James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Hey birthers: Obama impeachment not an option

Posted by James McPherson on September 19, 2010

OK, so we have to accept the fact that nutty conspiracy theorists, like the Biblical poor, will always be with us. But do the wacky purveyors of those theories  have to keep suggesting to their poor deluded followers that if those followers get fired up enough, somehow Barack Obama will magically be impeached?

“Naturally Floyd Brown is the ringleader,” writes The New Republic about the whimsical impeachment effort. Yes, that Floyd Brown, of Willie Horton fame. The article is actually posted on one of Brown’s websites, as if writer Jonathan Chait weren’t making fun of the movement. At least three of Brown’s readers didn’t get it either, judging from the comments.

Brown’s site seems to offer some variation on the “impeach Obama” theme every week, without offering either a clear rationale for the impeachment (“’cause he may be a secret Muslim and won’t show us a ‘real’ birth certificate that we can accept—waaaah!”), or, perhaps even more importantly, the recognition that impeaching a president and removing him from office is nearly impossible.

How near impossible? Well, it’s never been done. Two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives, an action that takes a simple majority (which the GOP–but not birther loons–will likely have after the 2010 election).

But booting Obama from his seat would then require a vote by two-thirds of the Senate. And Floyd, you know–even if you keep pretending otherwise to stir up your fans and further line your own pockets–that just ain’t gonna happen.

Republicans may gain a majority in the Senate (though let me go on record today as predicting that Dems will maintain at least the 50 seats they need–with Joe Biden as the tie-breaker–to hold the Senate). But for the sake of my GOP friends, lets assume a Democratic apocalypse. Let’s even go so far as to assume they win every single one of the 37 seats up for election this year (they won’t come close, but play along for a moment).

Guess what: Democrats now hold only 17 of the open seats, while Republicans have 20. So the worst that could happen–and again, nothing close to that will–for Democrats is that they go from a 59-41 majority to a 42-58 minority. In other words, under the worst possible scenario, Democrats will end up almost as bad off as the Republicans in the Senate ARE RIGHT NOW.

Thanks to distorted filibuster rules, those minority Republicans have stopped the Democrats from achieving much of their agenda during the past two years. You think the Dems will suddenly be jumping up and down to help Republicans oust a Democratic president–even if every Republican suddenly turned into a birther?

Even Floyd Brown can’t believe that. For a look at a more realistic view of how the Senate will look, check out Real Clear Politics. And then if you’re an Obama hater maybe you should start thinking about something remotely plausible, like the defeat of Obama in a real, legal election–just like the one he won in 2008.

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14 Responses to “Hey birthers: Obama impeachment not an option”

  1. Even though we are on different sides politically, I enjoy reading your opinions. The birther issue could be easily settled if Obama showed America his birth certificate. He has only showed his Certificate of Live Birth and this has been documented by Obama’s own web site. A COLB is not a Birth Certificate. Things are done for a reason and Obama not providing his documents is a ploy to keep Americans bickering instead of watching the real situations happening in America.

    I would, however, like to no how Republicans stopped Democrats from implementing their agenda? The Stimulus was passed. ObamaCare was passed. Financial regulation was passed (though Fannie and Freddie still are unregulated). What exactly has been stopped? Since the Democrats have a super majority in the House and a 17 seat avantage in the Senate, I don’t think it has been Republicans stopping things, it has been Democrats.

    Just today, Obama blamed Republicans for holding up his newest $42 billion bank bailout bill. It was just passed last week by the House and sent to the Senate. How did Republicans hold this up when they do not have the votes. People need to start thinking and looking at the numbers. It was Democrats fighting Democrats, not “obstructionist” Republicans.

  2. Luis Lopez said

    Scotty-

    Here’s the thing about the veracity of Obama’s COLB. It proves, 100%, without a doubt, that he was born in the United States.

    Firstly, a law allowing foreign born children to obtain a Hawaiian COLB did not exist until the 1980s; 20 years after Obama was born. Moreover, Obama’s birth information was recorded four days following his birth, and it explicitly states that he was born in Honolulu (http://www.ocweekly.com/2009-06-18/news/orly-taitz/1/).

    Secondly, Janice Okubo, director of communications for the Hawaii Department of Health, has gone on record by stating: “If you were born in Bali, for example, you could get a certificate from the state of Hawaii saying you were born in Bali. You could not get a certificate saying you were born in Honolulu. The state has to verify a fact like that for it to appear on the certificate” (http://washingtonindependent.com/51489/birther-movement-picks-up-steam).

    Now, could we please stop the whole questioning over whether or not Obama is a citizen? It’s incredibly tiring that individuals keep on trotting out that old canard.

