In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Impeachment has faded in Republican circles as an option to punish President Barack Obama over his sweeping executive actions to reshape immigration enforcement, ruled out even by hardliners like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who are livid with the president and want to retaliate.

An alternative that has gained some traction among Republicans is to "censure" the president. The idea has been endorsed by King and Rep. Raul Labrador, both influential GOP voices on immigration issues. National Review writer John Fund has been pushing it for months.

"I think we should censure the president of the United States," Labrador said on CBS, days after Obama announced his actions. "I think it’s unfortunate that he did this, I think we need to lay out clearly why this is unlawful."

Republican House leaders have been mum on how they'll respond to Obama, and are waiting to gauge the level of enthusiasm for a censure vote on Tuesday during their first full conference meeting since the president announced his actions.

Read More →

This just in: Hillary Clinton commands a pretty penny when asked to make a public speaking appearance.

As breathless news stories about her hundred-thousand-dollar speaking fees have continued to reappear in some of the nation's biggest news outlets over the last few months, conservative operatives take every chance they get to paint Clinton as an out-of-touch elitist.

A nascent 2016 attack line? Yes, of course. But also an element of conservatives -- and maybe to some extent journalists -- still refighting the last war, when Mitt Romney's personal wealth defined him as aloof and inaccessible.

Peel back the layers, and it is an interesting case study in the GOP's uneasy position in the politics of personal wealth, as Hillary gears up for a campaign that is expected to focus if not explicitly on the theme of income inequality, then to at least play off the issue's striking imagery of struggling lower-class voters left behind by the gilded robber baron class.

Read More →

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been on a tear since Sunday, turning himself into a B storyline as he offers what you might call unvarnished takes on race and crime in America amid the tension in Ferguson, Mo. It started with a "Meet The Press" panel, when he told a black panelist that white police officers wouldn't be in black communities if "you weren't killing each other."

And he hasn't let up while a grand jury has decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown's shooting and heated protests have followed.

Giuliani isn't a stranger to racially charged rhetoric, dating back to his time as mayor, but these recent comments were striking even to one of Giuliani's biographers who was quite familiar with the former mayor's past rhetoric on these issues.

Read More →

Chief Justice John Roberts may be feeling a flash of déjà vu.

For the second time in three years, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case aimed at toppling Obamacare. Roberts again finds himself caught between the wishes of a movement that made him America's most powerful judge, and the reputation of his institution which is being asked to cripple a sitting president's signature law for the first time in nearly 80 years.

Read More →

A St. Louis County grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, and everyone is now trying to figure out what that means.

Brown's death, which surfaced the deeply burrowed and difficult-to-reconcile tensions that in some ways define our nation's history, seems too visceral, too revealing to be without consequence.

But that might be the deep fear that hides behind the second-guessing of the grand jury: No indictment is, as some have said, an indictment of the system. And what if that system is too difficult to change?

"I just think the institutions have to be looked at," Eugene O'Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor who is now a lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York, told TPM on Tuesday. "The titillating gotcha stuff, that's unfortunately what dominates the news. The real issues are profoundly more complicated."

Read More →

Republicans have promised that Congress will act to counter President Barack Obama's sweeping executive actions on immigration and deportations. But the party is divided on what to do, with the conservative flank pushing for confrontation while party leaders urge restraint and take the temperature for a more cautious approach.

"If we handle this poorly it could blow up in our face," said John Feehery, a longtime Republican strategist turned lobbyist who supports immigration reform.

One possibility that has faded quickly is impeachment. Even immigration reform arch-enemy Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has ruled it out. "I don't want to do the 'I word.' Nobody wants to throw the nation into that kind of turmoil," he told CNN on Thursday after Obama's announcement.

The GOP could begin to establish a course of action as early as next week, when Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess, although it might take longer as some aides point out that the newly elected senators will want to have a say once they take office in January.

"There are options like funding restrictions, or just straight-up legislation. But people are looking at all kinds of ideas," one senior Republican aide said.

Here is the TPM breakdown of the possible scenarios, with early and unofficial, back-of-the-envelope probabilities for each one being attempted (none of which precludes other options). Each option contains significant pitfalls for Republicans when it comes to ultimately reversing what they universally decry as a lawless usurpation of legislative power by Obama.

Read More →

TPMLivewire