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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP Impeachment Talk Looks Like a Game-Changer, Alright

From Nick Corosaniti’s “Impeachment, on G.O.P. Lips, Animates Democrats’ Base” in the New York Times:

Democrats cannot get enough of Republicans talking about impeaching President Obama.
They are using it to raise money and claim to have collected $1 million on Monday alone. They are using it to add supporters, with 74,000 new contributors. And, to animate their base, they would like to goad Republicans into debating impeachment in close races in the midterm elections…The talk of impeachment has had a catalytic effect on fund-raising for the Democratic campaign committee, which raised $7.6 million online through more than 400,000 donations since Mr. Boehner announced the lawsuit against the president. That is an average of $19 per donation
…All of which has forced Republican leaders in Congress to talk down any notion of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” saying that Democrats were cynically using the specter of impeachment as a “scam” to generate support.

Democratic leaders must be pinching themselves and asking giddily, “Can this be real?” If the Republicans proceed, they may write a new chapter in the annals of political stupidity, or at least a new take on “Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory.”
Boehner and McConnell are denying there is any such master plan. “Impeachment, who us?,” while several Republican members of congress are talking it up. Meanwhile Boehner is going forward with his lawsuit against the president for “abusing his power,” even writing an op-ed defending it, which looks a lot like a set-up for impeachment. As Corosaniti reports,

On Monday, an op-ed article published in USA Today, written by Mr. Boehner, defended his lawsuit, claiming, “President Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority.” Democrats seized on the language, sending email that threats of impeachment were “no laughing matter” and asking for contributions to help “take on the Tea Party.”

President Obama has plenty of messaging ammo to ridicule Boehner’s lawsuit, including the reality that he has issued fewer executive orders than Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush II and fewer total vetoes than any president since James Garfield.
Put all of that together with the “do-nothing congress” meme, and Dems have a potent message strategy to leverage for November. As DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, explains “This is going to be 98 days of daily process between Republicans, who are obsessed with lawsuits and appear to be moving closer to impeachment…It’s having the unintended consequence of moving our base in a midterm election and also moving persuadable voters to us in a midterm election…”
If it turns out that Boehner’s lawsuit tips the election enough to enable Democrats to hold the senate, Dems — and the nation — will likely get a bonus in the form of a new Republican House speaker, presumably one less opposed to any form of bipartisan cooperation.

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