There’s an old political truism, used semi-exclusively by whichever party finds itself currently in the minority, that serves as three simple words of bitter reminder: “Elections have consequences.”
It’s a line trotted out of the ol’ cliché barn whenever the elected majority does something the minority finds disagreeable. The line is a specific-use modification of the more generally applicable axiom, “To the victor go the spoils,” and it serves to remind the electoral losers that the voters picked the other guy to lead. The mantle granted by an election victory doesn’t crumble simply because of token opposition, hence the aforementioned consequences.
The consequences of President Obama’s reelection to a second term in office are really hitting home right about now. It should come as no surprise to anyone of any political stripe that the lack of accountability afforded the president by his term limits has given him the political freedom to move the country emphatically to the left on a whole host of issues.
Republicans are predictably apoplectic at Obama’s recent rash of brash decisions on climate change, on immigration and on the minimum wage. That outrage should seem like mirrored déjà vu, considering Democrats were just as furious at President George W. Bush’s second-term actions on energy policy, anti-terrorism and foreign policy.
That particular fury peaked in the summer of 2008 when Democrats went so far as to introduce impeachment legislation on the House floor, which, of course, went nowhere.
Numerous calls have arisen from the ether in the past few weeks, demanding the impeachment of the president — most notably from Sarah Palin. If articles of impeachment were, in fact, introduced, they would require confirmation by 60 members of the Democrat-controlled Senate before Obama could be removed from office. The odds of that happening track pretty closely with the odds of cashing a check from that Nigerian prince who keeps emailing you.
In other words, removing Obama from office and a snowball’s chance in hell have much in common.
So, having established that impeding the president’s agenda through impeachment is impossible, it would suffice to say that impeaching the president would be merely a gesture of frustration. And it would be a dumb one, at that; the equivalent of a toddler holding its breath mid-temper tantrum.
I’m sorry to rain on the impeachment parade, but Obama is the duly-elected president of the United States, and as such, he gets to run the country. That’s why we hold those big shindigs every fourth of November.
The president’s vision for the country as a border-less, pseudo-socialist kingdom makes me as sick as anyone, but 51.1 percent of Americans preferred that vision to Mitt Romney’s Thurston Howell impression, so here we are.
The minority party impeaching the president once every decade is a horrible precedent to set, and Republicans need to be the grown-ups here and nip the budding cycle here and now. They need to take all their anger and frustration and helplessness and channel those emotions into wresting control of the Senate in three months.
The irony of comparing those two actions — impeachment versus winning the Senate — is that the latter would do far more to neuter the president than the former. Not to mention that pursuing impeachment would risk angering and mobilizing a lethargic Democrat base into fighting harder against Republican candidates in November.
So please, keep the “I” word out of your mouth and work to shame those among your brethren who refuse to do the same. Let’s let Sarah Palin and her ilk fade into the ash heap of history, and then work like hell to ensure the current crop of Senate Democrats join her there in short order. Elections do, indeed, have consequences, and the best way to bend those consequences in your favor is to win the next one.