Allen West and Alan Grayson Clash on Impeaching Obama
Around the State
This week, two of the most pugnacious actors on the Florida political stage clashed over whether President Barack Obama should be impeached.
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., who has left the door open to a political comeback in 2016, made the case to impeach Obama on Tuesday. In recent weeks, West has been increasingly calling for Obama’s impeachment.
“Over 135,000 patriotic Americans have responded to my impeachment survey showing that Americans are furious with Barack Obama and his hatred for the Constitution of the United States,” West emailed supporters. “But I've also received an overwhelming number of emails with your thoughts about why Obama should be impeached and I want to be sure to allow every American to voice their opinion.
“Think about it," West continued. “Barack Obama has: traded senior terrorist commanders for an Army deserter; refused to seek justice for the terrorist attack in Benghazi, inviting more violence against our country; engaged in a cover-up regarding Benghazi to hide the truth; ignored acts of Congress and is selectively enforcing the laws as enacted; used regulations and executive orders to circumvent the power of Congress, thereby violating the separation of powers between the branches of government.
“Any one of these are (sic) impeachable offenses and show shameful disrespect for the Constitution and the American people,” West added. “Barack Obama is guilty of committing high crimes and misdemeanors against the Constitution and, by his own actions, has forfeited the right to lead this nation.”
West hasn’t been alone among Florida Republicans in pondering whether or not to impeach Obama. At a town hall event in his hometown of Gainesville back in March, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said he could support an impeachment but insisted there was a “lack of will” among the GOP House leadership to pursue it.
Even as the U.S. House leadership started proceedings to sue Obama for exceeding his authority, there are signs that the GOP is increasingly open to impeachment. Former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, called for Obama’s impeachment last week and a poll released by YouGov for the Huffington Post earlier this week showed 35 percent of Americans said impeaching the president would be justified while 44 percent said it would not. Among Republicans, the feeling against Obama is much stronger, with 68 percent saying the start of impeachment proceedings would be justified. However, the GOP congressional leadership has shown no appetite to pursue impeachment and a host of Republican U.S. Senate candidates have attempt to distance themselves from attempts to remove Obama.
Pointing to that poll, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., went after the Republicans. “Impeachment: the same GOP voters listen carefully to the radio broadcasts in their dental fillings,” Grayson insisted on Wednesday.
Back in May, Grayson appeared on Al Sharpton’s show on MSNBC and went after conservatives and the tea party movement for bringing up impeachment.
“They hate the president, it’s that simple,” Grayson told Sharpton. “They hate the first African-American president, and they’re never going to change. What also will never change is their utter detachment from the mood of the public. The public wants us to concentrate on jobs, on benefits, on pensions, on education, on health care, on housing, and they want to concentrate on Fast and Furious, and they want to concentrate on Benghazi, and any other nonscandal they can try to rev up. They are completely, totally out of touch, and ultimately the public and the voters will punish them for it.
“They live fact-free lives,” Grayson said about the tea party. “These are people who have lost whatever narrow tether they’ve had to reality a long time ago. What really upsets me is not so much that they ignore the truth, and they trample over what’s right; what really upsets me is they think they can dictate to the American people what the political process is all about. These people think that if they woke up one morning and they wanted to talk about nothing but left-handed left-wing Liberian lesbians, then we’d all have to talk about left-handed left-wing Liberian lesbians, and we’d have no choice about that. The American people have problems that need to be solved: unemployment, low wages … .
“The only way to win a Republican primary these days is to out-crazy all the other candidates,” Gratson added. “And I think a lot of Americans wished they’d all get off their TV screens, just get the hell out of [our] lives. Americans want somebody who’s actually going to take a stab at solving their problems. The Republicans are always getting in their way, and saying something crazy in the process.”
Grayson has been joined by a fellow Democratic member from the Florida delegation in pushing back against Republicans on impeachment. From her perch as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz started raising the possibility of Republicans backing impeachment back in December.
With Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate, bringing impeachment is a near-certainty to be defeated. Even if Republicans flip the Senate in November, as pundits see increasingly possible, Democrats would easily control enough votes to ensure Obama would not be convicted in an impeachment trial.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.