Unimpeachable Tales in Washington


Written by Robert Knight

All this talk of Republicans on the verge of impeaching President Barack Obama is nonsense, stoked by Democrats and a few wistful conservatives who dream aloud about what, in a constitutional republic, should actually happen to a lawless president.

With Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) running the U.S. Senate, however, it’s not going to happen right now, regardless of the clear merit. If the U.S. House passed an impeachment resolution, Reid would give it no more respect than a used tissue – after waving it around to whip up the party’s base.

House Speaker John Boehner has said this clearly to no good effect other than to provide more ammo to the Left. His denials have had roughly the same impact as when Richard Nixon assured us, “I’m not a crook.” It’s never good to repeat something that your opponents want to pin on you.

But now we have to listen to revisionist history on top of all this.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) impugned the motives of Mr. Boehner for bringing to a floor vote last Wednesday a resolution to sue Mr. Obama for usurping powers delegated by the Constitution to Congress. The measure passed on a party line vote of 225 to 221.

“I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt for impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job,” Ms. Jackson Lee said, reading from the North Korean Constitution. Just kidding about that last part.

She noted, as reported by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, that Democrats who were upset over the war in Iraq “did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.”

To do what? Anything he wants, apparently.

Ms. Jackson Lee seems to have forgotten that she was one of 11 Democrat co-sponsors of a resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in June 2008, entitled, ”Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.”

If you don’t think that was about impeachment, I have some cool, arid, mountainous, seaside property to sell you in Ms. Jackson Lee’s Houston, Texas district.

Just because the impeachment bill didn’t go anywhere doesn’t mean Ms. Jackson Lee can rewrite history, even if that’s her hobby. In January, she said that Americans have done little to help the poor, and that the word “welfare” should be replaced by “transitional living fund.”

As noted on the website DiscovertheNetworks.org, on other occasions, she declared in 2005 that the United States has been a constitutional republic for 400 years (not 217 years), and that astronaut Neil Armstrong planted an American flag on Mars (not the moon).

She outdid herself back in 2010, when she took to the floor to tell fellow congressmen that, in Vietnam, “Victory had been achieved. Today we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.”

The North won the war in 1975 and tucked the South into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976.

On the bright side, at least Rep. Jackson Lee knows that Vietnam is a country or two. Many graduates today think that “Vietnamese” is merely a type of ethnic food.

Speaking of the concept of “victory,” I’d like to go retro for a moment and take issue with something regarded for decades in the popular and political culture as really clever. In 1966, U.S. Sen. George D. Aiken, a liberal Republican from Vermont, suggested that the United States should declare victory in Vietnam and leave. That sage advice has been repeated ad nauseum over the years.

I bet the immediate victims of the communist takeover or the hundreds of thousands of boat people who fled are not laughing. To be fair to Sen. Aiken, what he actually said was far more nuanced:

“The United States could well declare unilaterally … that we have ‘won’ in the sense that our armed forces are in control of most of the field and no potential enemy is in a position to establish its authority over South Vietnam. … It may be a far-fetched proposal, but nothing else has worked.”

Even before Twitter, this half-serious analysis became “declare victory and pull out” – the all-purpose, smart aleck answer to what America should have done. In fact, it’s still being used in reference to Iraq, which is descending into murderous madness. Are we laughing yet?

The same month that Ms. Jackson Lee made her gaffe about Vietnam, she spoke at an NAACP meeting where, as “Gateway Pundit” Glenn Reynolds reports, she derided Tea Party members as racists, saying:

“All those who wore [Klansman] sheets a long time ago have now lifted them off and started wearing [applause], uh, clothing, uh, with a name, say, I am part of the Tea Party.”

Well, this fits President Obama’s supporters’ mantra that anyone opposing his authoritarianism or disastrous foreign policies is a hater.

Responding to the House vote to sue him, Mr. Obama actually told Republicans, “just stop hatin’ all the time.”

Whatever else that is, it’s not presidential. It’s right down there with Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. warning Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert at a hearing, “you don’t want to go there, buddy.”

In a few years, Ms. Jackson Lee will probably tell us that the two men had been discussing vacation plans.

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.com, where this article was originally posted.