Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
The faux stone columns from his Denver acceptance speech are crumbling, the fireworks have fizzled and the unadulterated adulation of Barack Obama is a sour feeling of disillusion, as a new poll reveals half of Americans wants him impeached, including a stunning one in four Democrats.
“It may be early in the process for members of Congress to start planning for impeachment of Barack Obama, but the American public is building a serious appetite for it,” said Fritz Wenzel, of Wenzel Strategies, which did the telephone poll Thursday. It has a margin of error of 4.36 percent.
“Half or nearly half of those surveyed said they believed Obama should be impeached for the trifecta of scandals now consuming Washington.”
Actually, on the issue of the Benghazi scandal, where four Americans were killed when in what may have been a politically motivated series of moves, a surging danger to Americans at the foreign service facility there was ignored until al-Qaida-linked terrorists attacked, 50.1 percent of Americans said Obama should be impeached. That included 27.6 percent of the responding Democrats.
All of America is buzzing about impeaching Obama.
On the scandal of the Internal Revenue Service intentionally harassing conservative and Christian organizations? Forty-nine percent said they agree that impeachment is appropriate, including 24.4 percent of the Democrats.
And on the fishing trip the Obama administration took into AP reporters’ telephone records in search of something that may well have been done by his own administration, 48.6 percent impeachment is appropriate. That included 26.1 percent of the Democrats.
Americans can sign a petition urging Congress to impeach Obama.
It was only two months ago that respondents to the same poll suggested, although in smaller numbers, that impeachment was appropriate for other Obama scandals. At that time 44 percent said he should be impeached for his campaign to give amnesty to illegal aliens inside the U.S., and 46 percent said he should be impeached for launching the war to remove Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
“What is clear from the data is that Obama is at risk of losing his base,” Wenzel explained. “On each of these questions, about one in four Democrats said they agreed Obama should be impeached. What could be more alarming to the White House is that it appears that most of American is tuned in to these issues now, as 93 percent of registered voters said they get at least one news update on these issues every day.”
He continued, “Of the three issues now in the news, the one that has been there the longest, and the only one that has to do with the death of American citizens, is seen as the most important to Americans. While 49 percent said the Benghazi murders of U.S. diplomatic personnel is the most serious issue, 26 percent said IRS harassment was most serious, and 25 percent said the seizure of AP phone records was most serious. With news still breaking on all three fronts, it is impossible to know which of the three scandals will ultimately be the most damaging to the Obama administration. These findings clearly show Americans are concerned about what is going on in Washington.”
It spells headwinds for Obama, too, as he lobbies American voters to grant him his wish of having a Democrat Congress during the last two years of his reign, Wenzel said.
“What could be most concerning to the White House is that the Democratic Party effort to retake the U.S. House of Representatives next year may be at risk because of these issues. Asked whether they would lean to vote for the Democrat or the Republican in their own congressional district based on what they know about these three situations, 46 percent said they would lean toward voting for the Republican, while 39 percent said they would lean toward voting for the Democrat. Another 16 percent said these issues make no difference in their congressional vote,” Wenzel said.
He said, “The appetite is growing for impeachment proceedings. It is too early to say it is time for those proceedings to start, but it’s now possible to see that day on the far horizon.”
Of those who did not vote in 2012, based on their knowledge of Obama’s administration now, 37 percent say they would have gone back to vote for Republican Mitt Romney, 27 percent for Obama, and others undecided.
That the situation is serious for Obama was confirmed by former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan.
“We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they’re seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration’s credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don’t look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone,” she said.
“The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He’s shocked, it’s unacceptable, he’ll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you. But he is not unconnected, he is not a bystander. This is his administration. Those are his executive agencies. He runs the IRS and the Justice Department,” she continued. “A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.”
It’s even being compared to Watergate, that breakin episode that ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
That was confirmed by no less than Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, whose reporting on Watergate eventually snared the sitting president.
Woodward said recently, “If you read through all these emails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al Qaeda. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings.’ And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts to the conversations, and he personally went through them and said, ‘Oh, let’s not tell this, let’s not show this.’ I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue.”
A Republican congressman recently brought up the subject.
“I would say yes. I’m not willing to take it [impeachment] off to take it off the table, but that’s certainly not what we’re striving for,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CNN.
“We want truth, we want to bring the people who perpetrated the terrorism in Benghazi to be brought to justice, and we want to have the president do what he has said he would always do. And that is be open and transparent. Thus far, the White House has not done that.”
Earlier, Chaffetz was interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune, and was asked if impeachment were within the realm of possibilities.
“It’s certainly a possibility,” he told the paper. “That’s not the goal but given the continued lies perpetrated by this administration, I don’t know where it’s going to go. … I’m not taking it off the table. I’m not out there touting that but I think this gets to the highest levels of our government and integrity and honesty are paramount.”
Chaffetz has been championing the call to probe the Sept. 11, 2012, onslaught at Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Other Republicans have also voiced impeachment as a potential final outcome.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said last week impeachment was possible over the “most egregious cover-up in American history.
“People may be starting to use the I-word before too long,” Inhofe told radio host Rusty Humphries, according to the Hill.
“The I-word meaning impeachment?” Humphries asked.
“Yeah,” Inhofe responded.
Additionally, radio host Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate, predicted Obama won’t serve out his full second term because of his complicity in a cover-up with Benghazi.
Other members of Congress who have uttered possible impeachment for a variety of reasons in recent years include Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.; and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
Others who have raised the subject?
Rock legend and gun-rights defender Ted Nugent said there’s “no question” Obama should be impeached, and he’s calling CNN anchor Piers Morgan an “effective idiot” in the battle over the Second Amendment.
Referring to Obama, Nugent says: “There’s no question that this guy’s violations qualify for impeachment. There’s no question.”
He blasted “the criminality of this government, the unprecedented abuse of power, corruption, fraud and deceit by the Chicago gangster-scammer-ACORN-in-chief.”
“It’s so diabolical,” he said.