Sarah Palin, your wish is not granted.
A panel of the House’s staunchest conservatives on Tuesday rebuffed the former Alaska governor when asked about her call last week for impeaching President Barack Obama. Some said impeachment was impractical, some said it would hurt the GOP politically and others cautioned that Obama hasn’t committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
“I would not” impeach the president, said Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID). “I don’t think it’s gotten to the level of impeachable offenses yet. I believe that Sarah Palin … doesn’t have the burden of leadership right now,” he said. “It’s really easy for her to go on Fox News and make statements that she doesn’t have to be accountable to anybody but herself.”
He said “the reality is that impeachment is a political process” and that “I don’t think the American people — as a whole, in general, they don’t believe the president should be impeached.” He stressed that Republicans should redouble their investigations against Obama administration officials, such as IRS officials.
Speaking at a regular “Conversations With Conservatives” panel on Capitol Hill hosted by the Heritage Foundation, the six Republicans agreed that Obama is flouting the law and should be held accountable. But none of them were prepared to jump on the impeachment bandwagon.
“I think it’s debatable,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). “I certainly think the president has gone out of his way to not enforce some of the laws that the Congress thinks he should be enforcing. Impeachment is for high crimes and misdemeanors. … Having gone through the impeachment process with President Clinton, as a practical matter it wouldn’t be possible even if we made the decision today to do it because of the complexity of the procedure.”
“If you’re going to impeach a president of the United States you need to do it right,” he said. “We’ve never convicted a president. We’ve impeached two. … At this point I don’t think it would be a good use of the Congress’s remaining time to start impeachment proceedings.”
“I like Sarah Palin,” said Rep. John Duncan (R-TN). But “nothing would fire up the base of the Democrats more than an impeachment action” and “turn off some of the independents who are leaning our way.” He warned that initiating impeachment proceedings would help Democrats retain control of the Senate.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said the courts are beginning to hold Obama “accountable” and voiced support for Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) plan to file a lawsuit against the president for delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate.
“I think that’s right on target,” he said.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), a Class of 2010 rabble-rouser within the conference, said he has heard Palin’s concerns echoed by “many Americans” who are “concerned about the lawlessness of” the administration. He said the House ought to go after the administration and “hold this president accountable through the power of the purse. We just have to use it.”
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) was somewhat more sympathetic to the idea but even he opposed initiating impeachment proceedings “right now,” arguing that the House is too busy to get to it.
“The president deserves to be impeached. Plain and simple,” he said. “But … we have so much on our plate that it’s not practical. We don’t have the Senate. … So I don’t think it’s practical that we impeach him right now but he definitely deserves.”
Labrador added, “And nobody wants a President Joe Biden.”