They would never admit it, of course, but there seems to be a new message from the White House these days: Don't throw President Obama in the briar patch of impeachment!!!
Normally, the notion of impeaching Obama would be so ridiculous -- what are the grounds, other than issuing executive orders, which all of his predecessors did in much greater numbers (and, until a few weeks ago, was considered a routine part of the job)? -- that administration officials wouldn't dare even comment on the notion. Instead, you have White House officials saying on the record they take the threat very seriously.
This is all a sad commentary on how much politics have changed. You'll be hearing a lot on the next couple of weeks about Richard Nixon, who resigned 40 years ago next month to avoid being impeached and removed from office. What a different time. Nixon was investigated for actual high crimes and misdemeanors! And members of his own Republican Party asked tough questions of GOP White House aides and a few even voted in committee for impeachment.
Then came Bill Clinton. His actions in the Monica Lewinsky case were -- in my opinion, for what it's worth -- wrong, often dishonest, and definitely troubling, but they also didn't relate to his conduct as president and weren't really worthy of his removal. Most people saw it the same way. Say what you will today about Bill Clinton, but as just the second POTUS to be actually impeached, he is hardly considered a "disgraced ex-president" (as Nixon had been). Instead, he changed the whole notion of impeachment. Today, you can make the case that impeachment has lost its sting. It's no longer seen as a form of prosecution for office-holders, but just another sad symptom of our diseased politics.