  They are painfully familiar with the lessons of history and don’t want to repeat them.  But first they have to rein inl, and frankly silence, the ERF in their party, and so far, they haven’t figured out how to do that without alienating their base.  To that end, Boehner took the extraordinary step of holding a press conference to state emphatically that the GOP is not planning an impeachment, nor do they have any future plans for impeachment.

That may be too little to late, since the ERF has already smelled blood in the water and is salivating over the prospect of impeaching Obama.  When they realize that impeachment is OFF the table, many of them will probably start eating the mainstream republicans if they are deprived of the Obama red meat they so desperately want to cut up.

Boehner, for his part, has gotten into yet another tight spot by  initially cow-towing to the ERF, just as he did in the run-up to the government shutdown last October.  He can’t be a very happy camper right now.

And in the meantime, democrats are leading republicans in several congressional/senate races in the red south. While it might not be enough for the democrats to take over the House after the 2014 elections, at least their chances of holding on to the senate are increasing.

Maybe we’ll be be thanking the GOP’s Extreme Right Fringe for winning this election of the democrats….   🙂

Maybe We Should Return the Statue of Liberty?

The United States of America (USA) is a country of immigrants.  From the 16th through 19th and early 20th centuries, many millions of people immigrated to the USA.  In fact, it is fair to call the USA immigrant-based, notwithstanding the fact that  Native Americans are also part of what the USA is, even though they were conquered and almost wiped out by a superior military force of immigrants and their descendants.

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor stands as a monument to the open arms that were extended to immigrants of all nations until the early to mid twentieth century, when conservatives, who were ALWAYS against immigrants, achieved enough political power to pass federal laws against the “open arms” policies of the past.

That statue was a gift from France, constructed in that country and then shipped to New York City in partially assembled pieces, where final assembly was officially completed in 1886

Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s foundation are, in part, the following words from poet Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

As mentioned earlier, there has always been a segment of Americans (immigrants or offspring of immigrants themselves) who have opposed further immigration into the USA.  Whether based upon racism (and a lot of it was) or economic concerns, it has always been a factor that was alive and well in the USA.  However, federal laws that limited the number of yearly legal immigrants into the USA didn’t actually become reality until the 1920’s.

Once these laws passed, they were brutally enforced, even against refugees escaping from NAZI brutality and death in the run-up to World War 2.  Ships of Jewish refugees who rightfully feared for their lives, for example, were turned away from American shores and had to find refuge elsewhere.

Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, it has become clear that America’s immigration policies simply do not work. Even during the GW Bush administration, bipartisan members of the US congress had worked to fix this national disgrace with comprehensive immigration reform, which would recognize both the physical and economic infeasibility, as well as the moral objections, to deporting perhaps 12 million undocumented foreign immigrants from the USA.

But ultra-right wing republicans, such as the Tea party and the ultra-right base of the GOP, simply chose to ignore these factors as well as the used-to-be-traditional American creed of protecting the “wretched refuse” of other countries trying to escape their own personal hell in their native lands.

In recent months, Central American parents have been sending their children to the USA in an effort to save them from the extreme physical and economic violence of their native countries.  To date, approximately 57,000 have arrived at our borders. One can only guess at how difficult it must have been for these parents to part, perhaps forever, with their own flesh and blood.  But these parents did just that to save their children’s lives and provide them with a better future.

And when these kids braved violence, filth, exhaustion, insecurity, possible starvation and even rape, and arrived at the US border seeking what all children seek…safety…what did the ultra-extremist right wing do?  Advocate deporting these kids back to their dangerous points of origin at best, or meeting these kids with US military action, at worst.  WTF.

These are CHILDREN!!!  What does it say about the this nation and its people that we would turn our backs on CHILDREN??   Even using the republican excuse that accepting these kids encourages more kids to make the trip is NO excuse for turning our backs on them.

And meanwhile, back in the good ol’ do-nothing US House of Representatives,  GOP speaker John Boehner has refuse to bring a bi-partisan, US senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill up for debate and a vote, because the republican base is dead-set against any form of immigration reform that doesn’t incarcerate and deport 12 million illegal immigrants.

As a result, peaker John Boehner won’t allow the bill to come up for a vote because he KNOWS the bill would pass, and that would alienate his anti-immigrant republican base.    He also knows that many republicans would join all or most of the democrats to pass this bill, and Obama would sign it into law.

With the passage of comprehesive immigration reform, much of the economic and emotional upheaval over immigration would be over, and the extremist conservative right-wing base of the republican party would HATE the result:  12 million new citizens who would probably remember what the republicans have done to them over the years, and would vote democratic.

This situation really does scream for a multiparty parliamentary political system, where coalitions MUST form to govern, or else new elections are called.  But the GOP would hate it because they would probably become a fringe party…and the Tea party would become an even SMALLER fringe party…

Alas, one can dream….  🙂  But in the meantime, maybe we should just send the Statue of Liberty back to France… or at least cover up the inscription about the tired and a poor…