First, let’s start with what the Constitution defines as offenses warranting impeachment and removal from office. Those can be found in Article II, Section 4:
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.
Treason and bribery are pretty straightforward, but what, exactly, constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors. Here’s what former House Minority Leader (and former president) Gerald Ford (R-Michigan) said about them:
An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office.
So, if you don’t like the president’s hair color? Impeach!
Don’t like his speech? Impeach!
Don’t like that his policies are helping our country recover from the disaster of the Bush years? Impeach!
Don’t like that he supports equality? Impeach!
Don’t like that he’s ended the wars and kept America safe? Impeach!
Don’t like that the American people twice voted for him? Impeach!
As long as you can get 218 members of the House of Representatives to set their hair on fire about something that annoys them about the President of the United States, you can go ahead and impeach him just because. There doesn’t need to be any reason. No matter what happened, and no matter who is responsible, just remember that it’s all the president’s fault; so just impeach!
And, Republicans, if you do carry through with your initial threats just remember that three presidents will have been impeached. All three would have been Democrats impeached by partisan Republicans; and that would include impeaching the last two Democratic presidents.
Impeachment is designed for grave instances where the president refuses to cede power despite no longer being fit for office. It is not designed as a political bludgeon used to bully a president from the other party. The remedy for removing a president from office for policy disagreements is the ballot box, not the impeachment vote.
Besides, if you do impeach the president, what do you think will happen? Do you think that 22 Senate Democrats will join you in voting to remove President Obama? Do you think it will even get past the House managers and Chief Justice John Roberts parading in before Harry Reid makes a successful motion to dismiss the articles of impeachment and enter a directed verdict of acquittal?
Just admit that Barack Obama will be President of the United States until noon on January 20, 2017. Then you can get your Benghazi crazy on again once Hillary Rodham Clinton finishes delivering her inaugural speech.