House Republicans are wasting America's time and their own credibility with talks of impeaching President Obama for abusing his oath of office.
All they accomplish by throwing around the I-word is to hand Obama the keys to martyrdom and political revival, while painting themselves as a bunch of wild-eyed partisans.
That's not to say Obama hasn't abused his oath. He has, by refusing to enforce duly passed laws, by issuing executive decrees for which he has no authority, and by unilaterally changing statutes to suit his political needs of the moment.
A president, not a king
Those who doubt that Obama has exceeded his authority as president should ponder George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley's testimony Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.
Turley, who is nobody's idea of a right-wing fanatic, said Obama has "claimed the right of the king to essentially stand above the law."
But impeachment is the Constitution's weapon of last resort against presidents who either think they are kings or who otherwise disgrace their office with venality.
Always ask Publius
Any time there is a question about what the Founders intended, the place to look for an answer is The Federalist Papers, by "Publius," the nom de plume used by James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton.
In Federalist 58, Publius makes clear the Founders' expectation that the House of Representatives would use its power of the purse to, among much else, combat "all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government."
In other words, instead of wasting time on impeachment, House GOPers would be better advised to pass measures requiring that "no funds shall be expended" to carry out unconstitutional actions ordered by the president.
Whether it's prudent to insist on any such measure to the point of a government shutdown isn't the issue. What matters is defining the proper terms of the debate that will be decided next November.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
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