A Republican attempt at terminating the Obama presidency would also enable Hillary Clinton to reprise her role as the loyal, long-suffering help-mate working to protect a political partner unjustly persecuted by "a vast right-wing conspiracy." Instead of concentrating their attention on Obama's role in the Benghazi debacle, Republicans should focus on the more questionable role of then-Secretary of State Clinton — despite the fact that she has already resigned her office and placed herself beyond the reach of impeachment. Obama can never run for the White House again, but Hillary Clinton can — unless she's appropriately discredited for her role in these bloody events.
In addition to letting Clinton off the hook by aiming squarely at her boss, any impeachment drive could also boost the stock of another potential Democratic candidate, Vice President Biden. Concerted moves to push Obama from office could only enhance the stature of his constitutionally designated successor, whether those efforts succeeded or not. If Biden plays the role of president-in-waiting during an impeachment crisis, he looks more plausible in 2016.
And with no chance of success, even conjecture about impeachment ultimately serves to boost Obama. A series of scandals that looks increasingly dire — on Benghazi, the IRS, improperly seized phone records from reporters and assorted prevarications with the press and public — would still allow Obama a sense of victory and exoneration when he inevitably survives. Serious talk of impeachment makes any outcome less than that look like vindication.
Instead of pursuing an outgoing chief executive, Republicans should pursue the truth, no matter what. A new House select committee should uncover definitive conclusions to unanswered questions on Benghazi and the IRS. Those answers could weaken the administration even if they don't destroy it, and facilitate cooperation from a humbled White House on a conservative, reformist agenda that most Americans could embrace.
If new information exposes administration participation in especially egregious lies, there's always the chance for a resolution of censure — a formal reprimand voted by Congress (and applied to only one prior president, Andrew Jackson) that would allow nervous Democrats to distance themselves from their leader without actually removing him from power. The old saying sagely declares, "If you strike the king, you must kill him." Even without a king, that's good advice for re-energized Republicans who can hardly afford reinforcement of their reputation as flailing failures.