Archive for June, 2014

Don’t fall for the impeachment trap

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

President Obama is goading Republicans in Congress to impeach him. Every time he abuses executive actions to rule by fiat, flaunts immigration and other laws or frees dangerous terrorists, he seems to be begging for impeachment.

That’s the point. It seems like he wants to be impeached because he does.

Huh? Why? Isn’t impeachment that last thing that a self-centered narcissist like Obama would want?

While Obama is a terrible administrator and a horrible president, he is nevertheless a shrewd, skilled, accomplished political strategist. He wants to head off the likely change of control of the U. S. Senate this fall (or at least minimize senate losses so that the majority could be taken back in 2016). He justifiably fears that a Republican president and Congress succeeding him in 2016 could destroy his legacy by repealing everything he accomplished.

Obama is painfully aware of the failure of his signature health insurance legislation and of his tanking poll numbers. He also knows America’s political history, that the political party of every American president since the Civil War, except one, has suffered big congressional losses in the off-year election of his second term. That even happened to popular legendary presidents, like FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan. This year that would put Democrat control of the U.S.Senate in peril. And Obama also knows that the one exception to that trend – Bill Clinton – avoided that loss in 1998, following his impeachment by Newt Gingrich’s Republican House of Representatives. As deserving as Clinton was for impeachment and removal from office after his blatant perjury in a televised deposition, enough of the wishy-washy middle-of-the-road voters who regrettably decide our elections were sufficiently put off by the impeachment that they bucked tradition and voted for Democrat candidates for house and senate (where Clinton’s fate would be decided). The anti-Republican fervor continued two years later, propelling Vice-President Al Gore to a popular-vote win for president. Republicans took the White House only because of George W. Bush’s excellent – and decisive – strategy aimed at winning the Electoral College. (While the Florida recount gripped America’s attention for weeks, it was actually surprise Bush wins in theretofore reliably Democratic West Virginia and the home states of both Clinton (Arkansas) and Gore himself (Tennessee) that paved the way for Bush’s win.)

That’s why, after having seized control of Congress in 2006, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snuffed out calls by some Democrat members to impeach unpopular President George W. Bush. She didn’t want to risk backlash that might have cost Democrats the White House in 2008.

And Obama also knows about something else that could save his senate this year. Minority voters, especially African Americans, remain fiercely loyal to their struggling president. Historically these voters don’t bother to vote in off-year elections. As recently as 2010, they stayed away in droves, allowing the tea party revolt among engaged white voters to win back the House of Representatives. Obama is betting, probably correctly, that the threat of Obama’s removal from office would gin up minority turnout to near-presidential levels and save Democrat senate seats in North Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan and Virginia, and maybe even put Democrat challengers over the top in Georgia and Kentucky. Even if Democrats lose other vulnerable senate seats, wins in those states would preserve Democrat control of the upper chamber. That would maintain Democrat control over judicial confirmations, block Republican legislation passed by the House, and could also set the stage for Democrat wins in 2016.

National Enquirer impeachmentDemocrat surrogates are already planting seeds for impeachment, without leaving Democrat fingerprints that could foil the plan. The top story in current (June 23, 2014) issue of the National Enquirer blasts Obama over releasing the Taliban Five in exchange for an “Army ‘deserter'”, while a button on the front page proclaims “IMPEACH HIM NOW!” Few realize that executives of American Media, Inc., the owner of the Enquirer, including CEO David J. Pecker, make political contributions exclusively to Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chicago Mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emmanuel, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker and former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, co-sponsor of articles of impeachment against George W. Bush). The high-profile Enquirer article doesn’t represent a groundswell of public support for impeachment; it’s Democrat dialectic, an old communist strategy.

The strategy isn’t as risky for Obama as it sounds. Like Clinton, Obama would be almost certain to be acquitted by the Senate. Senate Democrats would vote for acquittal even if Obama planted a nuclear warhead inside a baby seal and detonated it at a camp for handicapped children on live television. Even if Republicans would succeed in taking over the senate this year and the impeachment trial were to take place after the change in control, the steadfastly pro-Obama lame stream media would shame enough blue-state Republicans to vote for acquittal to carry the day. Just like 1998. Obama would then play both the race card and the victim card and receive the same post-presidency approval that Clinton enjoys today.

