Bill Kristol Is Finally Right About Sarah Palin: Impeaching Obama is Irresponsible

It was brief, but it really happened. Fox News, and now ABC News contributor, Bill Kristol was actually right about something. As we’ve observed over the years, whatever Kristol says, the opposite must be true. Some of his greatest hits include:

–“Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I’ll predict that right now.”

–1993 was the “high water mark” of the LGBT rights movement.

–After encouraging Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to invoke Bill Ayers in his campaign for president, Kristol chastised the campaign for doing exactly that, calling it “stupid” politics.

–“[The Iraq War] will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. […] It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam’s regime.”

Kristol is also one of two or three conservative operatives who scouted and pitched Sarah Palin as a rising star in the GOP, urging McCain to select her as his running-mate in 2008.

Galactically wrong.

However, on Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, following a video clip of Palin in which she hamfistedly demanded Obama’s impeachment, Kristol observed that no “responsible” elected official has called for the impeachment of President Obama.

No responsible elected official has called for impeachment. And the one problem with it of course is get Joe Biden as president.

Given the stopped-watch phenomenon, Kristol was destined to trip and fall onto a correct statement at some point. Yet the fact that his hand-picked candidate is one of the primary screechers calling for impeachment underscores how wrong he was about Palin. He was so wrong about her that — sorry, Bill — it cancels out his rightness on the irresponsibility of Republicans who are leaning on the jolly, candy-like impeachment button. Sure, Palin isn’t currently an office-holder, but the fact that her views are perfectly in line with elected officials who are, indeed, irresponsible speaks volumes about her, not to mention one of her earliest benefactors: Bill Kristol.

Yes, Kristol was one of the architects of Palin’s emergence in 2008, and now he considers her to be aligned with an irresponsible impeachment effort. Kristol, now seven years after visiting Alaska to meet with Palin, has all but admitted that his version of Seward’s Folly was a huge mistake. Of course, just because he’s indirectly admitted his wrongness shouldn’t absolve his original sin in any way. A Palin vice presidency, especially knowing what we know now about her, would’ve been a complete and utter disaster for the United States, only made worse given how McCain’s health was the only bulwark between her and the Resolute Desk.

The Obama-era Republican Party has too often engaged in tactics that inadvertently establish horrible precedents for governing, and impeachment is only the top of a long list of harrowingly kneejerk ideas.

Filibuster Everything. The list includes a record number of filibusters, and not just against Obama agenda items, but against what otherwise should’ve been bipartisan bills like healthcare for 9/11 heroes, the American Jobs Act of 2011 and the Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act. There were a total of 246 filibusters during Obama’s first term, compared with 137 for both of President Bush’s terms.

Frivolous Lawsuits. While some congressional Republicans aren’t taking impeachment seriously, they’re certainly getting behind the next best thing: frivolous lawsuits. As we’ve discussed before, the Constitution affords Congress many weapons against the Executive Branch, but lawsuits were never intended to be part of the game. Not only does this tactic set a terrible precedent for how Congress deals with an opposition president, but it also makes Congress appear feckless and impotent — incapable of either negotiating with the president or using its constitutionally-provided checks against him.

One of the enduring aspects of U.S. government is its reliance upon extraconstitutional traditions — specifically, in this case, the unwritten rules of civility. Sure, there was once a time when a senator was savagely beaten on the Senate floor by Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC), but the caning of Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA) occurred during the lead-up to the American Civil War, nor was it a party-wide deed. The progressively radicalized behavior of the congressional GOP these days is almost entirely lockstep, and as soon as it metastasizes into the process, the system will begin to break down.

Whether it’s a Republican congressman shouting, “You lie!” during a joint session address, or the speaker of the House pursuing a petty lawsuit against the Oval Office, Congress is allowing the fringe to wag the dog — the spasmodic rage of AM talk radio hosts and the 140-character screeds of anonymous crackpots are being mainstreamed by leaders who ought to know better than to feed the trolls. This will surely blow back against the GOP when it’s inevitably returned to minority status, but, in a broader sense, it’ll choke the system by tearing down the last ruins of civility.

One last thought on impeachment. George W. Bush was by most standards a very bad, and some would argue, lawless president, but he was protected from impeachment due to three major factors: 1) he had a Republican Congress for all but his final two years, 2) the Democrats wisely decided not to repeat the GOP’s lose/lose impeachment effort of 1998, and 3) if successful, Dick Cheney would’ve ascended to the Oval Office. While, sure, Cheney was the de facto president for many of the Bush years, elevating him to the actual post would’ve been far, far worse than Bush.

