Let me tell you about Ernest Lee. Ernest Lee is a rotund, cheery, bearded 27-year-veteran of the truck-driving industry who sported an American flag T-shirt tucked into black cotton sweat pants and a cap that reads “If You Bought It, A Truck Brought It.” He’s originally from Memphis, he has a thick southern drawl, and he’s known as General Lee to members of Truckers for the Constitution because he’s helped corral the troops and also because he’s a direct descendant of the Confederate general (I haven’t checked Ancestry.com, but Lee said so himself and I’m taking his word for it, so now it’s PolitiFact’s problem).
In a parking lot across from a Target, Lee and his right-hand man, Tom Lacovara, chatted with Josh Barry, the Pennsylvania state leader of Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment. Lee told Barry that driving under the protesters, who stand on highway overpasses and wave signs admonishing drivers to impeach the president, was the highlight of his day, and also deeply moving.
Then Lee was kind enough to take me on the first big-rig ride of my adulthood. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that we spent a lot of it discussing Louie Gohmert. Lee loves the outspoken Texan Republican, and says he’s one of his political heroes. And today, there was a bit of a Louie Gohmert miracle at the WWII memorial.
“Early this week I was talking to Louie on the phone,” Lee says, “and he told me to call him Louie, I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I was talking to Louie on the phone and I said, ‘Louie, those barricades are going to give you guys trouble. I’ve got 200 feet of chain in my truck and I can solve that problem for you.’ And Louie said, ‘You just stay in the truck and let me tie the chain to it, will you?’ It was meant lighthearted, etcetera.”
But today, Lee adds, the barricades — he uses the Twitter portmanteau “Barrycades” — were gone!
“I think somebody up there was like, ‘You know what? I think we might have gone one step too far, and we have just about pissed everybody off,’” Lee adds.
But they’re not resting with a few disappeared barricades. Lacovara says the Beltway adventurism of this weekend is just the start.
“This is the birth of something right here that, if they don’t straighten out — and I don’t think I need to finish that sentence,” he says from the back of the truck.
Their long-term goals are a lot bigger than adding 30 minutes to Washingtonians’ morning commutes, which is Lee’s estimation of the protest’s impact.
“I don’t know whether Obama’s documents are real, fake, whatever,” he says. “But I do feel like that he has been — that he has been an extremely poor president. I would call for his impeachment or resignation,” he concludes.
“You would?” I asked.
“I’ll just put it that way,” he says.
“Impeachment,” says Lacovara.
— Betsy Woodruff is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.