By Michael Goodwin
June 7, 2014 | 10:22pm
If you think of the United States of America as a store, its recent decisions and scandals resemble a sale, perhaps a fire sale. Or maybe even a “Going Out of Business” sale.
The list of dramatic markdowns is breathtaking. They include trading away five murderous terrorists for a likely Army deserter, an open invitation to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to cross the Mexican border, and a decision to recognize the terrorist group Hamas as part of the Palestinian government.
On the home front, environmental regulations will cost thousands of coal miners their jobs and drive up the cost of electricity for millions. The ObamaCare mess is hardly resolved, and the Veterans Affairs scandal keeps getting worse. The acting agency head reported the deaths of 18 more vets who were kept off the official waiting list in Phoenix.
Ticking quietly in the background is the mother of all threats — an Iranian nuclear bomb. That ticking grew louder last week as the ayatollah mocked our nation by standing in front of a banner that proclaimed, “America cannot do a damn thing.”
Technically, he’s wrong. It’s not that we cannot stop the mad mullahs’ march. It’s that President Obama has taken the military option off the table, and without it, Iran has nothing to fear. Our impotence was a choice.
Add to the combustible mix the expansionist moods in Russia and China, and the series of events recalls an observation by the late economist Herb Stein. Speaking in another context, he said that, “If something can’t go on forever, it won’t.” That sums up the current sense of the nation as a whole.
What seemed for years a steady and slow decline increasingly feels like a headlong race to the bottom. America is careening downhill, and a crack-up appears inevitable.
It is no coincidence that the deal with the Taliban to release five terrorist leaders from Guantanamo brought the first threat of presidential impeachment from a respected member of Congress. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that if Obama tried to release others without lawmakers’ approval, it would lead to “people on our side calling for his impeachment.”
That is the nuclear option, and there is good reason why it has been so rarely invoked throughout history. And yet the intense fever gripping Washington, largely created by Obama’s go-it-alone approach, needs to be broken. The country simply cannot continue to remain the beacon of the free world if we are consumed by our own dysfunction and distrust.
Impeachment is one way to try to resolve a political crisis, but as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argues in his new book, public opinion is a vital ingredient, and it is missing. Titled “Faithless Execution,” his book’s subtitle, “Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment,” is based on McCarthy’s claim that the legal case is solid that Obama has violated his oath to execute the laws faithfully.
That’s an arguable point, but even to concede it means nothing because the Democratic Party has been so cowed into supporting Obama, regardless of what he does, that there is no chance to make the political case.
Indeed, we have reached this crisis largely because centrist Democrats have failed to stand up against Obama and demand more moderate policies.
Leaving aside occasional grumbling from party elders, he gets almost unanimous support from every Dem in Congress for every piece of his radical agenda. Evidence shows that one of his most pernicious practices, using the IRS to punish conservative groups, grew out of congressional demands from liberals. While that doesn’t excuse Obama’s role, it does demonstrate that his party has enabled and encouraged his improper conduct.
The result is that the constitutional system of checks and balances has been gutted as Democrats act as an amen chorus for the executive branch.
The framers put a high bar on impeachment, and merely attempting to draw up the articles is viable only when there is a bipartisan consensus that the president’s immediate removal is necessary. We are a long way from that consensus.
Still, something has to give. And unless Democrats begin to put duty to country over loyalty to Obama, America as we know it is headed to a point of no return.