So today Sen. Lindsey Graham warned the White House that any additional releases of Gitmo prisoners without express congressional authorization could lead to the introduction of Articles of Impeachment.

Now one way to look at this threat is that Republicans are getting awfully free and easy with the I-word these days. If they aren’t thinking about impeaching Obama over Benghazi!, they’re thinking about impeaching him over the IRS “scandal,” or maybe his determination to implement the Affordable Care Act, or perhaps his promulgation of Clean Air Act regs. GOPers may think they’re being careful and clever by dropping the I-word without taking action, but the problem is their activist base is going to get irrepressibly excited by such talk, and then it’s 1998-99 all over again.

Another way to look at it is that Republicans are getting dangerously close to treating liberalism as an impeachable offense. Since they cannot quite make that case, they will latch onto any passing “scandal,” even if it’s not scandalous to anyone other than their own selves and such media figures as can be seduced into complicity with fantasies of becoming the Hero Journalists of Watergate.

In this particular case, though, Graham is indulging in some unacknowledged irony by threatening impeachment in order to protect the despicable symbol of a former president’s (and vice president’s) excesses. Even talking about removing a duly elected and re-elected president in order to save Gitmo is the kind of behavior that could expose the presumed bipartisan gang-leader from South Carolina for the ideological bully he truly is.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.