Is impeachment on the table for the GOP?

IS IMPEACHMENT ON THE TABLE FOR THE GOP?…. It’s too soon to know if Republicans will re-take the House majority, but it’s probably a good time to consider the consequences of a GOP majority. The obvious outcome is gridlock, with Republicans passing right-wing legislation, which would either be blocked by the Senate or vetoed at the White House.

But Jonathan Bernstein argues that we can also expect a GOP majority to at least try to impeach President Obama.

I continue to believe that if Obama sits in the White House for six years with a GOP majority in the House of Representatives that the odds are very good — better than 50 percent — that he’ll be impeached. Not convicted, of course, but impeached, forcing a Senate trial. […]

In fact, impeachment talk moved [Wednesday] from Tea Party rallies to at least one Republican Member of the House, Darrell Issa. And Issa’s not an obscure backbencher; he’s the ranking Republican on Oversight and Government Reform, and he also sits on the Judiciary Committee.

The incentives all run to impeachment, as far as I can tell. The leaders of such an effort would find it easy to cash in (literally, I mean) with books and appearances on the conservative lecture circuit. It’s hard to believe that Rush, Beck and the rest of the gang wouldn’t be tripping over each other to wear the crown of the Host Who Brought Down the socialist gangster president. And we’ve seen the ability, or I should say the lack thereof, of rank-and-file GOP pols to stand up to the talk show yakkers. Besides, it’s not as if a new Republican majority would have a full agenda of legislative items to pass, and what they did have would face an Obama veto (and most likely death in the Senate at any rate). Against all that is the collective preference of the Republican Party not to have a reputation as a pack of loons, but that doesn’t seem to be much of a constraint in practice.

It’s tempting to think of impeachment as a far-fetched, silly idea, barring actual impeachable offenses. But the more I think about it, the more I remember this is the House Republican caucus we’re dealing with. They’re a creative bunch, with no real appreciation for norms or limits.

For that matter, the GOP base would welcome the development — in February, a national Research 2000 poll found that a plurality of rank-and-file Republicans wants to see President Obama impeached. About what? It didn’t matter.

With the base and at least one GOP lawmaker already talking about this, it seems more than fair to ask Republican candidates to go on the record on this.

Throughout 2006, when Republicans realized that Democrats had a very good shot at reclaiming the congressional majority, one of the single most common GOP attacks before the elections was that Dems would try to impeach Bush and/or Cheney if they were in the majority. (The party had no policy platform or accomplishments to point to, so this became their campaign message.)

The talk was so common that Democratic leaders, much to the chagrin for the party’s base, declared unequivocally before the election that impeachment was “off the table.”

So, are Republicans prepared to also take impeachment off the table in advance of these midterm elections? There’s no reason for the GOP to avoid the question — they’re the ones who brought it up.