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“Sue Him! Impeach Him!”

President Obama signing an executive order, a constitutional prerogative that Republicans challenge.
President Obama signing an executive order, a constitutional prerogative that Republicans challenge.

Speaker John Boehner says House Republicans plan to file suit against President Obama.

The reason: The tyrannical president has delayed parts of the Affordable Care Act, a law Republicans have tried to repeal more than 50 times.

Get it? House Republicans are mad at the president for not implementing quickly a law they loathe.

As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up!

Consider the logic of Boehner’s case. (Well, ok, there isn’t any logic, but allow me to spin this out.) The president, using his power to issue executive orders, delayed parts of the law to grant business owners more time to prepare before they have to provide mandatory health care to their employees. Should the Republicans win in the courts (not likely), those business owners, for whom the GOP claims to speak, will have to implement immediately a law which Republicans claim kills jobs.

It’s mind boggling: The Republican-led House can’t legislate, but it can litigate.

Suing Obama does have one virtue from Boehner’s perspective: It gives the speaker cover for his opposition to the call on the right to impeach Obama. Boehner understands that talk of impeaching the president is a political loser; he remembers 1998 when Republicans rammed impeachment articles through the House. He knows it’s bad politics in an election year to remind voters of that folly.

Other Republicans, however, have shorter memories. Or, perhaps, their hatred of the current president blinds them to political reality. “There’s only one remedy for a president who commits high crimes and misdemeanors, and it’s impeachment. The I-word,” says Sarah Palin. In an op-ed piece on Breitbart,com, the former vice presidential candidate wrote, “Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’”

Palin’s analogy is strained, but no more so than her grasp of constitutional law. But then again, you don’t often see the name “Sarah Palin” and the phrase “constitutional scholar” in the same sentence.

Impeachment is going nowhere. But neither is Boehner’s lawsuit.

Most legal analysts argue that the suit will fail because the House does not have legal standing, the concept which insists that a party bringing suit must demonstrate actual injury and not just an interest in seeing the law enforced. “There’s just no way a court would find that the House of Representatives as an institution has been harmed by President Obama attempting in good faith to implement the ACA,” said Catholic University law professor Victor Williams.

Earlier this month, a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush threw out a lawsuit brought by Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin against a provision of the ACA. The judge said the tea party Republican failed to demonstrate how he was harmed by the law.

President Obama is dismissive, calling the lawsuit “a stunt.” The president adds, “You hear some of them — ‘Sue him,’ ‘Impeach him.’ Really? Really? For what? You’re going to sue me for doing my job? Okay.”

Obama claims the constitutional right to use his pen when Congress fails to act. “I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something while they're doing nothing,” he says. Republicans counter with the claim that those executive orders are an abuse of power.

An executive order is simply an official document through which the president runs the operations of the federal government, as is his constitutional obligation. Presidents have issued them from the beginning; George Washington promulgated eight. In recent years, the numbers have increased. Dwight Eisenhower, the picture of a laid-back president, issued 484; the darling of the right, Ronald Reagan, rolled out 381. Calvin Coolidge, an older right-wing darling, foisted 1,203 on an unsuspecting nation.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his pen 3,552, but then again, he was in office for more than twelve years through depression and war.

And the tyrant, Barack Obama? A measly 183 through June of this year.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Boehner from planning to sue the president for abuse of power. Boehner misses the inherent — and juicy — contradiction in Republicans, who have complained for years about “activist judges,” appealing to the courts to require the president to enforce his signature law.

Democrats see a golden opportunity in the anti-Obama agitation. “Republicans are drastically overreaching with their lawsuit and impeachment talk, and the result has been a massive surge of enthusiasm from our grass-roots supporters,” says Rep. Steve Israel, a New Yorker who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the month since Boehner first announced his intention to sue the president, the DCCC has raised $3.7 million from 200,000 online donations.

No wonder Democrats are rooting for Boehner to sue and Palin to urge impeachment.

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