We’ll sue him, said the House, to try to stop his overreaching
But it’s absolutely false to say we’re talking of impeaching.
The idea is absurd, and we are planning to ignore it.
If only Sarah Palin would stop saying that she’s for it. 

            When the House of Representatives voted to sue Obama for overreaching his constitutional authority satirists leapt into action. The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz criticized Obama for “cynically and systematically using his position as President to lead the country”, and he cited the House lawsuit as alleging that “having signed 181 executive orders to date, Barack Obama seems intent on chasing the record of such notorious renegades as Dwight Eisenhower (484) and Theodore Roosevelt (1,081).” In the New York Times Gail Collins enjoyed quoting John Boehner: “Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change” – a wonderful piece of irony since Boehner was objecting to Obama’s postponing enforcement of  a provision of a law, Obamacare, the Republicans had repeatedly voted against.

            But bringing a lawsuit was pablum compared with the red meat of impeachment. However, for the Republican leadership this would be politically disastrous. As James Taranto in the online Best of the Web Today suggested: “Here’s an idea for a satirical political film. A beleaguered president tried to engineer his own impeachment in the the hope of engineering public sympathy and turning the political tide in his favor.” Short of this the Democrats were raking in campaign contributions as they put out their somber warnings, while Republican denied and denied that impeachment had ever been on their agenda.

            Stephen Colbert mocked both sides for using the issue to raise money. He also  fretted that impeachment could mean that Obama would leave the White House before he himself left for CBS: “With two years of no Colbert to rein this man in, by the time he leaves in 2016 everyone in America will be a pot-smoking, gay immigrant in a polygamous relationship with a biracial box turtle.”

            But if it was unlikely that Obama’s departure would come before Colbert’s, the impeachment issue would not completely disappear, for not every Republican followed the party line. Sarah Palin was on record repeatedly on the issue – to the great delight of the satirists. Bill Maher had her citing Articles of Impeachment beginning with “To Which It May Concern” and including: “Article One: For allowing children to illegally cross our borders from countries like Honduras, Guatamala and El Segundo: Article 2: For covering up the attack on our embassy in Ben Gazzara”.  Palin, however, was far from alone among Republicans on this issue. In fact, a Huffington Post/ YouGov poll in July 2014 suggested more than half of the party’s rank and file wanted to see Obama impeached.

            Moreover, though there was little support for impeachment in the mainstream media, the mere mention of the word on Google immediately produced an outpouring of support for the idea on websites, blogs, and Facebook. Memes flooded in from the right demanding Obama be removed from office because of Obamacare, or the alleged anti-conservative bias of the IRS, or – the most heinous crime of all -- Benghazi! (“Benghazi: Impeach, Convict and Incarcerate Obama”.)

            Here and there the impeachment calls were laced with a bitter kind of humor, and were responded to in kind.

             Unfortunately the vast eruption of animosities that regularly surface in the social media is not leavened by wit. Over and over Obama is portrayed as a bearded and turbaned Muslim; or as a moustached Hitler. The absurd refusal to accept his birth is still featured. And as we stagger beneath the blasts announcing “Treason” and “High Treason” we are left with he question often posed in this blog: which is the satire, and which the reality?






Posted on Saturday, August 02, 2014 (Archive on Friday, April 28, 2017)



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