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J.E. Dyer: Palin and the strategic impeachment question

Most of the criticism of Governor Palin’s call for Obama’s impeachment has been political. In short, the conventional wisdom on the right goes something like this: Obama has certainly violated his oath to protect and defend the constitution but he should be given a pass because it would be politically … what?… uncomfortable to hold him to account, so, therefore, we should dismiss all talk of impeachment as "unserious" or something because it might hurt the GOP’s electoral prospects in November. In an excellent piece, J.E. Dyer makes the case that not all decisions can or should be framed by politics alone, that sometimes we must find the will to do what is right, beltway politics be damned. With America’s future as a free country at stake due to the unprecedented lawlessness of this administration, by any objective measure this is one of those times: Our country’s survival is more important than petty partisan politics. Here are a few excerpts from Dyer’s article:

But Sarah Palin’s call for impeachment (video below), far from being unserious, reframes the issue in a larger context.  If Andrew McCarthy has made the prosecutorial case for impeachment, Palin makes the strategic case for impeachment.  From her implied perspective, the prosecutorial case is a supporting effort.  The main effort is removing Obama from office.  The reason is that he is transforming America – fatally, unacceptably – in ways that are inconsistent with the provisions of our Constitution and our nation’s very founding purpose.


The burden of Palin’s case is actually found in just two sentences from her Facebook video.  Speaking of what Obama is likely to do in the next two years to expand executive overreach, she says:

We can’t let what we know is going to happen next happen.

Right near the end of the video, she concludes with the following:

We’re in a lot of trouble and things are only going to get worse until we send this message, that it is time to impeach.

Palin is warning that there is an emergency for the republic that overrides the prescriptive calculations of politics.  A natural follow-on question, from this perspective, would be whether we consider the conventions of politics to be a suicide pact.  Must political analysis about factions and the next election dictate our course of action?


In purely strategic terms, there’s another important point about this.  If conservatives don’t have a larger goal than impeaching Obama, then anything that comes along can knock us off course in the attempt.  Others who have prosecuted long-term strategies can vouch for this.  The “impeach Obama” effort can tack and trim, but the larger goal of correcting America’s overall political course has to remain a true north keeping us on base course.

The scariest part of the strategy – at least for the GOP establishment – is changing the coin of political dialogue: consciously ceasing to accept the terms framed by the last century’s media-approved, leftist-defined conventions.  Only some of our political and opinion leaders have the necessary facility with that to make headway – and headway will have to be made.  More and more of the American people realize something is very wrong in our polity, but most will have to hear someone else articulate compelling ideas about what it is in order to frame their own thoughts.

There are very few politicians who are doing that fearlessly already.  But I think we can learn from both Palin and Cruz on this matter, by looking at their approaches to the impeachment question.

Palin, whose political experience is executive, chose to make a categorical case for what must be done.  That’s actually what an executive leader does.  She didn’t hedge her case with a discussion of caveats and political obstacles.  She assuredly understood that she would come in for a lot of criticism, but it wasn’t her purpose to deflect criticism.  Her purpose was to make a case to the people for what needs to be done.

Again, there’s much more to Dyer’s article and I urge you go here and read the whole thing.

(h/t Whitney Pitcher)

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