Ousting Obama an obsession for Republicans
Impeaching the president remains the Holy Grail for an embittered GOP
For some of the rodeo clowns clamouring for impeachment around the country, Barack Obama’s real crime is presiding while black. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King jnr’s I Have a Dream speech, Kerry Bentivolio, a Michigan congressman, has a dream, too: to impeach the nation’s first black president.
“If I could write that Bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true,” the freshman Republican told a local GOP club meeting last Monday in Birmingham, Michigan, in a video posted on YouTube and reported by BuzzFeed.
Bentivolio graciously conceded that he’d have to come up with some grounds first. “I went back to my office and I have had lawyers come in,” he said.
“And these are lawyers, well – [with] PhDs in history. I said, ‘Tell me how I can impeach the president of the United States. What evidence do you have?’ You’ve got to have the evidence.”
The Tea Party congressman, a member of the House oversight and government reform committee, hopes to find emails linking the White House to the Internal Revenue Service examination of groups with a “Tea Party” label seeking tax-exempt status.
“I stood 12ft away from the guy and listened to him, and I couldn’t stand being there,” he said of US president Barack Obama, “but because he is president I have to respect the office.”
Unmoored from reality
Bentivolio is the perfect avatar of the impeachment fever gripping a GOP that’s unmoored from reality, given that he once admitted in a court deposition, “I have a problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio.” That’s why he sometimes used the pronoun “we”.
He’s been playing Santa Claus – as part of a business he started 19 years ago called Old Fashion Santa – with his own six reindeer.
“To project authenticity, he’s even sought clearance from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens to fly his sleigh in its airspace on Christmas Eve,” Kathleen Gray wrote in the Detroit Free Press.
He told National Review that he takes being called crazy as a compliment, so “it didn’t really bother me when people were saying, ‘that guy’s kooky because he has reindeer’. No, they’re kooky because they don’t have ’em.”
Bentivolio also had a small role “in a low-budget independent film that seemed to suggest that 9/11 was an inside job”, said the magazine.
The Free Press reported that Bentivolio, no Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street, left a teaching job in 2011 “after complaints he bullied students, even telling one class on its first day that his goal was to make all the students cry once during the year”.