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Our choice: Impeachment or dictatorship

Almost every week brings a new reason for the United States House of Representatives to bring impeachment charges against President Obama. The question of the day is not why he should be impeached but why it hasn’t already been done.

This week it was Secretary of Defense Panetta’s declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he and President Obama look not to the Congress for authorization to bomb Syria but to NATO and the United Nations. This led to Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., introducing an official resolution calling for impeachment should Obama take offensive action based on Panetta’s policy statement, because it would violate the Constitution.

Well, really, folks: Is Obama’s disregard of the Constitution really news? No. He has done it so many times it doesn’t make news anymore. Democrats approve it and Republicans in Congress appear to accept it – not all Republicans, of course, but far too many.

The list of Obama’s constitutional violations is growing by the day and ought to be the topic of not only nightly news commentary but citizens’ town-hall meetings and protest rallies.

President Obama can only be emboldened by the lack of impeachment proceedings. His violations typically arouse a short-lived tempest among some conservatives, yet impeachment is not generally advocated by his critics as a realistic recourse. That must change.

That Obama can be voted out of office in eight months is not a reason to hold back on impeachment. Formal impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives would help alert the nation’s 120 million likely voters that more is at stake in Obama’s power grabs than Syrian human rights and contraception subsidies for college students.

The grounds for House impeachment proceedings have been laid by Obama’s own actions. A list of his unconstitutional and illegal actions would embarrass any honest public official and makes Nixon’s Watergate cover-up look like a college fraternity house panty raid.

Obama’s policy on the use of military force abroad raises grave issues – both policy issues and constitutional issues. When Defense Secretary Panetta tells a Senate committee he will rely on NATO and the U.N. for “permission” for use of military force, that is an affront to and direct assault on the Constitution.

Those Panetta statements propelled Rep. Jones to introduce a House resolution stipulating that any use of military force by the president without an act of Congress, except to repel a direct attack on the United States, is an impeachable offense under the Constitution.

But this is only the latest Obama assault on the Constitution. There are many other examples of Obama’s disregard for constitutional limitations to his power.

The precedent of Clinton’s impeachment over his perjury in the Monica Lewinsky case established the principle that the legal definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is what Congress wants them to mean. Have Obama’s actions met the constitutional standard for impeachment? Absolutely, yes.

Unless the House of Representatives acts to begin impeachment proceedings against this bold usurper, we are headed for dictatorship. Either the Constitution limits the president’s powers or it does not. If it does, Obama must be impeached for his actions. If not, then a dictatorship is not only inevitable, it will be upon us soon.