The Case for Impeaching Obama

Conservative activists across the country are more obsessed than ever with removing the president from office. What do they think he's done to deserve it?
Senator Ted Cruz is among the Republican lawmakers whose constituents have recently pressured them to impeach President Obama. He said it was "a good question." (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

There’s a hot new idea sweeping the conservative grassroots: impeaching the president.

Republican members of Congress home for the August recess have been pressured by their constituents on the subject at town halls across the country. Indeed, if Democrats thought that President Obama, having produced his original birth certificate and gotten himself easily reelected, might have finally put to rest the right-wing conviction of his illegitimacy, the opposite seems to have occurred: In certain conservative precincts, the determination to oust him is stronger than ever.

At a meeting of a local Republican club in Michigan last week, a woman asked Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, “Who is going to stop Obama from everything that he’s doing against our Constitution?”, while a man chimed in, “Articles of impeachment!” Bentivolio responded, “If I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true. I feel your pain.” But, he said, he didn’t have the evidence.

At a town hall in Texas, Rep. Blake Farenthold was confronted by a constituent with a dossier she said proved Obama’s birth certificate was fraudulent. Farenthold said it’s “a question that I get a lot: If everybody’s so unhappy with what the president’s done, why don’t you impeach him?” The congressman said there were probably enough votes in the House, but impeachment would die in the Senate.

In Muskogee, Oklahoma, the question was posed to Senator Tom Coburn, who said that while he called Obama a “personal friend,” he considered the administration to be lawless and incompetent, and “getting perilously close” to impeachability. In Conroe, Texas, Senator Ted Cruz said a query about impeachment was “a good question,” but just not realistic; he later told National Review, “That’s not a fight we have a prospect of winning.”

The impeachment activists are undeterred by the lawmakers’ reluctance, however. The website records impeachment “rallies” -- often a few people with posters waving at highway traffic from above -- in 17 states.

This week, the movement stands to get a shot in the arm with the release of a new book, Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama From Office. Co-author Aaron Klein, a reporter for the website WorldNetDaily, says preorders of the book by retailers and book clubs were “approaching six figures” prior to its release Tuesday, and the publisher plans to deliver copies to the offices of members of Congress shortly after they return to Washington on September 9.

WND is known for its pursuit of the birth-certificate non-issue, but Klein, a radio host whose other books include The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists, said no space is devoted to birtherism in his book. Its aim, despite the title, is not to advocate impeachment, he claims, but to dispassionately lay out the potential grounds. “I’m trying to present the case journalistically and allow the public to decide,” he said in an interview. “I personally think, yes, there is a strong case for impeachment proceedings on multiple fronts.”

Klein insists this is not a partisan endeavor -- he calls himself an independent and quotes the ACLU and the lefty antiwar group Code Pink in his book, which focuses on alleged overreaches of executive authority. “This is about individual liberty. It’s about the rule of law,” he said. “It’s about whether the separation of powers means anything or not.” While Klein wasn’t on the case when George W. Bush was in office, he says many of the Obama Administration’s alleged national-security offenses might have applied then, too.

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Molly Ball is a staff writer covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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