"Impeaching Obama" is Just a Fundraising Gimmick (for Now)

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 11 2014 9:08 AM

"Impeaching Obama" is Just a Fundraising Gimmick (for Now)

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Come on, show me the money

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Republican establishment, such as it is, does not talk about impeaching Barack Obama. In the two months since a Fox News weekend host and a National Review author attempted to shift the Overton Window and make impeachment sellable, the House GOP has not moved on the idea. Instead, the Speaker of the House has tried to blow off some of the building steam by suing the president.

Who's talking about impeachment? I've held off on mentioning it, but former part-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin is, floating impeachment in a Breitbart.com column this week. Palin, who hasn't won an election since 2006, doesn't speak for her party, but she gets attention. To be fair, much of it comes from Democrats. All week, the party has been issuing fundraising letters asking liberals to give give give and stop the impeachment bullet train. This from the the DNC, on June 9:

First it was Obamacare, then it was Benghazi, now it’s calling to impeach the President. Apparently using political stunts to cater to the most extreme wings of their party is the GOP guidebook to winning elections.
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In Iowa, Democrats dug up a recent tape of Senate candidate Joni Ernst—who they call the Sarah Palin of Iowa—saying Obama had so far extended his power that impeachment needed to be discussed by people of good intention. Ernst tried to walk this back (she was having a good week exploiting a seemingly innocent verbal mistake by her Democratic opponent), indicating that once a GOP primary is over, impeachment is not what a swing state candidate wants to talk about.

I was all ready to show that only Democrats are talking about impeachment at all. But it's not true. Conservative organizations have spent the week keying off of Palin—yes, Palin, still. The TeaParty.net sent out a compendium of Obama crimes with a link to an impeachment petition.

In a move reminiscent of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Cuban tyrant Fidel Castro, Barack Obama is putting a muzzle on the media. After refusing to visit the border to see firsthand, as he described it, the humanitarian crisis, instead choosing to attend high dollar fundraisers in Texas, Obama is sending the message that he wants to control what the people see and hear about this border fiasco of his making as well. IMPEACH OBAMA!

Yesterday, former Rep. Allen West sent a similar e-mail to supporters.

Friend - Today, Sarah Palin joined tens of thousands of conservatives when she called for the impeachment of Barack Obama. This movement is far from over….it's gaining speed! In light of this growing movement and these new developments, I've decided to reopen the Guardian Fund's impeachment survey for a limited time so that more conservatives can join us and have their voices heard.

Okay—so, who's talking about impeachment? People who want to build lists and raise money. No one is floating this idea unless it's attached to an ask. As Erik Wemple reported, the reason Palin's column did not appear at Fox News—the reason Breitbart scooped it—was that it was shopped by SarahPAC. Democrats have nothing to fear, and nothing stopping them from answering the right-wing impeachment-money-grubs with grubbing of their own.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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