Sure, impeaching Bush would’ve made his most vocal opponents feel really damn good. But the long-term impact would’ve produced a terrible hangover. Likewise, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and the other impeachment supporters haven’t really considered the consequences. But they should. In the final analysis, impeaching Obama would fail, and, like 1998, the Republicans would lose seats in the midterm, based solely on buffoonery published by Sarah Palin, who’s nothing more than a national joke — and who Bill Kristol is finally right about.

  • Christopher Foxx

    ”[The Iraq War] will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. […] It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam’s regime.”

    To be fair, the war did help clarify those things. It showed they were the opposite of what Kristol said they would be (so his always-wrong record is intact there), but it did clarify those things.

  • muselet

    I’m not willing to give William “Wrong!” Kristol nearly as much credit as you are, Bob.

    “No responsible elected official has called for impeachment.”

    Notice how carefully he restricted his statement. State party chairmen, Fox News Channel talent (it’s a term of art, not a comment on their abilities), op-ed columnists and former half-term governors of lightly-populated states aren’t elected officials. If Kristol hadn’t added the “elected official” bit, I’d be slightly less likely to light him on fire if I ever met him.

    Even so, Wikipedia says the following elected officials have called for—or hinted at support for—impeaching Barack Obama since 2010:

    Darrell Issa, Michael C. Burgess, Jon Kyl, James Inhofe, Jason Chaffetz, Tom Coburn, Blake Farenthold and Kerry Bentivolia.

    That’s an impressive—and, I believe, incomplete—list of federal elected officials who, we may reasonably conclude Kristol believes to be irresponsible. The list of state, county and local elected officials who fit Kristol’s ad-hoc definition of irresponsible would be much longer.

    Also, sixty-eight percent of Republicans believe—I almost typed “think”—it would be justifiable to begin impeachment proceedings. (I wonder where they might have gotten such an irresponsible idea. It is a puzzlement.)

    Bloody Bill Kristol really needs to crawl back under his flat rock.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    GOP talk of “impreach-mint”, which started immediately after they failed to unseat Barack Obama via the election process is a blatant trashing of the US Constitution and all it stands for and what it was intended to do for past and future generations of Americans.
    It is the stuff of banana republics. (Where Sarah Palin would fit right in )

  • Tommygun

    Bill Kristol was finally right about something? Will wonders never cease!

  • feloniousgrammar

    No responsible elected official has called for impeachment. And the one problem with it of course is get Joe Biden as president.

    See what he did there? In GOPeese, he just canceled out Sarah Palin— it’s some kind of emotional math they use.

  • Dennis

    Saying ‘no responsible elected official has called for impeachment’ is not at all the same thing as saying it’s irresponsible of Sarah Palin to call for impeachment.

    • NW10

      So what sense of Governor Word Salad’s word salad were you able to make in order to reach such a conclusion?

      And even more importantly, what crime(s) specifically should Obama be impeached and removed from office for?

      • Dennis

        The headline for this blog post is inaccurate and misleading. Dishonest, actually. That’s the point I made. Your question is a deflection. If you’re ok with that dishonesty, there’s nothing I can say to you that’s going to make you feel any differently.

        • NW10

          You want to talk the headline, fine.

          Is Sarah Palin an elected official, yes or no?

          Is Sarah Palin responsible, yes or no?

          If you answer both those answers honestly, then you can see why the headline is appropriate and makes sense.

          • Dennis

            She’s not an elected official, you buffoon. She’s a private citizen.

            The headline makes no sense.

          • NW10

            Exactly, which is why Kristol is quoted as saying “No responsible elected official has called for impeachment.”

            Palin isn’t an elected official and she’s not responsible, so the headline makes sense. The article is about Kristol making that quote, so the headline is appropriate. I don’t know how much more I have to dumb it down for you in order for it to make sense.

          • Dennis

            You’re wrong, NW10. An ejected official, one with responsibility of governing a constituency, responsible for communicating with them, responsible for all the things elected officials are responsible for, have to be careful what they say with something as highly-charged a subject matter as impeachment of a president would be. Private citizens can say these things a lot easier than elected officials can. That’s the distinction. Palin may be saying this, but c’mon, no elected official with any kind of responsibility is saying that right now. That doesn’t mean he’s saying Palin isn’t responsible. He’s in fact not saying that.

