Somehow, it seems appropriate that a freshman Republican congressman who raises reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh in holiday parades is suggesting that impeaching President Obama would be “a dream come true.”
Yes, it would be.
It would be the equivalent of a whole Santa’s sleigh full of toys.
Last week, in the tony Detroit suburb of Birmingham, U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio had an exchange with one of his constituents that was probably not that unusual. It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time in conservative Republican circles when talk turns to Obamacare and the president’s agenda.
Conveniently forgetting that the healthcare law championed by the president was passed by Congress in 2010, that the president trounced his political rival, Mitt Romney, in 2012, and that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, angry conservatives believe that but for a bootlicking mainstream press, Obama would be on his way back to an early retirement in Chicago, if not to prison for the terrible “crimes” he has committed against the American people.
The exchange that Bentivolio had with his constituents last week is instructive.
It shows the free-floating angst that’s out there among conservatives who have the sense that they are “losing” their country. But it also shows the delicate line that conservative politicians must walk; telling their constituents what they want to hear while grasping how nutty they’d look if they actually pursued impeachment.
Toward the end of Bentivolio’s 30-minute meeting, which you can see online, a woman asks him something that is more a plea than a question: “I need to know … who is going to stop Obama from everything that he is doing against our Constitution? He needs to be stopped.”
A man’s voice interjects: "Articles of Impeachment!"
The woman continues: “It should have been started a long time ago, and I’m getting very nervous and I need to know who and when is somebody going to finally draw up something that is going to stop this runway train that we have in the White House.”
Presumably, the runaway train she is referring to is the implementation of the president’s Affordable Care Act, though it’s not entirely clear, as Bentivolio’s response also refers to the IRS admission that it flagged groups with political-sounding names that were applying for tax-exempt status.
“If I could write that bill, it would be a dream come true,” Bentivolio said. “I feel your pain. I stood 12 feet away from the guy and listened to him, and I couldn’t stand being there, but because he is president I have to respect the office, that’s my job.”
The congressman, a former car designer and teacher, said he returned to his office and consulted with attorneys and historians: “Tell me how I can impeach the president of the United States.”
His experts were dubious, he said. “What evidence do you have? You’ve got to have the evidence. ... Until we have evidence, you are going to become a laughingstock if you submitted a bill to impeach the president.”
Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who did not endear himself to many of his brethren when he told the GOP in January to “stop being the stupid party,” urged Republicans to cool it on impeachment.
“The reality is, one of the great things about this country is we do have a peaceful transfer of power,” said Jindal, chairman of the Republican Governors Assn. “I disagree with this president’s policy. And stop talking about impeachment. Let’s go out there and let’s have a legitimate debate.”
A legitimate debate in this Congress, where Republicans would rather beat their heads against the wall trying to repeal the healthcare law than work on, say, meaningful immigration reform legislation?
That will happen when reindeer fly.
Twitter: @robinabcarianCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun