Rhyme no reason

  • By Bob Franken
  • Saturday, August 2, 2014 8:39pm
  • News

Now the extremists have a lesson to teach, To their Satan, Obama, whom they want to impeach. But some in their party — the ones who are saner, Like Gingrich and Rove and notably Boehner, Say that tactically this is a gross overreach. Or how about this? Instead of folding or running away, White House folks taunt them into making their play, Their base has been quiet, their voters quite lazy, Impeachment could rile them, make them turn out like crazy, So, they’re telling the wingnuts, “go ahead make our day.”

Silly, yes, but nowhere near as silly as the idiotic clamor from the leading intellectual lights of the far right, the Sarah Palins and Allan Wests of this world who say that the time has come to end Barack Obama’s presidency, without waiting for a replacement to be chosen in the orderly way. Their shrill rallying cry has caused a clamor. Unfortunately for them, most of the ruckus has come not from the conservative spectrum, but from those on the left, who can’t seem to talk about it enough.

And why not? We have a midterm election coming up, and most of us in the biz believe the GOP is going to walk all over the D’s. In large part, that’s because this year, “D” stands for “Dispirited.” There is a real lack of enthusiasm on the left, no fervor to match the anti-Obama intensity on the right.

Those who are anti anti-Obama need to wake up their supporters, to get them off their lethargic apathies and rile them up so much that they’ll bother to go to the polls and prevent a Republican takeover of the Senate, which for the moment is their last shield against the constant bombardment from the militants in the House. So is it any wonder that they’re the ones publicizing the enemy’s talk of impeachment every chance they get? White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer talks of the “possibility”; even Michelle Obama is quoted about it.

Many Republicans are cringing. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who knows a thing or two about overplaying his hand, cautions that the Democrats are bringing it up every chance they can because “they want to raise money off it.” No doubt about that. The current Speaker John Boehner calls it a “Democratic scam.”

Of course, many Democrats contend Boehner is running a bit of a scam himself with the suit his House Republicans are pursuing against President Obama for failure to fulfill his constitutional responsibility and “faithfully execute” the laws precisely as passed by Congress. Specifically the litigation would fault the president’s decision to delay the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Never mind that Boehner and his merry gang have tried to repeal ACA about every time they’ve convened, and never mind that presidents routinely take such executive actions, Boehner is proceeding with the litigation. Even though there’s a question whether a judge would even accept it, the speaker would like it to be perceived as a rational alternative to the more draconian impeachment campaign. And it’s certainly a distraction from the embarrassing performance of Congress. Blame for that one can be placed on both parties. It’s not just the House that’s a hotbed of rabble rousing. The Senate, that bastion of phony good manners, has gone bonkers with its nasty partisanship.

Most people complain that it’s impossible to get anything done. There are some, though, who argue that is a good thing, because at least with gridlock our fearless leaders aren’t able to make things worse. For this cast of characters, paralysis is the best we can hope for.

Washington’s truly an ugly place, Good government here leaves hardly a trace. Next year, you say, there’ll be new direction? After all, we’ll be done with the midterm election. But it gets even worse with the president race.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

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