          • NW10

            “Palin may be saying this, but c’mon, no elected official with any kind of responsibility is saying that right now.”

            That’s the only point that needs to be made, the rest of your post is just pablum.

        • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

          1) It was immediately following a clip of Palin.

          2) I outlined my reasoning on the elected official thing in the the article: “Sure, Palin isn’t currently an office-holder…”

          3) Are you suggesting Kristol thinks it’s irresponsible for Group A, but not Group B?

          4) Kristol obviously thinks it’s a bad idea. Biden, etc.

          • Dennis

            You jumped to a conclusion and you mislead your readers, and now you’re trying to justify it. Kristol didn’t say Palin was irresponsible. He didn’t imply Palin was irresponsible. That’s a leap you made.

          • Pick6

            No “leap” was made except by you and the silly argument you’re trying to have.

          • NW10

            Seriously, if all you have is gripes about the headline, you’re grasping at straws. You didn’t even attempt to comment on the substance of the article.

          • Pick6

            How could it comment on the article it clearly didn’t read? ‘-)

          • Dennis

            Gripes about the headline? The headline is false. And it formed the thesis of the article. Headlines on blogs are what grab the attention of the reader. If this blog wants to on par with Huffington Post for posting false and misleading headlines and you’re fine with that, then why do you care what I think about the article?

          • NW10

            Yup, thanks for proving my point. You continue to gripe about the headline, and not comment on the substance of the article.

            BTW, I came here NOT because of the headline, but because I’d already read this story elsewhere on Mediaite and Media Matters, and I felt like commenting on this here. It seems as if you want ANY excuse to avoid commenting on the article, so you gripe about the headline.

          • D_C_Wilson

            When has Dennis ever commented on the substance of the article? This is his entire schtick: Find some nitpicky detail and use it to attack the author and anyone who agrees with him.

          • feloniousgrammar

            He really is just a petty bitch, isn’t he? Always trying to turn the tables with a logical fallacy or weak sophistry.

          • feloniousgrammar

            It’s called “logic,” Dennis, look it up.

          • feloniousgrammar

            You want to see a leap?

            Then turning around, I saw this kid yacking it up for the crowd, obviously having a blast with this ugly Jew-hating sign. And what does that mean, “SASQUATCH ISRAEL”? This is a play on the “legitimacy myth” of Israel’s existence. As there’s of course a “Sasquatch myth,” it’s worth noting the implied comparison: that Israel is also an ape-like beast existing only in historical folklore. Absent legitimacy, Israel has “no right to exist.” This kid’s sign is but one more example of eliminationist anti-Semitism. And look at how overjoyed he is in boasting this hatred. Creepy.

          • feloniousgrammar

            Ta-da!

          • Pick6

            A link to a piece by you was the reason I found this site and come back every day since to see what you and others have to say. Silly me, I actually read the articles attached to the headlines, unlike troll and wannabe thread-jacker Dennis. I admire your restraint in your response. ‘-)

    • feloniousgrammar

      Right you are, Dennis. It’s just stupid and melodramatic when Sarah Palin calls for impeachment.

      • Dennis

        Did you ever call for Bush’s impeachment?

        • feloniousgrammar

          What does “call for Bush’s impeachment” mean?

          George W. Bush violated many laws domestically and internationally; Obama has not. Deduct 10 points for your false equivalency.

          http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-791925

          • Dennis

            Was it irresponsible for elected officials not to have impeached Bush, then?

          • feloniousgrammar

            Considering the fact that the largest financial crisis in the history of money was underfoot, I’d say that the grown ups handled things well.

            The fact that George W. Bush was not impeached, doesn’t mean that he will never be held accountable. For historians, there’s a whole treasure trove of material from the Bush Administration with which they could damn themselves for the rest of human time.

            President Obama will leave office as one of the greats.

          • Dennis

            People often ask me why I post on liberal blogs. I honestly didn’t think people like you existed. It amazes me what you can learn about the human condition if you but simply participate and observe. Thanks for sharing, felonious. Please, keep coming back.

