The Republican Divide Over Whether to Sue or Impeach Obama

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker John Boehner rejected Sarah Palin's scorched earth approach to the border crisis on Wednesday, saying he "disagrees" that impeaching the President is a viable solution. That might be because Boehner already has what he thinks is a better idea in the works: a vote on Boehner's lawsuit against the president may happen later this month.

It should hardly strike any as surprising that former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin suggested impeaching the president in an op-ed for Breitbart, as many Tea Party favorites have called for Obama to be removed from office over a litany of issues. This time, Palin argued, politicians really, really needed to follow through: 

The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he's not impeachable, then no one is."

Were this just the usual Palin puffery, we'd all move along with our lives. But over at The Hill, Christina Marcos notes that a number of lawmakers agree with Palin, and have also expressed interest in seeking an impeachment of the president:

A number of House Republicans have also called for Obama's impeachment, including Reps. Lou Barletta (Pa.), Kerry Bentivolio (Mich.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Blake Farenthold (Texas), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Louie Gohmert (Texas).

That, it seemed, was enough to get this brief response from House Speaker John Boehner: 

He then uttered the same two words about the GOP lawmakers' calls for impeachment. And so opened a divide between lawmakers, between those who want to impeach the president, and who merely want to sue President Obama for his use of executive orders. (Arit John broke down Boehner's lawsuit rationale here.)

Palin isn't having it though

You don't bring a lawsuit to a gunfight. There is no place for lawyers on the frontline. Where are the front lines in America? They are our borders.”

So with the crucial midterm elections ahead of us and control of the Senate in the balance, the optics of a potential lawsuit or an impeachment (or simply more intransigence) will continue to dominate the debate in GOP strategy rooms. Can any of it work? Will any of it? Or will a war over how to undermine the president stunt all the momentum?

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