While some conservative figures have spoken about impeaching President Barack Obama without huge fanfare, this talk has now garnered significant media attention thanks to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's written words on a prominent conservative website yesterday. This development serves as welcome news for a Democratic Party in the doldrums and a big headache for Republicans.
"It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment," Palin wrote on the conservative website Breitbart.com. She also dismissed the House of Representatives' upcoming lawsuit against Obama in an interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, saying "you don’t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight, and there’s no room for lawyers on our front lines.”
Palin's star may have diminished somewhat in recent years, however, she still carries considerable weight. So Republicans across the country will be asked questions whether they agree with Palin's support for Obama's impeachment, providing a big distraction over the border crisis, the mediocre economy, and Obama's low approval ratings. This also enables Democrats to change the narrative and at least temporarily gin up their base with fundraising pitches such as "Not satisfied with relentless obstruction, Republicans are now determined to impeach our president. Please fight back!" and "Sarah Palin and Tea Party extremists threaten Obama with impeachment. Don't let this happen! Donate to the Democratic National Committee today." Even if nothing else happens, the Democratic Party will at least be thankful for the few extra million dollars in their coffers to spend on competitive races.
Obama would welcome impeachment as well because he would win the public relations battle like President Clinton did when he was impeached back in 1998 and Republicans would forever be known as the party who impeached the first black president. Good luck ever winning another presidential election in a country that is growing more diverse every day.
Palin's statement against the upcoming lawsuit against Obama is also important because it has already invited scorn in many conservative corners and has only a slim chance of success assuming Republicans are actually even serious. With her weighing in on this and impeachment, it puts House Speaker John Boehner in a weaker position politically because conservatives will see the House is toothless assuming the lawsuit goes nowhere. They will say Obama must pay for his perceived illegal behavior and that the only option left is impeachment. It does not matter that he will never be convicted in the Senate and that few Americans actually support impeaching him, pressure will be on the House Republicans from their base to act.
The old cliche "nothing to gain, everything to lose" applies here so Republicans need to hope this story goes away fast. For Democrats, they would be wise to milk this as long as possible and perhaps bring it up in debates. Who knows, maybe you will get a Todd Akin-like moment.