This author reported that last Monday Congressman Michael Burgess told a Tea Party gathering that impeachment “needs to happen.” Burgess, who represents the Ft. Worth area, quickly caught fire from the media in his area. The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram ran an editorial the next day entitled, “Impeachment is not a political tool,” stating that Burgess should have taken impeachment off the table. The newspaper’s editorial director, Jill “J.R.” Labbe, was kind enough to print my response, “Barack Obama Deserves Impeachment,” as a guest column this Monday. The printed version omits the paragraph that caught its mistake about President Andrew Johnson (although the editor told me the newspaper ran a retraction in the print edition; the online edition retains the historical error). The online version also eliminated my formatting. Below is my op-ed as it was submitted to the newspaper for publication. We are grateful for the opportunity to present another point of view. We gave no quarter, and they were kind to print it. If you appreciate this, feel free to comment on the story (although comments are allegedly being heavily moderated) — and thank J.R. Labbe for printing the story. Then forward this op-ed to everyone you know and help us keep the message going.
Barack Obama Deserves Impeachment
by Ben Johnson
Congressman Michael Burgess has rendered the nation a service by placing Barack Obama’s impeachment on the national stage. As the editor of a website dedicated to impeaching Barack Obama – which its founder, Floyd Brown, states has delivered more than 2.5 million petitions to Congress – I know there is no question: Barack Obama has committed an ample number of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” His impeachment is not only warranted but may be necessary to defend our nation from his continued onslaught against our freedoms.
I therefore was profoundly disappointed by the Star-Telegram’s unsigned editorial, “Impeachment is Not a Political Tool” (August 9, 2011). The author claimed the impeached President Andrew Johnson “quickly fell out of grace with the more radical elements of his own Republican party.” [sic.] Of course, Johnson never joined the Republican Party. Unfortunately, the rest of the editorial is as accurate as this assertion.
The Star-Telegram may find Burgess’ call to use impeachment to “tie things up” beyond the pale, but the Founders would not. In the Federalist Paper, No. 65 Alexander Hamilton described impeachment as “a bridle in the hands of the legislative body upon the executive servants of the government.” Hamilton wrote impeachable offenses “may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL.” (Emphasis in original.) The famed jurist Joseph Story wrote these “political offences” include not only crimes but “misconduct, or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests…unconstitutional opinions,” and “attempts to subvert” the law.
In the Founders’ eyes, President Obama has committed numerous impeachable offenses:
- The Libyan War. President Obama did not seek Congressional approval as the Constitution requires before placing troops in harm’s way, although he conferred with the United Nations and the Arab League. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to get Congressional authorization or remove all troops within 60-90 days. Instead, Obama attempted to skirt the law by redefining the term “hostilities,” a legal opinion rejected by his attorney general, Eric Holder.
- Race-based Justice. After the Justice Department dismissed voter intimidation charges against the Black Panthers, the head of its Voting Rights division testified about a “deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the” law – that Obama is denying equal justice based on race. This fundamental perversion of the law is an impeachable offense.
- Not Defending the Border. The executive branch enforces existing law, but Obama has systematically ignored his duty and enacted a backdoor amnesty for illegal immigrants.
- Illegal Government Propaganda. Last August, Darrell Issa issued a 36-page report highlighting the president’s “sometimes unlawful…propaganda initiatives,” including having taxpayers pay blogger Tracy Russo to make pro-Obama comments on websites anonymously or under a pen name.
- Punishing Whistleblowers. The DHS may have illegally demoted Catherine Papoi for exposing its “illegal politicization” of Freedom of Information Act requests.
These are but a few examples. Contrary to your editorial, the time to hold Obama accountable has not “passed”; there is no statute of limitations on illegal wars. Founding Father James Wilson said, “No one should be secure while he violates the constitution.”
Impeachment is the Constitution’s self-defense mechanism. The late Congressman Peter Rodino – a Democrat – once wrote, “the framers intended impeachment to be a constitutional safeguard of the public trust.”
As Barack Obama shreds the Constitution, breaks statutory law, bankrupts the country, and presides over the TSA’s molestation of the pregnant, the elderly, and the infirm, the United States desperately needs Congressmen willing to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
If only the Republican leadership in Washington had the courage of the Founders – or Congressman Burgess.
Ben Johnson is the editor of several websites, including ImpeachObamaCampaign.com.