I have mentioned in this space on more than one occasion that President Obama has committed impeachable offenses since taking office. Apparently many in the South Dakota Republican party agree with me. Last Saturday, at their state convention, they passed a resolution calling for the House of Representatives to impeach the president. Following several paragraphs beginning with “Whereas” (in official resolution form), the resolution ends, “Therefore, be it resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party calls on our U.S. Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.”
This resolution did not pass by a wide margin; the vote was 191-176. So close was the vote that the voice vote proved inconclusive, forcing a county-by-county roll call vote. Sadly, twenty of the state’s counties had no delegates at the convention. Whether their presence would have made a difference in the outcome of the vote I do not know, but I consider it a bad sign when nearly one-third of the state’s counties did not send delegates to the convention.
South Dakota, thanks to its small population, has only one member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Kristi Noem. While Noem is a Republican, she does not agree that impeachment is the way to go. Her spokesperson, Brittany Comins, said, “The congresswoman currently believes the best way for Congress to hold the president accountable is to continue aggressive committee oversight and investigations into the administration’s actions like the ongoing VA scandal, the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, Benghazi, and the recent Taliban prisoner exchange.” With respect to the congresswoman, I would have to disagree. The committee oversight seems to be doing little if anything to effect any change in the way that the Obama administration goes about its business. While the committee oversight process is an appropriate part of the checks-and-balances in the U.S. federal government, when it proves ineffective it is necessary to take stronger action. Thus far I would have to put the effectiveness of the congressional committee oversight of the Obama administration on par with the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions on power-hungry dictators.
David Wheeler, a delegate to the convention from Beadle County, opposed the resolution, saying, “I believe we should not use the power of impeachment for political purposes. By doing this, we would look petty, like we can’t achieve our political goals through the political process.” The reality, however, is that the impeachment is not about politics or political goals. If it were, I would absolutely not be in favor of impeachment. Impeachment should absolutely not be used for vindictiveness or pettiness or as a means of achieving political objectives. President Obama, however, has broken the law and has violated his constitutional oath of office. These are grounds for impeachment.
I do not know if anything will come of this resolution or not. Frankly, I tend to doubt it. It seems Rep. Noem is not likely to act on it, and I doubt any other House members are going to pay much attention to a resolution passed by the South Dakota State Republican Convention. However, I commend those at the convention for their willingness to take a public stand and call on the House to exercise its constitutional prerogative–and duty–to impeach a president who has indeed committed high crimes and misdemeanors.