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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Another day, another Republican pandering to the right-wing base of the party. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said at a town hall meeting in Muskogee, Oklahoma on Wednesday that the president is “getting perilously close” to impeachment. It’s a move that puts him in what former Pennsylvania Democratic governor Ed Rendell calls the “wacko faction” of the Republican Party.

When words like “impeachment” get thrown around, it’s important to take a step back and really understand what the Constitution says about the grounds for the action. What does a president have to do to prompt an impeachment trial? The standard is laid out in Article II, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution, which states,”The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

What are Obama’s crimes that meet this standard? For Republicans, there may be a few — most notably, NSA surveillance, the Benghazi “scandal,” or the IRS probe.

Of course, there’s absolutely no evidence that Obama has committed an impeachable offense. For many Republicans, however, doubt remains. Tom Coburn, for example, admits he doesn’t even have the legal knowledge to determine if impeachment is suitable, but nonetheless thinks Obama is getting close. “I think those are serious things, but we’re in serious times,” Coburn said at the meeting. “And I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ but I think you’re getting perilously close.”

Moreover, Coburn thinks that the Obama administration is breaking the law purposefully. “I think there’s some intended violation of law in this administration, but I also think there’s a ton of incompetence,” Coburn said, adding: “I am fed up. I am frustrated. I am happy to raise an issue at every point.”

By joining the impeachment crusade, Coburn is in league with other Republicans like Texas senator Ted Cruz and congressman Blake Farenhold, and Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI).

Bentivolio said in a recent town hall meeting that “it would be a dream come true” to impeach Obama. But, he continued, Republicans just don’t have the evidence yet. “Until we have the evidence, you’re going to become a laughingstock if you’ve submitted a bill to impeach the president, because number one, you’ve got to convince the press.”

Farenhold thinks impeachment would fall flat in the Senate: “If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it,” he told a group of Texas Republicans. “But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.” On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz offered more or less the same analysis. When asked about impeachment at a town hall meeting, Cruz replied: “It’s a good question. And I’ll tell you the simplest answer: To successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. Senate.”

So Coburn has plenty of company in the impeachment camp.

But Coburn’s words are perhaps surprising because he has previously butted heads with this so-called “wacko faction” of the Republican Party. In the midst of the 2011 debt limit debate, Coburn broke from the right wing of the GOP by accepting the compromise reached by the “Gang of Six.” The compromise included raising revenues, which put him at odds with Grover Norquist and every Republican congressman who signed the anti-tax pledge. Back then, Coburn said Norquist “represents the silliness of our political situation today.”

Additionally, Senator Coburn likes to refer to the president as his “good personal friend.” With friends like these, who needs enemies?

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  • charleo1

    This is about par. Each member along the entire GOP line, must fulfill his/her,
    prerequisite number of curtsies, and bows to the alter of Right Wing nuttery.

  • JD Mulvey

    It is a little surprising… I assumed you meant Inhofe.

  • Pamby50

    Dr Coburn, go back to OK. Take the rest of the respublican party with you when you go. Impeach the president. Never knew a better group of people who need the mental health part of Obamacare.

  • charleo1

    “May we never confuse honest dissent, with disloyal subversion.” Dwight Eisenhower.
    I would also add, don’t confuse the current Republican Party, with Eisenhower’s
    Republican Party. Or, the Party of Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, as conservative. For, it is
    that Party, the Party of the radical extremist, that is neither honest in it’s decent, or loyal in it’s subversion. They are, by their own words, and deed, a disgrace to the very notion of Conservatism. Which advises in all areas of public policy, to first do no harm.

    • dtgraham

      Do you ever have a point about Eisenhower’s Republican Party charleo1. Well said my friend. I recently read through the 1956 Republican Party platform. I think that a lot of Democrats today would probably cringe and say that this is a little too lefty for me. You know, ‘I can’t get elected on this basis.’ That platform was the result of FDR’s enormous shadow still being cast over the American body politic even well into the 1950’s.

      There was much talk of labour unions and labour rights, SS strengthening, and minimum wage expansion. Public education, environmentalism, and peace through negotiation were also prominently on display in that platform. The whole thing can be seen here at:

      “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” ~ Dwight Eisenhower.

      American conservatism has changed very much in the last 60 years charleo1. Very, very, much.

