Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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May 15, 2013

ROOT: Smells like impeachment

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — If you use a threat often enough without any real results, then you wind up with a threat that means nothing. However, when you use a threat constantly and then the threat winds up being useless when it is carried out, then the threat loses its luster.

I did some research, because I have nothing better to do when I sit around working all day. In the history of the United States, 13 out of 44 presidents have had articles of impeachment against them actually introduced into Congress. Out of those 13, two were actually impeached – Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

You see, the word “impeached” is one of those buzzwords that pundits like to throw around because it gets the blood boiling for the average American. Joe Six Pack just loves it when a president he is not fond of has the word “impeached” attached to his name in some way.

Let me explain to you what it actually means to impeach a president. First of all, Johnson and Clinton were both impeached by the House of Representatives and both were acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon probably would have been the first president to be impeached and removed by both the House and the Senate, but he resigned before any of that could take place.

The actual impeachment is not as dramatic as people may think. There is this misconception among the populous that impeachment means that the president is automatically removed from office. That is not the case. The House of Representatives, by a simple majority vote, can impeach a president based on an impeachment motion that generates a hearing. Being impeached is the equivalent of being indicted of a crime. In other words, it is a grand pageant that is basically used to say “yes, this guy screwed up.”

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