Defund or Impeach

Insofar as it’s CW that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is suing the President of the United States to placate a furious conservative “base” that doesn’t think its heroes in Washington are sufficiently standing up to the godless Kenyan socialist, there’s evidence it’s not working. Here’s Erick Erickson’s contemptuous reaction to the Boehner lawsuit:

Boehner and the House Republicans want to sue the President of the United States. Instead, they should man up.

227 years ago, when the founders of the nation set about drafting the constitution, they gave the House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate revenue bills and impeach the Executive. That the House would sue the President over his use of executive power is an indication that its leadership no more values their own powers under constitution than the President they sue.

Most of Erickson’s subsequent tirade involves the House leadership’s refusal to use perpetual threats of an imminent government shutdown to impose the GOP’s will on Obama (he characteristically questions Republican leaders’ “testicular fortitude,” which is presumably the worst insult he could think of). But it’s clear the i-word is in his mind the other option.

This “defund or impeach” challenge is one I suspect we are going to hear a lot of in the months just ahead, and perhaps even see on bumper stickers. It’s simple and catchy, and gets right to the underlying demand that the last two presidential elections be nullified.

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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.