(City Journal) -- What’s wrong with Republicans? Here is a Democratic president who has declared, and demonstrated, that he will not be bound by the Constitution but will do whatever he can do—both within and beyond his constitutional powers—to cram his agenda down the nation’s throat. But since Republicans control one house of Congress, and that one chamber controls the purse, why is the GOP as paralyzed as a deer in the headlights to arrest such a power grab? And why has the Speaker of the House made himself so negligible a figure on the national stage, most recently by addressing the Obama-created border crisis with an immigration bill as feeble and irrelevant as it is unpopular, when he and his majority have such power at their command to counter a president who has passed beyond the bounds the Founders set for the national executive?
No doubt, the president is impeachable. Of course he hasn’t committed high crimes, in the sense of beheading citizens after star-chamber trials—though if it be true that he knew of and approved the IRS’s mistreatment of conservative nonprofit groups, that would certainly be a high crime, no less than President Nixon’s Watergate cover-up was such a crime, as the tapes he lacked the sang-froid to destroy showed. But the Constitution specifically envisioned impeachment for such unconstitutional misdemeanors as a president’s not carrying out his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—the president’s main constitutional duty. So government by edict, like that exercised by Charles I or Lenin—as when President Obama simply decrees rolling changes in his half-digested health-care law, or when he opens the border to “children” in contravention of our immigration laws—is prima facie impeachable conduct.