News / USA

Sarah Palin: Let’s Impeach Obama

FILE - Sarah Palin speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 29, 2014.
FILE - Sarah Palin speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 29, 2014.

And you thought you’d heard the last from Sarah Palin? Not so fast!  The former Alaska governor is back on the national stage, leading a new conservative charge to impeach President Barack Obama.  Palin has done her best to remain in the spotlight whenever possible.  She’s undergone a lengthy transformation from 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate to talk show host, reality star on cable TV and now conservative celebrity who commands top dollar for speaking engagements.

In a recent column, Palin cited the immigration crisis on the southern border as the “last straw” in what she described as the president’s “purposeful dereliction of duty.”  Palin wrote on the conservative website Breitbart.com that the president’s “rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here.”  She went on:  “It’s time to impeach, and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.”

Well, the idea has already run into some stiff resistance from some notable Republicans.  House Speaker John Boehner said he disagrees with Palin’s approach.  So does the man who propelled Palin into the national spotlight, Senator John McCain of Arizona, who shocked the political world six years ago when he chose Palin as his vice presidential running mate.  Several conservative Republican House members who are sympathetic to the idea of impeaching the president say the move is simply not politically practical at the moment.

Palin’s proposal came as the Obama White House was caught up in an immigration firestorm on the southern border, trying to cope with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America.  The president has asked Congress to approve $3.7 billion in emergency spending to cope with the immigration crisis, but many Republicans in Congress are demanding that the administration first pledge to secure the border and do more to stem the flow of immigrants headed for the U.S.

Republicans prepare to sue Obama

Instead of impeachment, Boehner is trying to build support among House Republicans for a lawsuit he would like to file against the president for taking executive actions that he believes are unconstitutional.  So far that idea appears to have more appeal among House conservatives than a futile drive for impeachment, even though Palin and other conservative activists were quick to dismiss Boehner’s plan as weak. 

“You don’t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight,” Palin said on the “Hannity” program on Fox News.

Of course, a lot of this relates to election year politics.  Palin’s call for impeachment could be a motivating factor for conservative activists to get out and cast their ballots this November in the midterm congressional elections.  Then again they may not need the additional incentive.  Much of the political energy this year already seems to be with Republicans eager to vote against the president and his policies in November.

The Democrats’ big challenge remains motivating their base supporters to get out and vote in November.  The president’s falling public approval ratings, down to about 40 percent in most polls, is likely to depress Democratic turnout.  But it’s possible that the prospect of Palin leading the charge for the president’s impeachment could spur a bit of a political backlash and might spur some Democrats to get off the couch and out to the polls in November.

One thing you can bet on—both sides will reference the Palin impeachment push in their fundraising campaigns.  Conservatives will cheer a confrontational posture they believe is lacking from Republican leaders in Washington.  Liberal activists will try to use it as a clarion call to wake up lethargic Democrats who need convincing to get to the polls in November.  In fact, not long after Palin issued her call for impeachment, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi fired off a fundraising email on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warning Democratic voters of the consequences of the impeachment effort and Boehner’s plan for a lawsuit.

Republicans' 2016 hopes go through Cleveland

Republicans have chosen Cleveland, Ohio, as the site of their 2016 presidential nominating convention. Cleveland beat out other contenders including Las Vegas and, finally, Dallas, which hosted the Republican convention in 1984 and set the stage for President Ronald Reagan’s re-election.

Apart from the talk about hotel rooms and downtown amenities, most political analysts believe the Republicans chose Cleveland primarily because they think it might give them a leg up in the battle for Ohio’s 18 electoral votes two years from now.  No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.  Barack Obama won it both times he ran, while former President George W. Bush won it in his two elections in 2000 and 2004.  In fact, it was Ohio that delivered Bush a second term when Democrat John Kerry came up short in the Buckeye state, despite having spent a good deal of time there during the campaign.

Holding their convention in the upper Midwest may help Republicans appeal to a wider swath of the electorate than they have been able to reach in recent years, especially working class and suburbanites who are put off by some of the party’s more extreme elements.  The convention could also be a starring vehicle for two of Ohio’s favorite sons who might figure in the 2016 Republican primaries—Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman.  Both men are aligned with the Republican Party’s establishment or moderate wing, and they could become options if other better-known potential contenders either stumble or decide not to run for the White House.

Republican presidential candidates have not carried the state where their convention was held since President George H.W. Bush won Texas in 1992.  He was nominated for a second term in Houston that year.

Clinton still looks strong

Despite what at times has been a rocky book tour promoting “Hard Choices”, her State Department memoir, Hillary Clinton is still riding high in public opinion polls looking ahead to the 2016 presidential race.  The latest Quinnipiac poll found that Clinton has the support of 58 percent of Democrats if she decides to run for the party nomination.  Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren got 11 percent support and Vice President Joe Biden came in third with nine percent.

Warren’s standing continues to surprise some in the party.  She has said she will not be a candidate in 2016 but it’s clear that the support she continues to draw suggests an opening for someone to the left of Clinton to enter the 2016 primaries.  Some of those mentioned as possible contenders include California Governor Jerry Brown and Vermont’s independent Senator Bernie Sanders.  It just seems inevitable that even if Clinton decides to run, one or more Democrats will step up to challenger her.

In addition, the Quinnipiac poll also found that Clinton would easily beat any of the top potential Republican contenders in 2016 including Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy says Clinton’s image remains strong in the midst of a book tour that has plunged her back into the national spotlight. 

“Hillary Clinton has weathered what some would say are bad book sales, some questions about her tenure at the State Department, some questions about what she defines as wealth,” he said. “And yet she sweeps the Democratic field in the 2016 race, so Hillary is still looking very good.”

Republican field wide open for 2016

Malloy also noted that his latest poll shows no clear frontrunner on the Republican side for 2016.  Rand Paul led the pack, if you can call it that, with 11 percent support.  Christie, Huckabee and Bush were tied for second with 10 percent each.  After that came Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, each with eight percent.  As Malloy put it, no one on the Republican side seems to have the drive to separate from the pack.

“If you look at it right now, the numbers are 11 percent, 10 percent, eight percent.  All of these people, the top seven of them, are all about in the same position," he said.  "So there is just not a lot of momentum on the Republican side.”

As for Hillary Clinton, she may be already putting some distance between herself and Obama if she decides to run.  A recent Wall Street Journal story noted that Clinton has been talking about the economic worries of the middle class during her book tour. The book itself also serves a reminder about policy differences they had during her tenure as secretary of state, most notably over Clinton’s desire to arm moderate rebels in Syria at an earlier point in the country’s civil war.

Political analysts predict that if Clinton runs she will have to find ways to chart a different course from Obama, even while she points to accomplishments in foreign policy during his first term.  Given the president’s poor approval ratings, experts say it is likely voters will be looking for change in 2016 and for a candidate who can embody that change.  Under this theory, Clinton running to extend Obama’s policies into a third presidential term simply won’t work.  Of course, Clinton must prepare for the possibility that voters are so discouraged by the political dysfunction in Washington that they simply decide to cast their lot with the Republican candidate, assuming that person is someone acceptable to moderates.

In short, Clinton’s path to the White House may involve a complicated political dance—relying on a strong Democratic turnout, especially among women, and at the same time being able to appeal to centrist voters looking to move in a different direction from the Obama years.  It’s a long way until 2016 and lots of things can happen, but have no doubt that among those considering a run for president, the political calculations are already well underway.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid