Ethan: So your 2008 vice presidential candidate has called for the impeachment of President Obama. To quote former Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: “The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.” You in?
Phil: A topic not even worthy of my fingertips tapping a keyboard.
Ethan: Agreed. Their outrage is absurd.
Phil: Wait a minute. I didn’t say their outrage was without merit. I simply said their path of resolution was absurd. There are many constitutional questions that this president has caused to be raised.
Ethan: Here we go …
Phil: Look, the guy has changed Obamacare without congressional approval 23 times. From delaying the employer and individual mandates, to doubling deductibles, to closing the high-risk pool, he has decided to do whatever he wants. I wouldn’t impeach him over it, but I certainly would take these issues to court so he and we know whether Congress is even relevant.
Ethan: And you’d lose. Those changes are administrative and well within his power.
Phil: So now in addition to your political analyst expertise you’re a Supreme Court jurist?
Ethan: Perhaps not the Supreme Court, but I did play a lawyer in my acting days.
Phil: I would love to see the reruns. Somehow you believe that he, by administrative fiat, can change, delay or not enforce any part of the law he chooses?
Ethan: No, I don’t. But I do believe, as Congress empowered in 1946 and the Supreme Court affirmed in 1984, that the administration has great flexibility in implementing laws. That flexibility can range from clarifying ambiguous language to delaying parts of the law until it can be implemented smartly.
Phil: Your party thrust health care onto America without a single Republican vote. And now you change it at will. This arrogant and dictatorial temperament will come back to haunt us all as future presidents behave similarly.
Ethan: Future? George W. Bush used the same executive authority to authorize waterboarding! But honestly, we wouldn’t be in this mess if Republican members of Congress would cooperate. Obama has had no choice but to go it alone.
Phil: The Constitution was created so that no one branch of government (including President Bush) could take the “my way or get out of the way” approach. Take immigration policy. Congress has passed law after law affirming that our borders be secured. Obama has ignored the mandate. Now, as thousands of desperate children flood our Southwest, he won’t even take the time to witness the impact firsthand.
Ethan: Obama deported 1.4 million people in his first term. That is 12,000 more a month than the previous high, accomplished by the aforementioned George W. Bush. Now, if you are looking for grounds to impeach, perhaps the unhumanitarian approach of this administration to new Americans might be cause.
Phil: You seem to minimize the significance of my concerns, yet the Supreme Court is on my side. Obama has been found numerous times, unanimously, to have violated the constitution. Most recently his misuse of the EPA to strong-arm citizens and his “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
Ethan: I’ll give you the NLRB. Clearly the court said his actions were an overreach. But the EPA case was a suit against the Bush administration – funny how his name keeps coming up. My guy was just mopping up your guy’s mess. In either case, these are hardly impeachable offenses.
Phil: Meanwhile Obama has implemented things like ordering Boeing to shut down a plant in South Carolina, denying 1,000 people work because it was nonunion, and he has given aid to Egypt in violation of federal law. I could go on, but you get the point.
Ethan: Wow, from the Carolinas to Cairo, you’ve got a million of ’em. Obama didn’t order Boeing to shut down. Boeing was found in violation of fair labor standards. In terms of Egypt, give me a break. If your standard for impeachment is presidents deceptively getting involved in foreign wars, you will have quite a long docket of impeachment articles for the Senate to review: Kennedy in Cuba; Nixon in Chile; Reagan in Honduras; Bush in Iraq.
Phil: You are making my point. Where is the line? This president has declared he will act alone. And while I have already said I am not in favor of impeachment, I am in favor of this and future presidents being held accountable to the limits of their constitutional power.
Ethan: He was, as was George Bush. It was called the presidential elections of 2012 and 2004 respectively. The people have said they are comfortable with the balance.
Phil: Winning an election doesn’t mean a president can do as he wants, but let’s see what the midterms say.