      • charleo1

        Well said! You captured my point, then expanded a bit further,
        Which is great. Because, I don’t believe a lot of people that have
        traditionally voted the Republican ticket, realize how far out there
        some of these people are. Or, what the agenda they are peddling
        would mean, in terms of our economy, certainly. But also they
        would radically change the way the larger world community views
        the U.S. Both as a treaty partner, as well as a source of stability,
        and security, in what is always a very unpredictable, and volatile
        international landscape. So, for America to become bellicose, and
        reckless at this juncture, could have the potential to cause a
        wholesale, realignment in the balance of world power, held
        together since the end of the Second World War, by a financially strong, U.S. Who’s moderate, and level headed, foreign policies,
        consistently lobbied for peace through negotiation. Not war by
        preemption. While it is true FDR cast a long shadow. I believe
        Eisenhower reflected the traditional America. Prudent, responsible,
        and forward looking. With an eye firmly on the future. And his
        policies did, to a great extent reflect that. Investment in the Country
        was seen by both, the left, and right, as sound stewardship of
        American’s tax dollars. Taxes were levied, and paid, because
        industry, and the American public realized they were part, and
        parcel that came along with living in, prospering, and securing
        our democracy. Here again, Eisenhower urged moderation.
        And was not comfortable with the cozy relationships between
        military contractors, and Congress. My point is how the modern
        GOP, has become the inverse of the Party led by Eisenhower.

    • ORAXX

      If you look at where Ike came down on the issues of the day, he would be to the left of Bernie Sanders, were he in the Senate today. He was also considered to be a ‘conservative’ at the time. The teapublicans would have, rightly, been consigned to the lunatic fringe in Ike’s day.

      • RobertCHastings

        The Tea Party would be fringe compared even to Barry Goldwater, who once stated that he believed a nuclear war was winnable.

  • michaelross

    Obama is only impeachable following the Republican logic that the worst offenses of all are being born poor and being a Democrat.

  • 4sanity4all

    This guy is just one more nutter that is living in a fantasy world. He is uneducated about what an impeachable offence actually is, and is wasting everyone’s time. My question for him is, what are you doing to fix things? How are you being part of the solution? Spouting nonsense is not helping to find a solution. He needs to get his butt in a chair, actually read legislation that is being proposed, then form some good comments and compromise ideas. You have no right to criticize anyone who has actually proposed ideas that have worked before in similar economic situations, while insisting that we pursue ideas that have never worked, and never will. Study some actual economic history, and think, before you spout nonsense.

    • docb

      These are not republicans..these are the rabid ignorant fringe and who they are catering to..nothing more certainly lessor in value! If there were anything to be found..the clintons would have found it! The childish baggers are just wetting their socks on the bs!

  • Dominick Vila

    People like Coburn and Bentivolio will have to do a lot more than convince the press to impeach a President without evidence of treason, high crimes, or misdemeanors. The fact that a president has championed and signed legislation the far right does not like does not constitute grounds for impeachment, and they know it.
    I can’t help wondering how the few remaining moderate Republicans feel about issues like these and the immature comments their Tea Party colleagues make time and again. I suspect they are neither impressed nor comfortable with what is going on, which they know is counterproductive to their cause and their image.

    • RobertCHastings

      Apparently you have forgotten about 1) Nixon’s escape from Impeachment and 2) Clinton’s close brush with it. If there is enough impetus behind the push for Impeachment, they will find a way to justify it, even for something as innocuous as a blow job.

      • ayungclas

        Blow jobs are an impeachable offense, selling missiles to Iran isn’t.

        • RobertCHastings

          Since when has a blowjob been an impeachable offense? Even a prig like Jessie Helms didn’t see that as an impeachable offense. Reagan wasn’t even reprimanded for dealing guns AND drugs, even though he signed the law that made dealing with the Contras illegal. On the other hand, it is amazing that Bush has yet to be indicted. No wonder he refused to sign on to the International Criminal Court Treaty.

