Weekend Review

Memo to the GOP: Don't Fall for Obama's Impeachment Bait

Obama will use executive amnesty as bait, but the GOP must call his bluff.

Nov. 8, 2014

By Charles Krauthammer

Memo to the GOP. You had a great night on Tuesday. But remember: You didn’t win it. The Democrats lost it.

This is not to say that you didn’t show discipline in making the election a referendum on six years of Barack Obama. You exercised adult supervision over the choice of candidates. You didn’t allow yourself to go down the byways of gender and other identity politics.

It showed: A gain of probably nine Senate seats, the largest Republican House majority in more than 80 years, and astonishing gubernatorial victories, including Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois, the bluest of the blue, giving lie to the Democrats’ excuse that they lost because the game was played on Republican turf.

The defeat – “a massacre,” The Economist called it – marks the final collapse of Obamaism, a species of left liberalism so intrusive, so incompetently executed and ultimately so unpopular that it will be seen as a parenthesis in American political history. Notwithstanding Obama’s awkward denials at his next-day news conference, he himself defined the election when he insisted just last month that “these [i.e. his] policies are on the ballot – every single one of them.”

They were, and America spoke. But it was a negative judgment, not an endorsement of the GOP. The prize for winning is nothing but the opportunity for Republicans to show that they can govern – the opportunity to seize the national agenda. …

[Obama] will try to regain control of the national agenda with executive amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Final memo to the GOP: That would be naked impeachment bait. Don’t take it. Use the power of the purse to defund it. Pledge immediate repeal if Republicans take the White House in 2017. Denounce it as both unconstitutional and bad policy. But don’t let it overwhelm and overtake the GOP agenda. That’s exactly what Obama wants. It is his only way to regain the initiative.

The 2014 election has given the GOP the rare opportunity to retroactively redeem its brand. The conventional perception, incessantly repeated by Democrats and the media, is that Washington dysfunction is the work of the Party of No. Expose the real agent of do-nothing. Show that with Harry Reid no longer able to consign House-passed legislation to oblivion, Congress can actually work.

Pass legislation. When Obama signs, you’ve shown seriousness and the ability to govern. When he vetoes, you’ve clarified the differences between party philosophies and prepared the ground for 2016.

Tuesday’s victory was big. But it did nothing more than level the playing field and give you a shot. Take it.

Click here to show comments

Subscribe! It's Right. It's Free.