Jay Severin’s cries for impeachment

Jay Severin has been calling for President Obama’s impeachment for some time. Today he’s taken the level of intensity up a notch on news of the revised protocols for the use of nuclear weapons by the United States.

Jay asked of the President’s decision: “Can someone explain to me how this is not impeachable?”

I’ll try. For the record, here’s what the Constitution says:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

I think we can safely set aside bribery for the time being, so let’s consider “treason” and “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The Constitution itself defines treason:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Now I suppose one could argue that Obama has been giving “aid and comfort” to “enemies” of the United States by being weak on defense. But I don’t think any reasonable person would consider a change in defensive strategy to be treason, particularly when that strategy has been approved by the duly appointed and confirmed Secretary of Defense.

So can Obama’s actions – whether on nuclear policy or on anything else that has Jay’s knickers in a twist – be considered “high crimes and misdemeanors?” That’s a trickier question. Good resources on the “high crimes and misdemeanors” provision in the Constitution can be found here and here and here. As far as I can tell, high crimes and misdemeanors are in the eye of the beholder, and in this case the beholder is the House and Senate. It appears that the founding fathers wanted to give the legislative branch pretty wide latitude in terms of finding a reason for impeachment, but they also wanted to make it damn hard to actually remove someone from office.

So I must reluctantly conclude that what Obama has done is “impeachable.” But then, so was just about everything newsworthy that any president has ever done. The question is not whether something is impeachable. The question is whether impeachment proceedings are worth the time.

Jay offered two reasons today why no one in Congress will introduce articles of impeachment:

1. Nobody [in the Republican party] has the guts.

2. They know it won’t go anywhere as long as the Obamunists still control the Congress.

That’s right, Jay. Obama is not going to be impeached by this House of Representatives and is not going to be convicted by this or any future Senate.

So why is this not an impeachable offense? Because the founding fathers, in their wisdom, didn’t want it to be.

Coda: Jay also asked “Is there a time in your lifetime when impeachment has been more appropriate than it is now?” Yes, there is: When Ronald Reagan broke the law in the Iran-Contra scandal. Or when George W. Bush took us to war based on terrible intelligence. And let’s not forget that Richard Nixon was this close to impeachment when he resigned. Do you disagree?

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