The Story Behind the ‘Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment’ Movement

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If you find yourself driving on an American interstate this weekend, there’s a chance you’ll become acquainted with Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment, a loosely organized coalition of fed-up conservatives using homemade signs to show their support for removing the president from office. Overpasses began two months ago when 46-year-old Oklahoman James Neighbors created a Facebook page encouraging Obama detractors to hit the streets above the streets. And even though Republican congressmen say impeachment is an impossibility and Fox News’ Brit Hume called the idea “stupid,” the group’s ranks have already swelled to 43,000 members in 50 state-specific Facebook groups (and D.C. too!).

All of that passion has won Overpasses some attention. Earlier this week, BuzzFeed said the movement is “taking the country by storm,” while the rabid World Net Daily wrote 3,500 words about how it’s “sweeping the nation.” Either characterization is fine with Neighbors, who told Daily Intelligencer that Overpasses has exploded because “America is fed up. We've watched our freedoms get chipped away and gnawed at and chewed at. I wasn't the only one out there looking for a way to express themselves.”

The decision to settle on the location favored by Bart and Milhouse (when they’re squirting condiments) was easy, Neighbors said, because “everybody drives to work at some point or another.” More important, though, it allows protesters a chance to “bypass the liberal media” to spread messages such as “No Hope” and “Honk to Impeach.” By Neighbors’s inexact calculations, those reading the signs like what they see. “We’ve seen honking, thumbs up, cheering out windows. Eighty to 90 percent of the people who respond, respond positively, and at least 50 percent of people actually respond.”

The issues driving the movement can be found on an overpasses.org page titled "Reasons to Impeach." It reads like a condensed version of a Hannity transcript, with complaints about boogey-man czars and the unconstitutionality of Obamacare and claims that “Obama, Eric Holder, and numerous other members of his administration” have engaged in “the overthrow of our constitutional form of government.” But if there’s one issue that stands out at these protests, Neighbors said, it’s “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.”

“I hope people go home and they look up Benghazi [after seeing it on a sign],” he said. “I hope they feel rage, and I hope they want to do something about it. I hope they demand their congressmen do something about it.”

That something, ideally, would be to impeach the president. But there are obvious hurdles preventing that dream from becoming reality, including a Democrat-controlled Senate. Neighbors sees a way around that: “We all saw Clinton's impeachment and how long that took,” he said. “If they were to start impeachment proceedings today, by the time they got finished investigating all of those scandals, the 2014 elections will have come and gone.” Neighbors believes the GOP can retake the Senate next year if candidates link their opponents to Obama and his “list of scandals.” The problem with that strategy, of course, is that these ginned-up controversies existed last year and didn’t stop the president from winning reelection. Neighbors said that’s because people didn’t know about them. He’s counting on Republicans to hold a “mud-slinging festival” in 2014 to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

As everyone driving under the overpasses knows, though, even if the GOP retakes the Senate, the chances of Congress impeaching President Obama are virtually nil. Neighbors acknowledged that possibility and said they have a goal beyond impeachment — to reform Congress and fill it with “honest and decent people, at least as close as we can get in the political arena.”

But his fight to impeach President Obama won’t end until January 2017. “The whole reason behind this is the precedent he has set for the future of our country,” Neighbors said. “If we allow Obama to continue unpunished, every single president in the future can say, ‘You let him do it, why not me?’ The next president that walks through the White House will understand that we the people are watching, and we don't appreciate criminal behavior.”