“Without borders, there is no nation,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wrote in a Breitbart op-ed this week. “Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America ... President Obama's rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here ... It's time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the Left or Right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.”
That this desperate cry for attention (dangling participle and all) will draw support from some on the Right is a problem conservatives must confront head-on. A movement once vibrant and intellectually sound finds itself today susceptible to hucksters purveying emotive outrage, who will say almost anything to be noticed — and the more outrageous, the better.
But conservatism — limited government, strong defense, individual liberty and responsibility — cannot attract new adherents, or move America to recapture its true sense of itself, by subordinating common sense and principle to the search for clickbait.
It is folly to suggest, as Palin has, that Obama deliberately created the border crisis now crippling his presidency. But even more dubious than her conspiracy theory is the idea that Palin can revive her waning influence over GOP primary voters -- who backed only two of the nine candidates she endorsed in competitive primaries this year -- by becoming more shrill.
Yes, Obama is a failing president. He has nothing but excuses for continued low employment levels. He has put more effort into advancing his narrow ideological agenda than he has into restoring economic opportunity for Americans after the Great Recession. His policies -- including on immigration -- have created perverse incentives and harmful unintended consequences that he could have avoided had he listened to any other point of view but his own. He has abused his power, mostly in ways that extend his predecessors' abuses.
And guess what? Elections have consequences. If you're unhappy about the current state of affairs, there's another election coming in November that can limit Obama's power, and another to replace him two years hence. That's how the American republic works.
Not only would a House impeachment vote be futile - Obama's removal would require the support of more than 20 Democratic senators - but its only effect would be to rescue Obama and his party from the consequences of his failing policies. Why throw him a lifeline when he is struggling to maintain a 40-percent approval rating and is likely to take many of his partisan cohorts down with him in the 2014 elections?
Impeachment becomes appropriate when Obama seeks to dissolve Congress or is caught embezzling public money to build a mansion in Patagonia, or other high crimes. In the meantime, the Constitution provides sufficient powers to Congress and the Supreme Court to minimize or even begin to reverse the damage he can cause -- as in some cases they have already done.