An Impeachment Looking for its Articles

Republicans have already decided that President Barack Hussein Obama should be impeached -- they even claim they have the votes for it. The little details, those pesky Articles of Impeachment, "documenting all this stuff" will be done "as it goes along."

I don't have the legal background to determine what offenses rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanor"-- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) makes a similar claim -- but I do believe that before a person, whether Joe Blow or the president of the United States, is threatened with a Constitutional, judicial or criminal process, the charges should be crystal clear.

Being the subject of scorn and hate or having a Representative disgusted at you after an encounter is, in my humble opinion, not an impeachable offense. As far as I know, having Hussein as your middle name does not rise to high crimes and misdemeanors and neither does being President while black.

And while the Framers of the Constitution did not, in their wildest dreams, think that a black man would once be President, I am quite certain that neither did they believe that impeaching a president would become the stuff that dreams are made of -- that for one legislator it would be "a dream come true." That drafting the Articles of Impeachment would be as simple and nonchalant as going back to one's Capitol office, calling in one's lawyers -- "PhDs in history," mind you -- and asking, 'Tell me how I can impeach the President of the United States."

I really do not believe that the Framers foresaw the day when our lawmakers would first decide to impeach a president and then fabricate the charges along the lines of "a ton of incompetence," "some intended violation of the law" or when one Senator thinks that a president is "getting perilously close" to the constitutional standard for impeachment.

Nor do I think that the Framers ever imagined that those charged with the awesome responsibility of impeaching a president would first canvas their colleagues to see if they have enough votes to move forward with a potential impeachment and then get down to the serious business of deciding what to impeach the president for -- "documenting all this stuff as it goes along."

Never mind that the Framers exhaustively debated what those standards should be and expressly threw out "maladministration," believing that "[A]n election of [e]very four years will prevent maladministration" and substituting it with "other high Crimes and Misdemeanors," in addition to treason and bribery.

Never mind that the Framers never foresaw that legislators would go around town hall meetings whipping-up their constituents into impeachment fever without really knowing what the president should be impeached for. But never mind, those little details can be filled in later after the IMPEACH! IMPEACH! chants grow loud and angry enough. For now, Obamacare, Obama's incompetent response to, yes, Hurricane Katrina, or even the first family's "lavish" vacations to Hawaii and Martha's Vineyard will do. Shame that Birthergate did not pan out.

Should Republican members of Congress still have doubts as to whether Obama should be impeached when they return from their August recess -- from their motivational town hall meetings -- a new book, "Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office," will be waiting for them, hand-delivered by the book's publishing firm, according to Politico.

Co-author Aaron Klein believes his book "with its many pages of footnotes, acts as a possible blueprint for such an indictment."

Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

James Madison's notes taken during the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on the Impeachment Procedures, reflect the great diligence, seriousness and concern on the part of the Framers when they drafted up Article II of our Constitution.

I know that the expression has been overused, that it is a cliché, but I sincerely believe that the Framers of the Constitution would be rolling over in their graves if they could watch the spectacle that is being made of their hard, democracy-building work for purely partisan reasons.