Two weeks ago, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that talk of impeachment was a “scam started by Democrats in the White House,” insisting that Republicans have no plans to start impeachment proceedings.
Whether Boehner was deliberately ignoring a number of comments about impeachment that have been made by Republicans, or whether he’s forgotten after a third glass of merlot is unclear. On August 1, Cenk Uygur and the folks at The Young Turks decided to refresh his memory.
Uygur starts out by observing that the right wing World Net Daily has picked up the mantra that it’s the Democrats who are talking about impeachment, while simultaneously running ads for bumper stickers that say “Honk For Impeachment,” and “Lights On For Impeachment.” Next, he plays video of Karl Rove and Sean Hannity echoing the talking point that the notion of impeachment is coming from the White House. “Is there one [Republican] elected official that has said this? I can’t think of one,” Hannity asks.
Rove replies, “Well, there are several that have intimated it.” Rove goes on to say that Republicans have to be careful to not be “useful stooges for the president,” and that President Obama wants the conversation to be about impeachment. On the screen during the entire segment is this title: “The Left’s Impeachment Obsession.”
Hannity calls impeachment a “huge distraction,” and says it would be “politically stupid” for Republicans to pursue it.
After the clip, Uygur names three sitting Republican members of the House of Representatives who have called for impeachment: Ted Yoho (R-FL), Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), and Michael Burgess (R-TX). He follows that with a clip of various conservative media figures and politicians who have explicitly stated that the president should be impeached, or that impeachment should be “explored.” Following is a list from TYT’s video:
- Glenn Beck
- Michael Savage (whose comments came after Obama had been in office a scant two months)
- Andrew Napolitano (Fox News pundit)
- Andrew McCarthy (former federal prosecutor and contributing editor at the conservative National Review)
- Michelle Bachmann (who, on this video says “I agree” in response to a member of the public who says they should impeach the president)
- Jeanine Pirro (Fox News pundit)
- Sarah Palin
Those are just some of the conservative pundits and talkers who have batted around the “I” word. Sean Hannity said he couldn’t think of any Republican politicians who have mentioned it. In addition to the three members of Congress named earlier by Uygur, the video continues with comments from these Republican elected officials:
- Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA)
- Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
While those are the only Republican politicians offered in the video, Salon offers a much more comprehensive list. Add to the above:
- Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX)
- Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) (who made his comment while a member of the House)
- Congressman Steve King (R-IA)
If Republicans have been talking so much about impeachment over the past few years, why are they now claiming that the talk is coming from Democrats? Two reasons. First, Democrats are raising a ton of money off of it. Second, it might have something to do with a recent CNN/ORC poll, that found two thirds of respondents were opposed to impeachment.
Impeachment is a tool granted by the Constitution for removing a president under extraordinary circumstances. But as Chris Matthews correctly observes, impeachment is not a criminal prosecution, it is a political one. Given that there has been impeachment talk (and an impeachment) surrounding the last two Democratic presidents, be prepared for a repeat of this scenario every time a Democrat occupies the White House.
Here’s the video, courtesy of The Young Turks: