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Red-Blue America: Is Obama about to be impeached?

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Republicans may play with the idea, but they know it would be a mistake

Nah, Republicans aren’t going to impeach Obama — not unless he commits some transgression that even a majority of Democrats decide they can’t support. (He won’t.)

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Even if GOPers think they have a good reason to impeach, they probably won’t, for one very good reason: It would be the end of American politics as we know it.

Think about it: Obama would be the second Democratic president in a row to be impeached by a Republican Congress. Which would signal that Democratic presidents will never be treated as legitimate by the GOP — they barely are now — and thus be an invitation for Democrats to reciprocate, to muck things up as much as possible for every future Republican president, and probably result in the impeachment of the next Republican president facing a Democratic Congress.

And every Republican after that.

The result? Gridlock. Chaos. The nation would become ungovernable. Even at this stage, the process depends on one side offering some minimal level of cooperation to the other. With an impeachment, the incentives to do even that little bit would disappear. It would be every party for itself.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not kidding or exaggerating: The impeachment of Obama — again, barring extraordinary circumstances — would be the beginning of the end of the present constitutional order. A lot of things we take for granted would probably suddenly come under question.

So Republicans won’t impeach. But they will play games with the idea.

They’ll do things like the “impeachment-lite” lawsuit that House Republicans are bringing against the president. They’ll fantasize with constituents at town hall meetings about the need to rein in the tyrannical commander in chief. They’ll make angry statements on Fox News and talk coyly about “the I-word.”

Which, as a matter of fact, is exactly what they’re doing. You can’t blame Democrats for thinking that such signs amount to a warning that impeachment is actually imminent. Their sin? Thinking Republican politicians mean what they say.

Joel Mathis (joelmmathis@gmail.com) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine.

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