          • feloniousgrammar

            I have no idea what your probably facetious comment is supposed to mean, but I think you’re a mental light-weight and one trick pony, so I don’t really give a damn.

            Deduct 20 points if you thought you could hurt my feelings or make me feel inferior to you.

  • GeneralLerong

    Best article yet on $arah “Bullseye” Palin’s most recent poop fling.

  • don

    Why would Bill Kristol want Obama impeached? The President has followed the Neocon foreign policy plan triumphed by Kristol for 15 years to a T.

    • NW10

      So which wars has Obama started?

      • feloniousgrammar

        All of them, of course.

    • BlueTrooth

      Tossing “neocon” around like a cheap label isn’t very wise. The Neoconservative Principals are still quite active, as Rick Perry has signaled his willingness to carry that torch and spend their money. The most basic policy of the Neocon? Pre-emptive war. In preparation for multiple pre-emptive wars, a massive build-up of “military strength and capabilities”. I’m not so sure that Drones qualify as a “massive build-up”. Lastly, engaging China militarily in the Asian theater is a “crown jewel” of the Neocons, like Kristol.

      • feloniousgrammar

        “Preventive war”— it really irks me that poly sci “experts” fail to call our invasion of Iraq what it was. WMD was a pretense, not a reason. There was no impending attack from Iraq to preempt, and every neocon in the Bush Administration either knew that, or was left out of the loop.

      • don

        I think it applies to Obama`s policies. Initializing military engagement, drone or not, to destabilize existing regimes with a quick influx of money to establish promoting US interests is the neocon tactic. Sometimes writ large as in Iraq or more subtle in Egypt. Throw in Tunisia, Lybia, Syria, and Ukrane. All on Obama`s watch except for Iraq. Finish work an agressive stance towards Iran yet cool stance with Isreal completes the picture. Sounds conguent with Bill Kristol to me.

        • D_C_Wilson

          So, every president in the last century is a neocon then?

          • don

            No. I don’t think the tag applies to Eisenhower, Carter, Reagan, or Clinton.

          • D_C_Wilson

            Then you should have paid better attention in history class.

          • Badgerite

            Really. So what about Bosnian/Serb/Kosovo conflict. That was done with NATO under Clinton. And has actually worked out well in terms of the regions long over due integration into Europe.
            You must have slept though that one.
            And Ukraine recently elected someone whom the Europeans seem to get on with very well. And who also wants good relations with Moscow. I think in the long run, that will turn out to be a government and a leader that will benefit both sides in that dispute.

          • don

            I think the Neocon’s support to Bosnia was pretty mixed. Mostly, because it wasn’t in support of a clear economic objective nor a grand strategy beyond supporting NATO. If you want to call Clinton a Neocon you can make that argument. I won’t. I don’t think he was as aggressive as the two Bush and Obama administrations.

          • Badgerite

            I wasn’t calling Clinton a neocon. You were calling Obama one.
            And I think that is a gross mischaracterization of his actions on the world stage.

          • feloniousgrammar

            Does Guatemala and El Salvador ring any bells? How about the Carter Doctrine of declaring mid-eastern oil to be a legitimate interest of the U.S.?

      • D_C_Wilson

        Actually, the most basic policy of the neocon is endless war, with the caveat that someone else will do the fighting.

        • feloniousgrammar

          And a select few will get yet more filthy rich from war profiteering.

      • CygnusX1isaHole

        “He didn’t come to me for help, of course, … I’m not going to acknowledge that. He came to me to make sure I was supporting his sound policies. Of course, since his sound policies are more like the policies people like me have been advocating for quite a while, I’m happy to support them. He’s a born-again neo-con.

        – Bill Kristol praising President Obama days after consulting him on Libya policy (3/11)

        http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/30/bill-kristol-declares-obama-a-born-again-neo-con-days-after-consulting-with-him-on-libya-policy/

        • NW10

          Citing Tucker Carlson’s blog doesn’t exactly scream credibility.

          • Pick6

            I can’t imagine that Obama sought out Kristol’s advice for anything.
            I’m wondering if that “consulting” was during one of those courtesy meetings the President hosts for journalist/pundits from time to time.

          • D_C_Wilson

            It’s the place I always go to when I want to read made up prostitution scandals.

  • mellowjohn

    Sumner was beated by a House member from SC. Other than that, spot on.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Someone needs to check Bill Kristol’s basement for pods.