The president is no longer a transformative figure. He cannot bestride the world like the colossus which he was once portrayed. Now, he must be cast as a victim in need of protection.
“I think it’s important to note, though, that through all of this, the Republicans are trying to sue the president — on a path to impeach the president – while we’re trying to create jobs and have stability,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fabricated in an appearance on CNN over the weekend. Point A and Point B in this train of thought remain parsecs apart, though her interlocutor – Candy Crowley – chose to throw to break rather than to dig too deeply into Pelosi’s flawed thinking.
The press has been far more than complicit, even culpable, in this manufactured effort to suggest that Republicans are trying to impeach Obama. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, newly selected House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was asked if he would take the option of impeaching the president “off the table.”
“The White House wants to talk about impeachment and they’re trying to fundraise off that, too,” Scalise replied. “The White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president’s failed agenda.”
In this answer, Scalise refused to remove a tool from Congress’s limited toolbox when it comes to reining in executive authority, but he also acknowledged how politically problematic impeachment would be for Republicans. The headlines which followed this appearance all ran in some fashion with the revelation that Scalise had refused to take impeachment off the table. Impeachment is imminent!
Even Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), a House Republican known with a penchant for excessive rhetoric, thinks that pursuing impeachment would be foolish. Stockman told a conservative news site recently that Obama and his advisors are praying for the House to impeach the president “because his senior advisers believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat.”
Even with the Democrats’ strategy this transparent and obvious, the press is still covering it uncritically.
The Associated Press, reporting on another possible Hail Mary from the White House on Tuesday which would extend semi-legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, couldn’t help but raise the threat of impeachment in the second paragraph.
“Such a large-scale move on immigration could scramble election-year politics and lead some conservative Republicans to push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, a prospect White House officials have openly discussed,” the AP reported inexplicably.
MSNBC has, of course, gone wall to wall with impeachment talk, conceding to have to rely on Democratic press releases in order to invent this this “news.”
“It is the political fight that just won’t let up,” CNN’s Carol Costello imagined on Monday. “A Republican push to try and impeach President Obama.” She leveraged this bit of fancy to suggest that Republicans should be focusing on passing comprehensive immigration reform. It was an pitch that might as well have come straight out of the White House press shop.
This is journalistic malpractice. The threat of impeachment is a fictitious one. A television personality invented it and this White House, so bereft of governing strategies and rapidly bleeding popularity, elevated it. The press has a responsibility to note that, but the reaction has largely been to parrot Democrats
“There are some republicans including some running for office hoping to get into office to impeach the president,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest invented on Monday. “That is a view they have because it’s one they have repeatedly expressed publically.”
“Have you noticed this impeach Obama talk lately?” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked on Monday night. “Is it possible this is all a masterful stroke of Democrats running a false flag operation?”
Included in this undeserved complement for a sloppy and transparent strategy is the acknowledgement that it is based on virtually nothing other than hope.