Is Impeaching Obama The New Republican Litmus Test?

by
Owen Poindexter
Recently, Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold turned a few heads when he said that Republicans might have enough votes in the House of Representatives to impeach President Obama right now.

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Politics have sometimes strained a friendly relationship between President Obama and Speaker Boehner, but Boehner could probably never be cajoled into bringing impeachment up for a vote in the House of Representatives. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Recently, Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold turned a few heads when he said that Republicans might have enough votes in the House of Representatives to impeach President Obama right now. Rep. Farenthold was responding to a question about President Obama’s birth certificate.

“I think unfortunately the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue,” Farenthold said. “The original Congress when his eligibility came up should have looked into it and they didn’t. I’m not sure how we fix it.”

“You tie into a question I get a lot: ‘If everyone’s so unhappy with the president’s done, why don’t you impeach him?’” Farenthold continued. “I’ll give you a real frank answer about that: If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.”

Okay, first of all, no one seems to bat an eye anymore when a Republican Congressman mentions that he is a birther. Then again, disbelieving the consensus of objective science on climate change and evolution are litmus tests for the Republican Party these days, so it’s not really a shock that believing a bizarre conspiracy about where Barack Obama was born is very much in bounds.

As for impeaching President Obama, don’t be surprised if this becomes the new Republican litmus test. House Republicans are mostly carved into cozy, gerrymandered districts, where they don’t have to worry about getting beaten by a Democrat. All they have to worry about is getting primaried from the right (never the left), by a Republican opponent, and to avoid this, members have to pass increasingly conservative litmus tests.

There is very little chance that Speaker of the House John Boehner brings Obama’s impeachment up for a vote, but it is not far-fetched to wonder if that becomes a popular question for Congressional Republicans: would you vote to impeach Obama? And if they say no, or equivocate too much, they had better watch out for a primary attack.

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