Just Where The Hell Do They Think He’s Going?

The latest talking point out of the Republicans over the debt ceiling has done the impossible: it’s out-dumbed Obama’s “don’t call my bluff” and everything else the Democrats have said. I’ve lost count of how many high-ranking Republicans have said that there will not be a solution as long as Obama is president.

 

I understand the sentiment, and think that it has a germ of truth to it — he’s being incredibly obstinate and resolute by demanding trillions in taxes now while offering billions in vague cuts later — but this “Obama has to go” is just beyond stupid.

 

Let’s look at that. Pending some very special circumstances, Obama is going to remain president until January 20, 2013 at the very least. Just what are those circumstances?

Well, he can die. He can die of natural causes, or of unnatural causes. In the case of the former, Obama is relatively young, in excellent health, and has the world’s best health care. That’s no guarantee, of course, but only three presidents have died of natural causes in our history.

 

On the other hand, three presidents have been assassinated, two more wounded, and many, many more have escaped attempts. So there’s a possibility — is that the sort of thing we should be (even implicitly) wishing for?

 

To that, the only sensible answer isn’t “no,” but “hell, no.” As bad as Obama is, his assassination would achieve the nigh-impossible: it would make things worse. First up, he’d become a martyr, and his agenda would get a huge boost. Second, when a president is assassinated, it really, really screws up the country and the people for a while. It leaves a nasty scar on the national psyche that doesn’t go away — ask anyone of an age to remember where they were when they heard Kennedy was assassinated. Or, the younger ones (my generation), when Reagan was shot or when the Challenger exploded. Or when 9/11 happened. Then multiply that by about a dozen.

 

Finally, two words that ought to seal that idea off entirely: “President Biden.”

 

So, Obama’s removal from office by death is not something we should even remotely hope for. That’s the most extreme way of getting him out of office, but hardly the only way.

 

Well, we can impeach and convict him, and remove him from office. That’s how the Constitution says it can and should be done.

 

The first part isn’t so tough. All it takes is a simple majority of the House of Representatives. The Republicans have a comfortable majority in the House, and I could easily come up with some decent grounds for impeachment. And it’s pretty much established wisdom that “an impeachable offense” is whatever the House says it is.

 

But that’s just the first part of the process. You need 2/3 of the Senate to convict and remove the president, and that just ain’t gonna happen. Period. And then we end up with Obama as a martyr again — not as much as if he were assassinated, but look at how Clinton came out of his impeachment.

 

Finally, he could resign. That’s the most likely of the three, but that ain’t saying much. And while Obama certainly seems to be growing bored and frustrated with the actual work of being president, he’s deeply enamored of the perks of the job. There ain’t no way he’s giving up the lavish parties, Air Force One, Marine One, Limo One, the prestige, the fame, the glamor — especially since we’re picking up the tab for him. When he finally does have to leave the White House, we’re probably going to need the Supreme Court to issue an eviction notice, served by Navy Seals.

 

So, what’s the point of saying we ain’t getting a debt ceiling deal while Obama is in office? All it achieves is to insult Obama (which I approve of on general principles, but this time it’s counterproductive) and imply that we ain’t addressing this issue for another year and a half. And that seriously undercuts the message that this is an urgent crisis.

 

The Republicans have the right side of this argument. And they have some winning arguments on their side. This one, though — it’s just incredibly stupid and unproductive. Whoever thought it would do them any good whatsoever either needs their medications checked, or locked in a basement until the whole matter is settled.

Given Sheila Jackson Lee's logic, George W. Bush was the first black President
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