How Shall They Impeach Obama? Conservatives Count the Ways

A rundown of the president's high crimes and misdemeanors, according to his haters.

| Thu Jul. 17, 2014 6:00 AM EDT
Impeach!

Impeachment is having another moment. On Wednesday, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) became the latest conservative politician to suggest that Republicans may attempt to oust President Obama from office if they take control of the Senate next fall, citing "mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to." For conservative activists, it's no longer of issue of whether the president should be impeached, but what for. Since 2010, the Obama's haters have floated more than two dozen reasons for filing articles of impeachment. They would like to oust the president for, among other things...

  • Anything at all: "It needs to happen," Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), an early adopter, said in 2011.
  • Benghazi "jihadi-coddling": "This president was forced to see signs from people reminding them that they will not forget the seven hours of hell that the murdered Americans went through before they perished in Benghazi!," said Michelle Malkin. (Steven Seagal agrees.)
  • The birth certificate: "The Executive has an awful lot of power to keep from showing certain things unless the courts will stand up to him, or unless Congress in majority will stand up, up to and including impeachment," Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) admonished in 2010, before calling for a select committee of talk-radio hosts, members of Congress, and a single Supreme Court justice to examine the president's birth certificate.
  • The border crisis (2010): "Recent reports of contacts between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels make it all but certain that terrorists intent on destroying us will come across our southwestern border," said former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), blaming Obama for the continued existence of illegal immigration.
  • The border crisis (2014): In July, reality TV star Sarah Palin wrote an op-ed for Breitbart.com stating that the "unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, 'No mas.'"
  • Bowe Bergdahl: According to former Florida Rep. Allen West (of course), "Barack Hussein Obama's unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult—mandated by law—with the US Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense."
  • Defense of Marriage Act: Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told Think Progress in 2011 that he'd "absolutely" vote for impeachment "If it could gain the collective support."
  • Egypt: According to talk-radio host Tammy Bruce, "If it is found that Obama secretly facilitated or 'encouraged' an Islamist takeover of Egypt, an ally, he should be impeached."
  • EPA power-plant regulations: According to the South Dakota Republican Party, "The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are very clear on the authority of the President and the Federal Government"—and the president's environmental regulations could not be tolerated.
  • Fast and Furious: Gun Owners of America president Larry Pratt, most recently seen encouraging the use of force against elected officials, said last March that, "if this isn't the time when you can get him both politically and legally, I don't know when."
  • Fort Hood: "[T]hese days, what brain-functional person believes what officials, even those in high positions of responsibility, say about events like this?" asked one-time presidential hopeful Alan Keyes.
  • Health coverage for undocumented residents: "We clearly have a president who is dedicated to the well being of people who are here in our country illegally and instead of watching out for the interests of the American people," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said in March.
  • Hypothetical executive orders: Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) sought to preempt any actions by President Obama to reduce gun violence by threatening impeachment: "If the president is allowed to suspend constitutional rights on his own personal whims, our free republic has effectively ceased to exist," he said last January.
  • Hypothetical raising of the debt ceiling: "This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us," Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said in 2011.
  • Hypothetically defaulting on the debt: "Obama would be impeached if he blocked debt payments," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), warned in an otherwise undecipherable tweet.
  • "If you like your plan, you can keep it": "He had to tell that lie in order to get Obamacare passed," Ann Coulter said in January, although she conceded that impeachment is unlikely.
  • IRS scandal: "Nixon only dreamed about doing what Lois Lerner has done," Rush Limbaugh told his Dittoheads.
  • ISIS: "If Obama allows the world's first pure terror state to emerge on his watch, my God, if that's not grounds for impeachment, I don't know what is," Ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters told Newsmax in June.
  • Libya no-fly zone: "If we're going to be a government of laws, and not descend into empire, this is Caesar crossing the Rubicon," said Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein, explaining why he was drafting a sample order of impeachment.
  • Not extending the Bush tax cuts: It was a simple proposition for Grover Norquist: "Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach." 
  • NSA data collection: "In Watergate, Richard Nixon faced impeachment for breaking into the offices of the chairman of the Democratic National Party—Obama has broken into the homes of 300 million Americans," conservative lawyer Larry Klayman explained last December.
  • Obama's legacy: At least Glenn Beck is honest in his reasoning: "[Obama] needs to have the stain on his record that they cannot remove."
  • Recess appointments: When asked about the Supreme Court's decision in July knocking down the president's power of appointment, Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) floated impeachment, before quickly backtracking.
  • The stimulus: WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliot argued that "Questions should already be raised about how the former employer of Obama's Commerce secretary received the Energy Department’s biggest loan guarantee."
  • The Veterans Affairs scandal: "I and Liberty Counsel Action are calling on the House of Representatives, the people's house, to draft Articles of Impeachment against President Barack H. Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors," Liberty University law school dean Mathew Staver announced in May.