Ever since his 2008 election, President Barack Obama has heard screams from the right about impeachment.
While in the past, most would have seen the likelihood of this happening as slim-to-none, with Oct. 17 rapidly approaching, it seems like it just might. On Oct. 17, if Congress is unable to iron out a continuing resolution or budget going forward and a rise in the debt ceiling, the federal government will default on its loans for the first time in American history.
Let that soak in for a second. No matter how bad things have gotten in America's 230 plus year history, the full faith and credit of the United State's federal government has never been questioned, until now. I do not believe that Obama will allow the government to default on its loans, creating a Republican dream scenario: no default, Obama is blamed, then impeached.
Not so fast my friends, let's actually examine how and why Obama would be impeached, then draw your own conclusions on who is at fault.
Republicans have failed to win the last two presidential elections, never controlled both Houses at the same time and have unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act over 40 times. In fact, the law was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. What does that leave the GOP with in terms of options? Impeachment.
The Republicans have highjacked the federal government in an attempt to force Obama to commit an impeachable offense. Our president has been put between a rock and a hard(line) place, and to prevent an economic meltdown that some economists believe will make the 2008 housing crisis look elementary, the president will sacrifice himself for the greater good.
The duties that the president is forced to decide between are two of the most fundamental promises of the United State's separation of powers. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution states, "Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts...to borrow money on the credit of the United States."
This means that if Obama were to spend money or raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval he would be violating the Constitution, which is grounds for impeachment. At the same time, the president has the responsibility to not let the federal government default on its debts, as described in Section 4 of Amendment 14, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." Regardless of which side the president takes, House Republicans have him right where they want him, red-handed committing an impeachable offense.
I cannot think of a more blatant example of extra-constitutional action by a minority to impose their will on the majority. The right's message of Obamacare as the greatest evil committed against democracy has not stuck with the American public. The GOP has their lowest approval rating in the history of the Gallup poll, with less than a one-fourth of the nation viewing the party favorably, and three out of ten Americans' dislike being characterized as "intense."
If the GOP still holds out hope for their goal of recapturing the Senate in 2014, it would serve the party well to give up on what is clearly a lost cause, and distance themselves from pundits like Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) who compared the Obama administration to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The impeachment will likely happen if Congress cannot come to an agreement by Thursday. Obama will not end up being the casualty the GOP had hoped for. Instead the GOP's insistence to use American economic stability as leverage against the Affordable Care Act will make the party the ultimate bad-guys in this showdown of partisanship.
-- Small is a senior history and political science double major from Zionsville, Ind.