By Greg Smith
The Republican party in Texas is making a major strategic political error by continuing to refer to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s legal trouble as an indictment for coercion instead of what it is: impeachment. And before any more talk of impeaching President Obama, the GOP should learn from the black eyes and bloody noses the Democratic party will suffer in Perry’s case, and how his impeachment will ultimately become a political benefit to Perry and the GOP.
Perry was indicted by a grand jury for threatening to and subsequently vetoing funding for the state’s public integrity unit after the district attorney who runs the unit had a DUI arrest that made Mel Gibson’s look like jaywalking. Evidence against the DA was overwhelming; Perry said he wanted that DA to step down – nothing out of the ordinary. The DA, a Democrat, refused. Perry publicly said if she refused to step down he would veto funding for her office, which he eventually did.
All of Perry’s actions were public, and his veto is a power the governor holds through the state’s constitution. The indictment for coercion in effect criminalizes what poly sci geeks refer to as “jawboning,” or trying to influence others’ actions through persuasion. The idea that it is a crime to threaten to act lawfully and then actually acting lawfully means a police officer threatening to arrest a protester out after curfew in Ferguson, MO, and then arresting the protester if he or she refuses to leave is committing a crime. It means it would be a crime for President Obama to threaten to veto legislation proposed in Congress, if he then vetoed the bill once it passed Congress.
Democrats/liberals are already questioning the indictment and most certainly wishing it would go away. They understand that members of one party attempting to remove from office or convict of a crime a duly elected official from another party, for anything but the most rock-solid circumstances, will boomerang like a, well, boomerang.
The impeachment of Perry, unless an actual legal case come to light, is going to be a political disaster for Democrats. They have unintentionally matched the ill-advised talk of impeaching President Obama, effectively nullifying a campaign issue for their own party. Simultaneously, they have created a martyr for their opponents to rally around.
Republicans in Austin, TX should immediately call the indictment an impeachment, and the GOP should learn a lesson before even one more comment on impeaching President Obama. ©
Greg Smith is a freelance writer and political consultant who lives in Bantam, CT. His blog is found at www.betterfatthanfascist.com.