  3. Luis, I was just pointing out the facts. As well, if it was necessary to provide my Birth Certificate for identification reasons, a COLB would not be accepted. Go to your local Register of Deeds and look up Birth Certificates. You will not find COLBs. That’s just a fact.

    Explain why Obama can’t produce a BIRTH CERTIFICATE and only shows a COLB? As you state “a law allowing foreign born children to obtain a Hawaiian COLB did not exist until the 1980s…” so why is Obama using a COLB? What you forget to mention is that a COLB doesn’t show the doctor who delivered the child or the hospital.

    I believe Obama was born in the US because I have seen the newspaper that shows the birth announcement but the use of a COLB instead of a Birth Certificate is intentional.

    It is being done to provide cover and to keep folks debating this instead of the real issues. We must also remember that it was the Clinton’s who started the whole ‘birther’ issue. Did you know they held hearings about John McCain’s birth because he wasn’t born on US soil due to his father being in the military? Obama sat on the Senate panel that heard this discussion and McCain had to produce his birth certificate, not a COLB.

    This could all go away if Obama would show his BIRTH CERTIFICATE instead of laughing at Matt Lauer and saying he can’t stick it on his forehead. He has never shown it in the first place. Explain why he refuses to show it and why his first presidential act was to seal all his records?

    It was done to keep the debate on-going.

  4. James McPherson said

    Sorry, I’ve been otherwise occupied, but thanks, gentlemen for commenting. Scott, a quick mention of one way in which Republicans stop things: Through the misuse (in my view) of the filibuster rule. GOP filibusters last year set an all-time record totaling more than in the 1950s and 1960s combined, and weird Senate rules allow just one Senator to shut things down under various conditions–as Jim DeMint is threatening to do now: http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2010/09/jim-demint-the-most-undemocratic-senator.html

  5. Robert Laity said

    THERE IS NO ‘PRESIDENT’ OBAMA;
    http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/08/17/there-is-no-president-obama/

    Impeachment? Obama is not entitled to the protections and protocol of the Impeachment process. Only Bona-fides Presidents enjoy those protections.
    Obama is a private party. The 2008 election was patently fraudulent.This has been proven.
    Obama is a felonious fraud and traitor who must be tried in the US Dicstrict Court,Districct of DC,for treason and election fraud. He has usurped the Presidency. You live here to. Do you REALLY want a traitor to skate?
    http://americangrandjury.org/public/

    You may erase this post but the facts remain. Obama has never been President of the USA>

  6. James McPherson said

    Don’t worry; as long as you’re not overly profane or libelous (and it’s nearly impossible to legally libel a public figure such as the president), I won’t censor you, regardless of how nutty I think your claims are.
    I also appreciate the fact that you use your name when posting, unlike far too many timid folks who respond to blogs. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Robert Laity said

    Using my real name came about during my (26) years working for the Federal Government. I was a whistleblower. To be protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act,one must divulge one’s real namr. The government knows full well who I am and what my record is. I would not make rash and unsubstantiated allegations unless I had facts. In Libel and Slander,truth is the uktimate defense. I am also protected by “Absence of Malice” laws on the books. I reiterate,Obama has never been “the President.
    Whether or not you censor me is of no concern to me. I am ubiquitous on the internet. My sole priority at this point in time is to pursuade people,by proffering information,to re-investigate their opinions and views regarding Obama. Formal charges have been filed against him for elction fraud as well as treason. This is no laughing matter. It is a matter of grave national security. That people are downplaying the importance of this issue ,as did Clarence Thomas who recently stated to congress that SCOTUS is “evading the issue”,is very disconcerting. Alinsky tactics like calling a dissident “nutty” do not work with me. See my many comments in cyberspace. Maybe one day,YOU will be convinced that what I claim is true.

  8. James McPherson said

    You may be “ubiquitous on the Internet,” though I’d never heard of you until recently when we were responding to the same birther blog, but apparently your “proof” has failed to convince anyone who matters.
    If everybody else is wrong, how can you be sure you’re right?

    And do you think repeatedly saying, “There is no President Obama”–and then backing it up with a link to an article written by YOU on another blog (though one with a newsy-sounding name) strengthens your argument?

