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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sometimes politics is like high-stakes poker. If you look around the table after a few hands and you can’t tell who’s the pigeon, citizen, chances are it’s you: the guy who plunked down $26.95 for a book called Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office.

Yeah, you with the “Impeach Obama” bumpersticker on your car. The guy standing on a freeway overpass waving a “Honk for Impeachment” sign. You may as well go around in a little bird’s nest hat, like Donald Duck’s eccentric friend Gyro Gearloose.

Because it not only ain’t going to happen, but the people peddling this nonsense don’t even want it to happen. Not really. They’re just making a buck off people who can’t count and running a classic misdirection play.

It’s actually a good sign if you think about it.

Basically because the more Republicans you hear talking about impeachment, the closer the party has come to surrender on the big issues they claim to care about.

Like it or not, the possibility of repealing “Obamacare” ended when the Supreme Court found it Constitutional and the president won re-election. You’d think after 40 — count ’em, 40 — fruitless votes to abort the law, that message might start to sink in. We still have majority rule in this country.

But no, it hasn’t sunk in at all. Like a baseball team demanding to play the eighth game of the World Series, GOP hardliners have come up with yet another plan to force the president’s hand. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has called for something he infelicitously called a “grassroots tsunami” to make Obama relent. More rationally consequent party leaders, however, are fearful of the terrible consequences of shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt in a vain attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act.

Neither tactic would accomplish the ostensible goal and would doom Republican chances to regain Congress or the White House for the forseeable future. More than 70 percent of voters, including 53 percent of Republicans, oppose a government shutdown. A debt default could have catastrophic economic consequences. However, many GOP politicians are equally fearful of the wrath of Tea Party zealots to whom they’ve made undeliverable promises.

Hence the melodramatic appeal of impeachment, a totally unserious threat its sponsors hope hotheads will see as more decisive. So what if it makes the United States look like a Banana Republic? That’s the form of government that fools prefer to democracy, with its tedious committee meetings, quorum calls and compromises. Just think how happy an impeachment battle would make the impresarios and talking heads of cable news.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo