There are other concerns as well—concerns which all but take our minds off the presidential race completely. Those concerns have to do not only with the myriad problems the Obama Administration has created over the last seven years, but those we anticipate over the course of his final year. Certainly given his track record, with each new day Obama will continue to subvert the Constitution and its system of checks and balances. No doubt in the coming year, Obama will significantly step up his efforts to damage this nation in the long-term.
Congress, under Democrat control, acted as the initial enabler of Barack Obama by passing his healthcare legislation on technicalities in the dark night hours. Rules were changed and bills were pigeon-holed with no chance of ever coming to the floor for vote. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid used their respective offices of Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader to make sure that Mr. Obama never had to veto a controversial bill. The public soon tired of that shenanigans and responded to the Republicans lack of power by essentially handing them the House in the 2014 and giving them additional seats in the Senate—enough to push both Pelosi and Reid out of their leadership roles. Nevertheless, promises made by the Republicans to take action to block Obama’s lawless efforts came to naught, and it was not long before it became obvious that the Republicans—due in large part to their leadership—were going to sit on their hands.
The Republican House and Senate leadership under Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell belied their 2014 pre-election stands by immediately pacifying Obama and capitulating to his demands. Sweeping the “power of the purse” option completely off the table, they quickly moved to sign the next continuing resolution to fund the government, vowing to never shut it down. Soon it was quite clear that going-along-to- get-along cronyism was alive and well in Washington, and representatives of both parties did not want any change. No upsetting of the apple cart, i.e., losing the ability to buy your constituency and power through pork-barreling. New and anti-establishment conservatives sent to Washington to turn the tide were blackballed by RINOs in residence, and Obama's propensity to attack the Constitution via Executive Order or pen and phone continued unhindered.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner soon cracked under public criticism and gave up the Speakership to be replaced by Republican Representative Paul Ryan, from whom conservatives expected a shift to fiscal sanity. Unfortunately, that expectation was short-lived: Obama got everything that he wanted in a $1.8 trillion omnibus bill passed the Friday before Christmas. Ryan seemed to be continuing down the same road that Boehner trod—kowtowing to Obama. Later, Ryan would state that he had not been able to do anything because he was too busy taking out Boehner’s garbage during the remainder of 2015. Somewhere in that statement, there was a ray of hope for conservatives.
Recently, Ryan and the Republicans did make an effort and put a bill on Obama’s desk calling for the repeal of the current healthcare legislation and a termination of government funding of Planned Parenthood—a bill Obama was quick to veto, of course. Among conservatives, there was an outcry that Ryan & Co. were wasting time and money doing things that had such a predictable outcome. Sadly, these people missed the point. The point of putting things on Obama’s desk is to make him accountable for vetoing what a majority of the populace clearly wants. Certainly Ryan & Co. expected the veto from the outset, but this effort represents the first time since Obama's taken office that Republicans have taken a stand on principle. It also sends a message that the House, under Ryan’s leadership, is willing to act. That is a very important message, since the House is where impeachment proceedings are initiated. One might hope that the vetoed legislation represented a shot across the bow to Obama, putting him on notice that it will no longer be business as usual in D.C.
If Obama is to be contained during his last year in office, it will only be because he fears the possibility of impeachment. Up until now, the Republicans have invoked the mantra, there is no possibility of impeachment because we will not win, by “win” one presumes they mean removing Obama from office. Our history bears this out: Using impeachment to remove a sitting president has largely been an unsuccessful endeavor. However, keep in mind that the Founding Fathers never envisioned impeachment as a win or lose proposition. It was put in place as a means of standing on principle—a way of alleging that the person being impeached had violated the oath and the sanctity of the high office of president. Even if impeachment proceedings do not result in conviction, the stigma of impeachment remains a stain on the individual's legacy.
If Obama cares about his legacy—and indications are he surely does—he does not want to open himself up to the possibility of being impeached. At the same time, however, he is focused on fundamentally changing our national identity in the remaining time left to him. Unless the Republicans strongly oppose his lawlessness over the course of the next year and make the threat of impeachment a reality, this man will know no bounds in carrying out his agenda. Considering everything else the Republicans have taken off the table, impeachment is about the only throttling mechanism left to protect the Constitution and the American people. I say it’s time we used it and stop hiding behind our fear of Obama & Co. pulling the race card.
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