What happens when an elected American president lets the power of the office go to his head and begins to ignore the Constitution and rule in the manner of a dictator? The answer, of course, is that the U.S. House of Representatives is empowered by the Constitution to impeach such a president, and the U.S. Senate is empowered to convict him. On the impeachment side of the Constitutional equation, Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House, though not convicted by the Senate. President Nixon resigned before the House could impeach him because he knew the Senate had the votes to convict him. Impeachment is a Constitutional tool that has been used by the House of Representatives to rein in out-of-control presidents.
Being that we have the Constitutional protection of impeachment and being that is has been used in the past, Americans don’t have to worry about a president abusing his powers and becoming a quasi-dictator, right? Maybe not. The House of Representatives has used impeachment or the threat of it to prevent presidents from abusing their power in the past, but all of the presidents in question have been white. What happens when the president abusing his power is black? In today’s politically-correct, racially-charged society does the House of Representatives dare impeach a black president? This is not just a hypothetical or academic question. Rather, it is one the newly elected House of Representatives may have to answer because a defiant President Obama has made it clear he does not intend to stop ignoring the Constitution or the will of the American people. He plans to continue ruling by dictatorial fiat in the form of executive orders, orders that exceed the scope of his presidential powers as granted in the Constitution.
Before proceeding with the question of impeachment, some background is in order. Even the most optimistic Republican insiders underestimated how well the GOP would do in the mid-term elections on November 4th. Not only did Republicans pick up the seats they thought were low-hanging fruit, they picked up some seats that pundits thought were leaning toward the Democrats. The mid-term elections were about one thing and one thing only: rejecting the failed policies of Barack Obama. What political pundits missed was the depth of dissatisfaction with the president, even among Democrats. It appears that the pundits were led down the garden path by Obama’s propaganda machine—the mainstream media—and as a result were out of touch with grass roots Americans.
Being that the mid-term massacre was a rejection of everything President Obama stands for, one would think the president would be chastened, maybe even humbled. But anyone who believed this president would be humbled was under-estimating his capacity for self-delusion, not to mention his out-sized ego. Obama knows that on November 4th America rejected him and his policies, but the president’s attitude toward the Democrat’s lop-sided defeat has been to dig in his heels and defiantly reject America’s rejection of him. In his White House news conference on November 5th, the president sounded more like a petulant child who had been scolded than the chief executive of a great nation.
Incredibly, President Obama refused to accept any responsibility for his party’s election debacle. Rather, he defiantly threatened to continue governing by executive order, and herein is the rub. The Republican victory on November 4th will either be a flash in the pan or it will translate into an even more important victory in 2016. Which of these two possibilities prevails depends on what the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress do right now. If they misinterpret what happened on November 4th as an opportunity to reason with President Obama or meet him in the middle, Republicans will squander their victory. Further, if they allow President Obama to continue defiantly ruling by executive fiat like some third-world dictator, Americans who voted Republican in droves on November 4th will lose faith in them and Hillary Clinton will be our next president. However, if Republicans show they have the guts to issue a unmistakable smack down to Barack Obama, up to and including impeachment, they might just win in November and save America in the process.
President Obama has steamrolled Republicans and run roughshod over the Constitution for six years now, and as the results of the mid-term elections showed, Americans are tired of his dictatorial propensities. Consequently, the American public is not looking to Republicans to hold the president’s hand and play nice in the sandbox. They are looking to Republicans to fix the mess he has made of our country, at home and abroad. This means Americans are expecting Republicans to not just stop but reverse the Obama tidal wave of government handouts, bailouts, entitlements, regulations, foreign policy blunders, lies, distortions, and abuses of power. They are expecting Republicans to clean out government agencies that have been using their power to bully American citizens, re-establish a foreign policy that gets out in front of the world situation rather than just reacting to it or even failing to react, and re-establish the material, manpower, and technological superiority of our military.
But more than anything, Americans expect Republicans to use their Constitutional powers to rein in this out-of-control president and force him to govern within the powers granted to him by the Founders in the Constitution. If this means the House of Representatives will be forced to impeach President Obama, then Republicans in the House must be willing to do so and the Senate must be willing to convict him. The current thinking of political pundits is that President Obama is immune to impeachment because he is America’s first black president. Their thinking goes like this: If Republicans impeach Obama—no matter how much he abuses his power—they will lose all hope of winning in 2016. The pundits were wrong in their prognostications concerning the mid-term elections, and they might just be wrong about impeachment. However, even if they are right, sometimes elected officials must do what is right rather than what is politically expedient.
Let us hope that President Obama will get over his childish snit about the mid-term elections, man up, and govern like an American president is supposed to: within the bounds of his Constitutional authority. However, if he continues to defiantly ignore the Constitution and sign more and more executive orders, he will force the hand of the new Congress. My question is this: Does the new Congress—Republicans and Democrats—have the courage to use its most potent weapon for reining in an out-of-control president? If not, they should not have run for office on November 4th and are not worthy of the offices they hold.