LULING, Texas — The Republican-led House of Representatives would impeach President Obama “tomorrow” if it came to a vote, a GOP congressman revealed during a town hall over the weekend.
“I’ll give you a real frank answer about that,” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) told constituents on Saturday on the topic of potentially impeaching Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors. “If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it,” Farenthold announced. However, because the Democratic-controlled Senate would be unlikely to convict, the Texas congressman cautioned against proceeding on impeachment because a failed attempt would send a “message” that Obama’s actions are “okay.”
FARENTHOLD: Here’s the issue. You tie into a question I get a lot. If everybody’s so unhappy with what the president’s done, why don’t you impeach him? I’ll give you a real frank answer about that. If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted. [...] We saw what happened when President Clinton was impeached. I say this half in jest and half seriously because it’s easy to laugh at President Clinton, but as a result of impeaching President Clinton, we’ve redefined what sex is to a lot of our young people and we’ve said it’s okay to lie to Congress. I think that’s been woven into the thread of our society. That failed impeachment attempt actually damaged the country. What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for, is found innocent? What do we say then is okay?
Setting aside Farenthold’s claim that President Clinton “redefined what sex is to a lot of our young people” — oral sex actually existed long before the Clinton Administration — his assertion that House Republicans have the votes to impeach President Obama is quite remarkable. There are currently 234 Republicans in the House. Assuming no Democrats would vote in favor, that means over 93 percent of House GOPers would support impeachment, according to Farenthold’s assertion. A handful of Republicans have already announced their desire to impeach Obama for various reasons, including Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trey Radel (R-FL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
In a sign of just how far to the right Republicans like Farenthold, who was first elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, have swung, he didn’t even feel the need to give a reason precisely why President Obama should be impeached. Indeed, readers could be forgiven for assuming that House Republicans would go along with any rationale, so long as the end result was impeaching Obama.
Some of the various excuses Republican congressmen have used in the past to support impeachment include Obama’s unwillingness to defend the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, his support for stronger gun laws, budget deficits, “refusing to secure the borders,” to tie up his agenda, and to get his birth certificate.