FORT WORTH (CBS DFW NEWS) – A surprising statement from one of Texas' top leaders: President Obama should be impeached. This came from Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who is running for re-election and appeared at a Tea Party candidates forum.
Dewhurst warned that freedoms are being trampled on, and so the President should be impeached. Later he fleshed out his thoughts for the Texas Observer's Christopher Hooks. "I think this President, Barack Obama, has disregarded federal law. He has tried to do things which are not authorized under federal law. Things he's disregarded such as immigration. He's not, not following our federal drug laws. And he has created winners and losers in Obamacare where he has no authority," according to Dewhurst, who pointed out the extensions given to unions and big businesses.
And then Dewhurst criticized alleged inaction. "I am very concerned about Benghazi, in which all of the national news reporting indicated that live video was streaming into the White House situation room. Which means there was a(n) overhead platform, probably a drone in the area. At least that's what it tells me. And for not mobilizing some response to protect the ambassador and those three Americans is just outrageous to me. Just outrageous."
Dewhurst called his comments those of a private citizen, but when pressed on that issue by the Texas Observer, he refused to back down. "That happens to be my view, that the man has committed crimes that do not warrant his staying in office."
CBS-11 Political Analyst John Weekley says Dewhurst should be taken seriously. He points out the Lieutenant Governor was an intelligence officer for both the U.S. Air Force and later the CIA.
"For Dewhurst to say, basically, ‘I think we ought to impeach the President,' is a big deal," according to Weekley. He says the office of Lieutenant Governor is the most powerful in Texas, so the accusations aren't made lightly.
"I think the Lt. Governor looks at the President's very open statement that he was going to work around the Constitution, and work around the Congress. And use the executive branch to basically create law in many cases." Weekley adds, "I think he's expressing his opinion that the President has way, way stepped over the line and that's where he stands."
Dallas County's Democratic party chair takes a different view.
"Impeachment is not some internet ranting that we throw around," says Darlene Ewing. "If it wasn't so pathetic I would say that the Lt. Governor should read the Constitution; obviously he hasn't seen it in awhile."
Ewing believes the comments from Dewhurst are a desperate political ploy. "It's just the wacko meanderings of a candidate that's desperate for the Tea Party's support so maybe he figures, ‘The crazier I get maybe the more votes I'll get because I'm scared of these other guys.'"
Weekley and Ewing agree that while the U.S. House probably could vote to impeach, there's no way removing Obama from office would pass the Senate. Still, according to Weekley, it would get the President's attention. "It's sort of a serious hand slap to impeach a President, knowing that it's not going to happen in the Senate; however, it certainly gets the message out that the Constitution means what it says. And you need to pay more attention to it."
We tried to contact the White House for comment, but the switchboards and emails are not being answered because of the government's shutdown.