Of course, those who propose impeachment are absolutely right on policy grounds. The simple fact is, our country is in danger every day that Obama is allowed to remain in charge, and he has clearly committed impeachable acts. But unless enough congressional Democrats make impeachment a bipartisan effort to save the country, Republicans should avoid taking the bait. While good policy usually makes for good politics, the impeachment of Barack Obama is an exception.

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Why GOP must win big in 2014 senate contests

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

For conservatives in 2014, 6 is a serious number. That’s how many net U.S. Senate seats currently held by Democrats need to be taken over by Republicans this year in order to take control of the chamber away from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democrats.

Serious. But not serious enough. In order to insure Senate control beyond two years and into the next president’s administration, Republicans realistically need to convert at least 10 current Democrat senate seats, and more would be better.

Republicans need to play this chess game at least one move ahead because of what confronts them in 2016. That is when the seats won in the Tea Party wave of 2010 must be defended in a presidential year in what may well be a less favorable political environment. Vulnerable Republican Senators that year include freshmen holding seats in deep-blue Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Retirements or contentious primaries could also put Republican seats in purple Arizona and Iowa in jeopardy. Here in Missouri, Democrats (and their allies in the press) are already polishing the images of term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon and term-limited State Treasurer Clint Zweifel for possible challenges to freshman Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Chances for offsetting 2016 GOP pickups of Democrat seats are probably limited to long shots in Colorado and Nevada. Even without coattails from a Democratic presidential win, a net four-seat Republican loss in 2016 is a realistic possibility.

Ten new Republican senate seats are needed in order to make up both the current 6-seat deficit and to allow for a net loss of four in two years. A Republican presidential win in 2016 would shave that number by one by giving the Republican vice-presidential candidate the tie-breaking vote now held by Joe Biden, but the GOP can’t rely on that happening.

Capturing ten or more net seats is a tall task,  but this is the year when it could be done. The seats that are up for election this year are those elected in 2008, when Democrats won by riding a partisan wave generated by the unpopularity of outgoing Republican President George W. Bush and the intriguing “hope and change” campaign of Barack Obama. This year they must fight a counter partisan wave generated by the unpopularity of President Obama and his legislation that every one of them supported. With 2016 lurking on the horizon, Republicans need to maximize their 2014 advantage.

Six current Democrat seats up this year are in red states that both John McCain and Mitt Romney won in their unsuccessful presidential runs. A seventh is in a state that McCain lost but Romney won. Democrats have virtually conceded three of those seats, where incumbent Sens. Max Baucus (MT), Tim Johnson (SD) and Jay Rockefeller (WV) aren’t even seeking re-election, while Republican challengers to Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Kay Hagan (NC) are either already leading in the polls or within striking distance.

Additional seats in purple or blue states are also in serious play. Open seats in Michigan and Iowa are currently tossups, with flawed Democratic candidates. A wave like 2010 could also give Republican challengers a serious chance to oust first-term incumbents in Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia. Republicans have recruited quality challengers in all of those states.

Partially tempering the possible magnitude of the 2014 wave is the possibility that Democrats could seize Republican seats in deep-red Kentucky (where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is unpopular and just survived a contentious primary) and Georgia (where Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement provoked another contentious Republican primary). At present, the personal popularity of blue-state Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) appears to keep her seat safe, but circumstances can change (as they did in 2012, when Maine’s other popular Republican senator, Olympia Snowe, retired unexpectedly).

That means Republicans must pretty much run the table of nearly all 17 (15 Democratic and 2 Republican) senate seats reasonably in play in 2014. That means neither the establishment nor the Tea Party can afford the luxury of sitting out an election whose primary their side lost. As I have written before, the worst RINO is still better than the best DINO, because each votes the party line when organizing control of the senate. As Dick Morris recently noted, senate control means, at minimum, control over judicial confirmations and treaty ratification (including the ability to reject unratified treaties that are nevertheless in effect under the Vienna Convention), as well as the ability to join the Republican House in passing good legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support but is currently being blocked by the Democratic leadership.

Six may be a serious number for St. Louis Cardinals fans seeking cheap drinks at a gas station, but serious Senate math realistically requires Republicans to score not just a minimum six, but a big double-digit conquest this year. Even the historic 1994 Republican takeover of Congress only included 9 new senate seats, and the 2010 Tea Party revolt netted only 7. The Republicans’ most recent double-digit gain was the 12-seat take in 1980, thanks to coattails from Ronald Reagan’s ouster of President Jimmy Carter. We need another Gipper moment this year.