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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3 Comments

  1. Gearman0326
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    This is indeed factually correct, He DID in fact open discussion for impeaching Obama- A debate I took part in on his FB page… Open discussion of thoughtful debate… In which we (Those taking part, not Jay) decided that it was an interesting topic for discussion, but questioned if it was meritorious, or in fact, provable in a court of law.

    He also spent several months, if not a year, openly calling for the impeachment of GW Bush at the beginning of each show-

    I don’t always agree with him, but I find that he always makes me think, and re-evaluate my own position on any given issue/topic.

    Thoughtful, open, honest, debate and discussion of current events is a good thing- I’ve found that I learn more from those I disagree with, than from those who think the same.

    Which is why I listen.
    Have a great day!

  2. DavidFromBrighton
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I also benefit from discussions with people who have different points of view. But do you think that Jay engages in or promotes “thoughtful, open, honest debate and discussion?” My conclusion is that he does not. If anything, he does a disservice to the positions he espouses, along these lines: “If Jay thinks X because of Y, and if Y is demonstrably wrong, then X is most likely wrong as well.”

  3. Joe from Kokomo
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I was listening to one of our Massachusetts right-wing radio stations one day just after Obama was elected, and good old Jay was ranting about how Obama needed to be impeached.

    This was in late 2008, mind you, before Obama had even taken office.

    Just sayin’.

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