On Friday, the White House snatched the Republicans' impeachment claw hammer away from them and started beating the shit out of them with it, which caused House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), on Tuesday morning, to wonder where anyone ever got the idea that Republicans want to impeach Obama, and to answer that it was from Obama:
"This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff, and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they're trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year's election. We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans. Listen, it's all a scam started by Democrats at the White House."
As has been noted by anyone with access to Media Matters, or really just by anyone who's been conscious for more than 10 consecutive minutes for the past five years, the White House did not, in fact, invent the notion of impeaching President Obama, or even resurrect it recently. At Tuesday's White House daily briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest answerd Boehner's charge that all of this impeachment talk is just a "scam," and rattled off a list of his own:
"If that's the case, then I suspect that there may be members of the Republican conference that didn't receive the memo. We've seen comments in recent months from Congressman Steve King from Iowa, Congressman Ted Yoho from Florida, Congressman Lou Barletta from Pennsylvania, the distinguished Congressman Steve Stockman from Texas, his fellow Texan Blake Farenthold has raised this prospect. We've even seen Kerry Bentivoglio from Michigan call this a dream come true....
"...Maybe the Speaker should direct that attention and that message to members of his own conference."
Earnest's list, while far from comprehensive, is about five entries longer than it needs to be in order to refute Boehner's absurd assertion, yet there is a dopey narrative developing in the Beltway press that somehow, the White House are assholes for acting like Republicans want to impeach President Obama, which they keep saying they want to do.
Naturally, this narrative found voice in ABC News' Jon Karl, who followed up by asking Earnest if he had "coordinated" his remarks on Friday with the DCCC, because the Democratic fundraising arm was somehow able to send out an email within hours of Earnest's remarks.
Aside from the boilerplate he rolled out Friday, though, Earnest pulled the pin on the batshit grenade in his response:
"Not that I'm aware of."
Darrell Issa hearing into DCCC Inpeachment Scandal in 3, 2, 1...
The sad part is that Jon Karl missed asking the right question by that much. You can watch Earnest's response from Friday and clearly see that he wasn't prepared for the question like he was today, when he read off that list of wingnuts straight out of his briefing book. At the same time, though, he wasn't exactly caught completely off guard on Friday. A better (and much less absurd) question would have been whether a strategy for the impeachment talk had come up before David Pfeiffer made his remarks. If there was a pivot man in that double-play combo, it would have been Pfeiffer, not Earnest.
Chances are, though, that when Pfeiffer dropped those bread crumbs on Friday, he never expected them to be gobbled up so quickly, but rather, to gather steam over the course of a few days. That it has worked as well as it has is a testament to the power of the Republicans' years of Obama derangement, and their current defensiveness about it.