Something rather dangerous is happening in American politics right now, all the more so for being taken for granted by many of the people watching it unfold.
I do not mean the confusion of House Republicans, or the general gridlock in Congress, which are impeding legislative action on the child migrant crisis (among other matters). Incompetence and gridlock are significant problems, indeed severe ones, but they’re happening within the context of a constitutional system that allows for — and can survive — congressional inaction.
What is different — more cynical and more destructive — is the course President Obama is pursuing in response.
Over the last month, the Obama political apparatus — a close aide to the president, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the “independent” voices at MSNBC — has been talking nonstop about an alleged Republican plan to impeach the president. John Boehner’s symbolic lawsuit against the White House has been dubbed “impeachment lite,” Sarah Palin’s pleas for attention have been creatively reinterpreted as G.O.P. marching orders, and an entireapocalyptic fund-raising campaign has been built around the specter of a House impeachment vote.