Since we’re going for style points here, I’m putting my money on a scenario in which South Carolina decides to nullify the healthcare reform law and prohibit its enforcement. Obama nevertheless directs the IRS office in Charleston to dispatch tax delinquency notices to uninsured residents. Governor Nikki Haley instructs the state police to barricade the IRS in order to prevent it from delivering outgoing mail, at which point Obama sends in Army troops to reopen the office. This is taken as a tyrannical abuse of federal power, and Rep. Joe Wilson files immediate impeachment charges. The impeachment bill passes with 220 votes — 201 from the Tea Party, 18 from the rump Republican Party, plus Bobby Bright — and is sent to the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts presides, wearing robes decorated with the scales of justice stitched in gold lame, but Tea Partiers and Republicans eventually rally only eight Democratic supporters and the charges fail by a single vote. Mary Landrieu, who spends the entire trial vacillating loudly and publicly about the weight of history, eventually provides the one-vote margin of victory and immediately commissions a book about her experience, Keeping Faith: How One Woman Made a Difference in Trying Times.
In fact you need 67 votes to remove, not 60 as Drum assumes, but otherwise this seems pretty reasonable (EDIT: Drum says this will all happen with Republicans have 58 seats, so the 8 Dem turncoats will indeed leave them one short). What I look forward to most is the pro-impeachment editorials from David Brooks and Ross Douthat.
I want to be clear on one thing: I hope the Republicans don’t take the House, that’s why I’m giving money to Democratic candidates and doing phone-banking and canvassing. But if they do, I hope they’re crazy enough to try impeachment, which will be a big flop politically.
What are your impeachment scenarios?