  • annienoel

    Shortly after JFK was elected a nurse I was working with stated her husband favored assassination to impeachment. It wasn’t terribly well thought out because he also didn’t want Johnson to become President. Right after the election of Bill Clinton I saw a bumper sticker that said “Impeach Clinton and Bill too.” Republicans are so reactionary. I want one of them to tell me what High Crime or misdemeanor President Obama has done. Republicans just don’t want to be out of power. I admit we did discuss impeaching GWB but he lied us into a war….and to my knowledge no elected democrat said this at town halls.

  • Irishgrammy

    When President Obama was elected the first time, I remember Tom Coburn boasting he was “a friend” of the new President and had “worked” with him when President Obama became a new Senator. Now, I don’t know if Coburn was just “sucking up” for some nefarious gain to the new President or if he truly considered himself a friend to the new President, but clearly Coburn has fallen to the nutty side of his extremist element.
    Going back over the last 5 and 1/2 years we see what???……A man who stopped the bleeding after the worst financial fall since the depression, saved the auto industry against the advise of many on his own team, passed a health care bill, a Democratic priority for over 60 years, has dismantled Al Queda, ordered the kill of Osama Bin Laden and would have been held responsible had it gone badly and SHOULD be given the credit and respect of the courage he showed in his decisive order as he deserves for it going to it’s successful end, finally got the Bush tax cuts ended for the over 2%, and the DEFICIT, the GOPTP’s favorite whipping pole, is shrinking at a faster pace since WWII over the past 3 years, and that’s just some of the important highlights over the last 5+ years!!!!
    We all know the Presidents Jobs Bill which the crazy House of Reps. refuse to even discuss, would add to jobs in this country per conservative and Progressive economists, we also know it takes the Federal Government to help this country grow economically, but that will never happen when you have the insane element in the House where the Tea Party consortium refuse to govern, think or legislate based on reality or facts, all they know is they hate government, they hate this President and they hate Democrats. Their sole philosophy is Democrats have no rights to the Presidency, or to serve THEIR government in any capacity and they sure don’t want to pay taxes or help the poorest of the poor, don’t believe in any kind of safety net, hate Social Security and Medicare, even though most probably have family members reliant on both or have had need for either programs themselves at one time or other, and, well basically, believe the Republican/Tea Bagger party is destined to rule in perpetuity, I think they call that a dictatorship…………They HAVE AND NEVER WILL, respect, honor or give credit to President Obama, and now are trying in a pathological hysterically incessant and dishonest attack on Obamacare ATTEMPTING to diminish and nullify the Presidents’ pre-eminent health care law, a law so important and affecting the lives of so many, and this after the President being elected twice by the largest majorities in 40+ years as. One would think the radical far right group of idiots would have gotten the “memo” the President won TWICE with 53% and 52% of the people, and that should have sent a loud message, the PEOPLE did not like what Republicans/Tea Baggers were peddling !!!! What ever little respect I had for Tom Coburn prior to his asinine remarks has completely evaporated. He has now shown he has no integrity, no courage, and is just as pathetic as those he is pandering to!!!

    • latebloomingrandma

      Well said!!

  • clarenceswinney

    It seems to me all this negative stuff originated in the so called Tea Party idea of smaller government and no taxes. The larger government is a direct result of actions taken by Bush and a couple by Obama to fight the Great Recession.
    Bush took an 1800B Budget to 3500B. Two unfunded wars. Debt from 5800B to 11,900B. Hugh tax cut for the rich lost revenue as did Obama stimulus and payroll tax cut in the big retirement surge. The Great Recession was preceded and included off shoring of good jobs.
    We need millions of more good paying jobs.
    What good is a college education without a job.

  • latebloomingrandma

    So Coburn is good friend of Obama? Do the words “Et tu, Brute?” come to mind? Ted Cruz is calling Republicans “chicken” but the real chickens are those Republicans who are not standing up to the loud mouthed loony right. They are loud, but there are not that many in numbers to wield such power. Could it be the secret money behind them?
    Grass roots my foot. At least Barney Frank had the guts to face people in a town hall and call them out for their nuttiness. I still remember him saying to one birther and conspiracy theorist lady—And on what planet are you living? I might as well be talking to a table. Gotta love Barney’s Frankness.

  • RobertCHastings

    Is he talking about the Obama administration, or the W Bush administration? It sounds more like the latter. After all, Bush declared war and invaded a sovereign country by lying to Congress. I can’t think of anything Obama has even CONTEMPLATED that comes close to that one.