THERE’S THAT ‘I’ WORD AGAIN…. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) sure sounds excited about the midterm elections. In particular, the people Bachmann talks to really hate the president.

“[T]he thing is, here we are, people can’t wait until November. They’re practically lining up for polls now, they can’t wait to go out and vote. The only thing is people wish Barack Obama was up for re-election right now, because they’d honestly love to have a chance to throw him out of office. Everywhere I go, people ask me, ‘Michele, can we impeach the president?’”

Hmm. Everywhere Bachmann goes, people emphasize their desire to see the president impeached. Impeached for what? Bachmann didn’t say, and given the deranged crowd she hangs out with, it’s probably safe to assume that it doesn’t much matter. (As a rule, those seeking to undo national elections might look for “high crimes,” but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that those pushing the issue with Bachmann don’t care if Obama has actually committed an impeachable offense or not.)

In this case, Bachmann didn’t say exactly whether she supports presidential impeachment; it’s just what “people” say “everywhere” she goes.

But this brings me back to a point from a couple of weeks ago — how seriously are Republicans prepared to take this whole impeachment idea?

Obviously, President Obama hasn’t committed any crimes, and there are no sane reasons for anyone to try to impeach him. But House Republicans have been known to take some stupendously crazy steps, so it’s hardly unreasonable to ask now — before the election.

Remember, 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 presidential impeachment was “off the table.”

So, are Republicans prepared to also take impeachment off the table in advance of these midterm elections? Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) has raised the specter of impeachment. So has Michele Bachmman. Fox News has, too. In February, a national poll found that a plurality of rank-and-file Republicans wants to see Obama impeached.

Is it on the table for 2011 or not? Voters should know what to expect from the next Congress. At this point, there’s no reason for the GOP to avoid the question — they’re the ones who brought it up. So, what’s it going to be?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.