Boehner has announced that he disagrees with the growing calls for the impeachment of Obama. This is tactically shrewd, but nobody should mistake what I mean by tactically shrewd. When Jesus said that a king should take care to determine whether his ten thousand could take the king with twenty thousand, He was not saying anything about the actual merits of the case (Luke 14:31).
There is no question in my mind but that Obama deserves to be impeached. But he has gotten to this particular imperial point, disregarding the law with all the disdain of a sun king, for the same reason that any attempt at an orderly process of impeachment would devolve into a Washington circus maximus ten times worse than what happened with Clinton. He has gotten away with being corrupt because all of Washington is corrupt.
The impeachment process forced Richard Nixon out because the media was in full-throated cry against him, and then as a result his political base of support collapsed. Everybody thought that 18 minutes of conversation that went missing on the White House tapes was beyond fishy. We are now dealing with years of missing emails from Lois Lerner, and while there is outrage on the right, the whole thing can still be called contained. Call this fishiness inflation. If there is water to be carried, the media will carry it.
But that is a read on what it is like inside the Beltway. It is a read on how the cultural centers of Manhattan and LA would process any law-abiding attempts to remove Obama by rule. When we get to this point in the game, the rules are a hindrance to those who follow them, and a help to those who are willing cheerfully to bend and break them.
So call this a read on the mood of the country at large, but before going there, just a quick comment on the anticipated comeback that will be thrown at me. Allow me to summarize it, so certain commenters won’t have to. When it comes to demographic punditry, given the results of the last presidential election, I have not yet fully earned back my nickname of Old Reliable. But one of the things that this cascading series of Obama scandals has pushed me to — particularly the IRS scandal — is the conviction that our last presidential election was substantively manipulated. It is now clear that there was flagrant and effective cheating — one example would be the prevention of political opponents from being able to organize and campaign, particularly in places like Ohio. In other words, right after the election, I concluded that I had radically misread the sentiments of the electorate, and that the voting public was stupider than I had thought. Now I don’t believe that, at least not to the same extent, or in the same way.
As an aside, in retrospect, I remain really grateful for the outcome of the election. Had Romney won, we would be stuck with Obamacare forever. As it is, Obama has perfected a combination of leftist ideology, the kind of conceit that only affirmative action can create, and levels of personal incompetence and nincompoopery, such that his stacked up piles of blue ruination are starting to emit an incandescent glow.
But the adage still holds true — if it is not close, they can’t cheat. Our system has been corrupted, but it is not so corrupt as to be able to overcome wide margins. A large number of Americans, inexplicably, wanted Obama in office a second time. They got their wish, and since that moment of glory, he has been in self-destruct mode. The scandals started with Fast and Furious, and once the floodgates were opened, the subsequent scandals started to come, themselves fast and furious. It is getting pretty difficult to keep track of them all — Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the VA, and so on. Moving on from there, we step over from the category of scandals in order to review the debacles — the Middle East turning suddenly from spring to late autumn, Crimea and the Ukraine, the immigration mess on our southern border, and the release of Bergdahl. In a nutshell, Putin got himself a four-wheeler and has been spinning brodies on the White House lawn. Obama has perfected a unique but strange method of getting scandals and/or disasters off the front page — he supplants them with another one.
So here are my thoughts about this set up. If we are fortunate, the congressional elections this fall are going to be epic. If we are fortunate, it will not be close enough to be manipulated in the Chicago-style.
But what do I mean, if we are fortunate? One of the great blessings we have had in this nation for many, many years, since the War Between the States, has been the orderly transition of power. We go vote, and we do so without armed troops patrolling the streets. The reason this can happen is that the overwhelming majority of the American people, regardless of which way they vote, have confidence in the moral legitimacy of the decision-making system. They may think this policy or that one is atrocious, but they think the process for getting rid of it is a process that can still be trusted, and that will be honored by all.
If we are not fortunate, that confidence in the system is going to collapse. The moral legitimacy of the ruling elites will be under a dark cloud (happening now), and then will be rejected altogether, with a collective horselaugh. When this sort of thing happens, it happens suddenly. It cannot be scheduled, the way elections are scheduled. You cannot predict what will precipitate it. You cannot organize beforehand for it. Election laws do not pertain.
“Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;” (Isaiah 30:12–13, ESV).
What I am arguing here is that I see our wall bulging dangerously. When the collective pressure of decades of iniquity finally cause the wall to collapse, it will happen suddenly, in an instant.
When this moment arrives, it doesn’t matter who is in power, or how long they have been in power. It won’t matter that they have learned all the rules of palace intrigue, or if they have multiple sweet connections with The Washington Post. It doesn’t matter how big their armies or navies are. It won’t matter that they know how to operate all the levers under their desk.
When this moment arrived for the Soviet Union, one of the world’s nuclear superpowers had that drunk, Boris Yeltsin, surrounded in his house — and it didn’t matter. They had all the nukes, they had all the power, and he had nothing. Correction. He had everything that mattered. He had the mojo. So when moral legitimacy goes, stick a fork in it. It’s done.
Incidentally, by moral legitimacy I do not mean legitimacy that is moral. I mean rule that is largely accepted by the people and which is self-enforcing. A regime with moral legitimacy only has to discipline the renegades and outliers. When the bulging wall collapses, in order to maintain their position, the ruling elites would have to arrest pretty much everybody. The decree goes out: “Nobody may do that.” To which the response comes back in a full chorus. “Watch us do.”
This is precisely what happened to Rehoboam.
“And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him; And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:13–14).
And behold! most of his population was down the road. And what a shock it was to the young counselors too!
As I said earlier, the flashpoint won’t be tidy. It won’t be nice. It will most likely be a Clive Bundy-like situation, only bigger and riper. Some farmer will chase EPA officials away from his ditchwater with a shotgun, and the whole thing will turn ugly. This is because we have gotten to the point where fixed elections can’t fix anything.