President Barack Obama (EPA/Tannen Maury)
President Barack Obama (Tannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency)

This is the fifth year of the Obama administration and the first summer since he was reelected by the American people. And yet there is a hearty band of nitwits implacably convinced that President Obama is an alien occupier of the Oval Office. They have shown up at Republican town halls flogging false allegations about the president’s birth certificate and have asked members of Congress what to do about it. As disturbing as that is, the conversation has moved from birther nonsense to a destructive remedy: impeachment.

At a town hall on Aug. 8, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) danced with a birther who wanted to know what he knew about “Obama’s identification fraud.” The House freshman cut her off and said that the 2012 presidential election settled that question. “We lost that argument Nov. 6,” Mullin said. “We had four years to get that proven. We didn’t. We re-elected him. So that’s a dead issue.” She countered, “No, it isn’t!”

Rep. Mullin: I’m not defending this guy. Please understand what I’m saying. I’m not defending this guy…. I believe what you’re saying and I don’t support this president whatsoever.

Questioner: But he’s not a real president.

Mullin: But ma’am, we lost Nov. 6. We had the opportunity to get another president in there and like it or not….

Questioner: So, he’s above the law. He’s not going to be held accountable to a crime that goes to the very root of what he’s doing to this Constitution. He was a fraud, he got in…He’s above the law.

Next up, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) He entertained the birther notion during a town hall on Aug. 13. A constituent had grave concerns about “the fraudulent birth certificate of Barack Obama.” Farenthold said he was “not sure how we fix it.” But the lady countered with another question. “We have to decide as a nation,” she asked, “do we allow a president, if he has committed a felony, do we allow him to go unpunished?” By broaching impeachment, Farenthold goes where Mullin did not.

You tie into a question I get a lot, if everybody’s so unhappy with what the President’s done, why don’t you impeach him? I’ll give you a real frank answer about that, if we were to impeach the President tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted….

What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and is found innocent? What do we  say then is okay. Aside from the fact that it wouldn’t be effective, I think there’s some potential damage to society that would be done with a failed attempt at impeachment.

The damage to society would be impeaching the president based on a lie, a racist one at that.

And now enters Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Katrina Trinko of the National Review reports that at a Republican dinner in Texas last night, the former Canadian was asked “Why don’t we impeach him [Obama]?” Cruz’s answer was an echo of Farenthold’s. While the context of the question is unclear (was it also a birther-related query?), Cruz’ response was not that of a statesman. “It’s a good question,” he said, “and I’ll tell you the simplest answer: To successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. senate.”

Cruz would later tell Trinko, “I think we should focus on fights that would make a difference, restoring economic growth and opportunity and fights that we have a realistic prospect of winning.” And, in Cruz’s estimation, “that’s not a fight we have a prospect of winning.”

There’s no prospect of winning an impeachment fight because Cruz, Farenthold and others don’t have a leg to stand on. What are the charges exactly? That he is an American citizen? That he succeeded in pushing through a health care law they don’t like? That he won reelection despite every effort to delegitimize him and his administration?

Sorry, folks. You have no case.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.