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OpinionColumnistsLane Filler

Partisan impeachment talk dangerous

President Andrew Johnson's 1868 impeachment was the only

President Andrew Johnson's 1868 impeachment was the only one in the first 220 years. Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

In our nation’s first 220 years just one president was impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 for firing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. That was sort of illegal then, according to the House, but not the Senate, which acquitted him.

Even introducing articles of impeachment, which generally mean little, was rare until recently. Now it pops up as frequently as the "Seinfeld" Soup-Nazi rerun. Barack Obama is the only president since Jimmy Carter not to be slapped with such articles, likely because of a "Three’s Company" style mixup where Eric Cantor thought Paul Ryan was on it, Ryan believed John Boehner had it covered, and Boehner was off weeping and smoking Camels.

Joe Biden, though, was the first president to face articles of impeachment on his first full day in office, which implies the political atmosphere is still worsening, which suggests our nation may soon be referred to as "New Yemen."

Biden’s "Welcome to the White House" articles of impeachment, from Rep. Marjorie Taylor "Jewish Space Lasers" Greene, argued Biden should be impeached because his son worked for a Ukrainian energy company while Biden was vice president.

But Friday Greene unleashed new articles based on Biden’s current term, charging he allowed a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, let immigrants pour over the border and instituted an eviction moratorium.

None of these are within a 16-hour bus ride of being impeachable offenses, and they won’t go anywhere … while Democrats run the House.

Yet Greene has support from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said Friday that if a single American or Afghan ally gets left behind in the U.S. military’s evacuations from Afghanistan, it should lead to impeachment.

He’s wrong. If we don’t get troops and allies out safely that’s sheer incompetence, but it’s not impeachable.

And for Long Islanders, it’s the comments of Rep. Lee Zeldin, now running for governor, that most deserve attention.

Last Wednesday Zeldin tweeted "President Biden should not remain in office. He and his team are just not up to the task at hand and greater and even more consequential challenges will now be ahead as a result. He needs to be removed before further damage is done to American citizens and US national security."

But Zeldin is accusing Biden of incompetence, not "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury, a crime.

Donald Trump’s impeachments, the first for withholding aid from the Ukraine to force an investigation of Hunter Biden and obstructing Congress’ inquiry into his play, and the second for incitement of insurrection (which got 10 GOP votes in the House and seven in the Senate) at least had legitimacy.

Admittedly, the most unhinged Democrats’ constant cries for Trump’s removal did not, but party leaders largely ignored them.

But these GOP moves to deem Biden’s every misstep impeachable are as dangerous as Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, because top Republicans seem willing.

We are the United States of America. We pick presidents by voting, and toss them out by other means only for provable, serious misdeeds.

We will see the White House and the House of Representatives controlled by opposing parties again. Before that happens, the impeachment talk based on policy rather than perfidy must stop.

Twisting the political tools and institutions of a free nation to purely partisan and dishonest ends kills democracies. Rejecting and defeating such tactics is the people’s responsibility.

Columnist Lane Filler's opinions are his own.