On the heels of his stunning loss to tea-party superstar Ted Cruz in last year’s U.S. Senate race, veteran Texas statewide office-holder David Dewhurst is facing three Republican challengers in his bid to be re-elected lieutenant governor.
Could that help explain why Dewhurst – who has held the lieutenant governor post since 2003 – boldly declared at a tea party campaign event Monday night that President Obama should be impeached?
While members of the Republican-controlled U.S. House who have discussed the provocative subject conclude there aren’t enough votes in the U.S. Senate to remove Obama from office if he were impeached, Dewhurst apparently believes it’s a winning idea in Texas.
A campaign spokesman confirmed to the Texas Tribune that Dewhurst called for Obama’s impeachment in an appearance at a Tarrant County Tea Party candidate forum. Dewhurst’s comments first were reported on Twitter by a Texas Observer reporter.
The Texas politician’s call for impeachment is significant, having drawn national attention during last year’s Senate race as a “center-right Republican” challenging “true conservative” Cruz to succeed Kaye Bailey Hutchison.
Insisting Dewhurst did not deserve the conservative label, blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com wrote during the Senate race that “liberal newspapers endorse him precisely because of his supposed moderation.”
As grounds for impeachment, Dewhurst pointed Monday night to issues such as immigration, health care and Obama’s handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Spokesman Travis Considine explained after the tea party event that as a former CIA officer, Dewhurst receives many questions about foreign policy issues on the campaign trail, the Texas Tribune reported.
“He feels very strongly about the tragedy in Benghazi and has said that Congress should consider impeaching the president over the tragedy,” Considine said.
“David Dewhurst also believes that President Obama should be held accountable for Washington’s failure to secure the border and the gross overreach of the federal government under Obamacare.”
Dewhurst’s communications director, Andrew Barlow, referred WND to the campaign for further comment. Campaign spokesman Considine could not be reached when this article was published.
Dewhurst’s Republican challengers for lieutenant governor in 2014 are Land Commissioner Jerry E. Patterson, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick.
‘It’s a good question’
When asked about impeachment after a speech at at GOP dinner in Conroe, Texas, in August, Cruz did not rule it out.
“It’s a good question,” he replied, “and I’ll tell you the simplest answer: To successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. Senate.”
Cruz pointed out, however, that the Democrats have control of the Senate. He told National Review Online in an interview after the Q&A that it’s “not a fight we have a prospect of winning.”
Along with Cruz, several Texas members of Congress believe there are grounds for impeachment, even if it’s not politically viable.
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, received 435 copies of WND reporter Aaron Klein’s book “Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama From Office” and planned to distribute a copy to every member of the House.
Stockman told WND he believes the book has information every member of Congress should know, and he insists discussing impeachment should not be forbidden.
“Enforcing the Constitution and preserving limitations on executive authority aren’t just mainstream, they’re the law,” Stockman said.
The Texas Tribune noted Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas told a town hall meeting last month that he believed the U.S. House had the votes to impeach the president but didn’t think it was a good idea, because there aren’t enough votes in the Senate.
Farenthold said the failure to convict President Clinton after he was impeached damaged the country.
“What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and is found innocent?” Farenthold asked, according to Politico.
Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, said at a town hall meeting last month he “would probably” vote to impeach Obama.
“I’ve looked at the president. I think he’s violated the Constitution. I think he’s violated the Bill of Rights,” he said.
He affirmed that the House would impeach the president but noted there are only 46 Republican senators.
'An impeachable offense'
Also Monday, meanwhile, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said in a post on her Facebook page that Obama is risking “impeachable offenses" with the way he is handling the debt-limit debate.
“Defaulting on our national debt is an impeachable offense, and any attempt by President Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit without Congress is also an impeachable offense,” Palin wrote.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., as WND reported, declared last week that Obama has "committed impeachable offenses" and warned that America slowly is turning into a dictatorship under his leadership.
"We can have an impeachment hearing in the House, and in my mind the president has committed impeachable offenses," Bachmann told talk show host Rusty Humphries in an interview reported by The Hill.
More than a dozen members of Congress have discussed the prospect of impeachment, including Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.; Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Trey Radel, R-Fla.; Steve King, R-Iowa; and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; and Tim Scott, R-S.C.; also have discussed the issue.
As WND reported, Coburn told an audience in Muskogee, Okla., in August that Obama was "perilously close" to qualifying for impeachment.
Days earlier, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., said it would be a "dream come true" to impeach Obama.
Bentivolio told the Birmingham Bloomfield Republican Club Meeting: "I feel your pain and I know. I stood 12 feet away from that guy and listened to him, and I couldn't stand being there. But because he is president I have to respect the office. That's my job as a congressman. I respect the office."
Bentivolio said his experience with Obama prompted him to consult with attorneys about what it would take to remove him from office.
In May, Inhofe suggested Obama could be impeached over a White House cover-up after the Benghazi attack.
He told listeners of "The Rusty Humphries Show": “Of all the great cover-ups in history – the Pentagon papers, Iran-Contra, Watergate, all the rest of them — this ... is going to go down as most egregious cover-up in American history."
Chaffetz said in May he considered impeachment a possibility.
"I’m not willing to take it off the table, but that’s certainly not what we’re striving for,” he told CNN.
Yoho, prior to his election in 2012, posted on his website a list of grounds for impeaching Obama.