Impeachment and the Goldilocks Principle

The first polling I’ve seen comparing public attitudes towards the ideas of impeaching or suing the president is out from CNN/ORC. And it helps explain why the House GOP is pursuing the latter course, unprecedented as it may be.

A majority of Republicans (57/42) favor impeaching Obama and removing him from office for his alleged crimes and misdemeanors, most of them having to do with implementing laws Republicans don’t like. But independents (35/63) and the public at large (33/65) oppose impeachment by roughly two-to-one margins.

The lawsuit idea gets significantly higher Republican support (75/22), and attracts 43% of indies. It does not appear the idea beloved of some conservative opinion-leaders that a suit is too weak a remedy for Obama’s “tyranny” has caught on among the GOP rank-and-file. It’s also far less dramatic, since it doesn’t involve triggering an inherently high-profile constitutional process. So it’s the vengeful gesture Goldilocks would prefer–not too hot, not too cold.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.