Neither tactic would accomplish the ostensible goal and would doom Republican chances to regain Congress or the White House for the foreseeable future. More than 70 percent of voters, including 53 percent of Republicans, oppose a government shutdown. A debt default could have catastrophic economic consequences. However, many GOP politicians are equally fearful of the wrath of the Tea Party zealots to whom they’ve made undeliverable promises.
Hence the melodramatic appeal of impeachment, a totally unserious threat its sponsors hope hotheads will see as more decisive. So what if it makes the United States look like a banana republic? That’s the form of government that fools prefer to democracy, with its tedious committee meetings, quorum calls and compromises. Just think how happy an impeachment battle would make the impresarios and talking heads of cable news.
So far only a couple of largely unknown House Republicans -- Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan and Blake Farenthod of Texas -- have publicly endorsed the idea of impeaching Obama. But the clamor has also reached more powerful figures.
At a recent town hall meeting in Muskogee, Okla., Sen. Tom Coburn, ostensibly a personal friend of the president’s, answered a constituent’s question about impeachment by allowing as how “those are serious things, but we’re in serious times. And I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ but I think you’re getting perilously close.”
Campaigning in Texas, Sen. Cruz responded to a constituent who asked “Why don’t we impeach him?” by saying “It’s a good question.”
Cruz went on to give what he called “the simplest answer: To successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. Senate.”
Asked by the National Review if he’d consider changing his mind if Republicans take the House and Senate in 2014, Cruz answered, “that’s not a fight we have a prospect of winning.”