  9. Robert Laity said

    Have you heard of the American Grand Jury. Check it out at:
    http://agjnow.org/
    Decide for yourself. We have a plethora of evidence whicg I believe,if presented to a Judicially convened Grand Jury would be more than enough to Indict Barry Dunham aka Barack Obama,Jr.
    The article I wrote and to which I proferred a link to is my take on the issue.
    By no means is it enough to convict Obama. What must happen is that the powers to be take the matter seriously. The problem is that they are being
    malfeasant in office. I have personally approached bo less than (5) federal Magistrates and ALL (9) SCOTUS Justices. Indeed,Clarence Thomas admitted to congress that the Supreme Court is “evading that issue”.
    My “repeatedly saying” that Obama is a traitor and a fraud can be compared to those in Germany during WWII who “repeatedly” asserted that Hitler was a criminal. The point is,who will listen and what will be done about it?
    People have the right to “petition the Government for redress of Grievances”. I have some. In 1946,errant rulemakers writing changes to the
    Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures,erroneously claimed that the “Presentment” (See the Fifth Amendment) was obsolete. A “Presentment” is aa non-judicially convened Citizen’s Grand Jury the purpose of which is to determine if enough information exists for a Judicially convened Grand Jury to be empaneled. It was in common practice until 1946 when those errant rulemakers stopped allowing them. The fact is that the Fifth Amendment has never been repealed. The “Presentment” process still exists. Why did (64) years pass since we now have resurrected it? Because contingent circumstances have arisen which make it neccesary for the process to be invoked. The fifth amendment,in part read: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital,or otherwise infamous crime,unless on a presentment OR an indictment of a grand jury”. There are (2) processes upon which a person may be “held to answer for…crime”:
    1. The Non-Judicial “Presentment”
    2. Judicial Grand Jury
    Insofar as the Fifth amendment has never been repealed,as per the constitutional process for doing so (See Article V),the process of “Presentment” (http://americangrandjury.org/public/ is still QUITE legal and binding upon Judges and Law Enforcement authorities. Indeed,SCOTUS has ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that:
    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved…”
    [ such as the process of “Presentment” as part of “petition[ing] the government for redress of grievances”]
    “…there can be no RULEMAKING or legislation which would abrogate them”.

  10. GregA said

    Obama could end the birth certificate controversy very simply, by releasing it. But he refuses to bring this issue to an end. Why? I think it’s because the “birther” issue serves Obama’s interest by keeping his supporters angry at conservatives (you know, those people who actually believe that the Constitution should be adhered to). A small example is this blog post. If Obama had released his birth certificate, you wouldn’t have been able to write this piece castigating conservatives. Obama uses this issue, like illegal immigration, to keep the hate level of his supporters at an emotional high.

  11. James McPherson said

    “you wouldn’t have been able to write this piece castigating conservatives”

    Thanks for the comment, Greg, but obviously you’re a newcomer here or you’d realize that I have no trouble coming up with things to castigate conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and even Obama about. And I can’t think of anyone I hate, other than those who harm people weaker than themselves–birthers certainly aren’t in that category, so the prevailing emotions would be wonder and amusement rather than hatred.

    Aside from the general unlikelihood of most birther claims, and aside from the fact that no one with any legislative or judicial influence has voiced a belief in those claims, and aside from the fact that all of those claims have been addressed well elsewhere throughout cyberspace, and aside from the fact that the president has a multitude of more important things to worry about, you’re right in one respect–the whole issue helps Obama more than it hurts him, by helping distract people from the very real problems that would provide rational complaints that might actually help conservatives beat Obama in 2012.

  12. Robert Laity said

    Demmanding that the constitution be adhered to is not a “Distract[ion]”. It IS a “very real problem” when a usurper is allowed carte-blanche to dismantle the USA with impunity.
    The definition found in the “law of Nations” (two citizen parents and birth in the country) is legally incorporated in the US Constitution. Obama has NOT met that definition. His father was a Brit.
    See Article 1,Sec.8:
    “The congress shall have power to…define and punish…offenses against the
    law of nations” ( the same treatise wherein the term “Natural-Born Citizen” was derived in Article 2,Sec. 1 )
    Besides,the provisions of 18USC,Part 1,Chapter 115,Sec. 2381 also applies to “Present”Obama. Obama has been legally charged with Treason for his activities in Kenya in 2008,inter alia. Those charges must be addressed. Failure to do so is misprision of treason and makes anyone who ignores these formally registered complaints.
    [For example,see the City of Tonawanda,NY Criminal complaint of Robert Laity against Barack Obama for immigration and election fraud as well as treason,the complaint of which has been referred to INS and the FBI. C
    riminal complaint number 10-002-896,March,2010,COTPD].

  13. Robert Laity said

    “makes anyone” whom,having a duty by law to investigate and act upon said properly filed criminal informations,who fails to do so,guilty of misprision of a felony.

  14. […] and have been won over by the conspiracy theorists. Admittedly, in the past I’ve made fun of birthers, truthers, gun nuts, Islamophobes, homophobes, Rush Limbaugh, the Texas Board of Education, PUMAs, […]

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