Thursday, December 17, 2009


Steve Benin has the scoop on this week's right-wing brouhaha -- the allegation that Obama threatened Ben Nelson with the closure of the US Strategic Command (located in Nebraska) if Nelson doesn't support health care reform.  The charge comes complete with a classic conspiracy-theory proof: denials by Obama and Nelson that it happened, and Democratic resistance to Congressional hearings to get to the bottom of it, pretty much show that it must be true (no, really; Benin's post claimed that, and I thought he must be exaggerating, but no.  Also, the fact --acknowledged in the accusation -- that there isn't even a round of base-closing going on, and so it would have made no sense for Obama to do what Obama and Nelson deny happened, is just proof that Obama must be both venal and incompetent).

Steve concludes:
Just think, if Republicans take back Congress, far-right bloggers will publish nonsense on a Monday, and congressional committees will spend the rest of the week investigating the nonsense. It will be the mid-90s all over again.
I'm afraid this is far too mild.  If Republicans take back the House, the odds are very good that they will impeach Barack Obama. 

Unfortunately, it's not clear what happens when history repeats itself if the first time was a farce.


  1. I'm not sure WHAT they would do if they took back the House.
    On the one hand, it would give credence to their insane belief that they need to move their party MORE neanderthal.
    On the other hand, I have a tough time with the argument that the leaders of the GOP are actually insane.

  2. The pols don't have to be insane; they just have to follow incentives that push them to do things that many would call insane. The rewards for GOP pols these days are all on the side of extremism; moderation is severely punished.

    The talk radio yakkers and the tea party types are already talking impeachment. I find it hard to believe that they'll give that up if Republicans gain the House...and Republican leaders will find it easier to keep the party unified over impeachment and other such things than about actually addressing any of the public policy issues out there.

  3. If I've got my 18th Brumaire right, I thought the first time time was supposed to be a tragedy, the second time the farce.

    Skowronek's prediction was that future presidents' would try to go the 3rd way, but that interest arrangements are much more resilient today than ever before, implying a recurring politics of preemption with all of the uncertainty and frequent impeachments that this implies. Trying to apply this to the present situation, while interesting, demonstrates some of the problems with such an abstracted approach. That being said, if the Republicans take the House and Senate in 2010 it would certainly suggest that the interest arrangements are surprisingly resilient. I think the Skowronek prediction then would be that Obama will likely be impeached. So maybe it's a stronger scheme than I'd given Skowronek credit for.

  4. David,

    Yup, you know your Marx. I'm just saying that the Clinton thing was farce, not tragedy.

    And good point on Skowronek. I think it's fairly unlikely that the GOP will take the House in '10 or '12, and it's just hard to guess what the world looks like after that...but it's a good point that if Republicans can come back this quickly, it would fit Skowronek's pattern well if impeachment follows.


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