‘Gather your armies’: Is GOP candidate stoking armed revolt?
Rick Barber, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state’s second district, has released a one-minute ad in which he implies he supports impeaching President Barack Obama, then goes on a protracted criticism of the IRS, concluding with an actor dressed as George Washington declaring, “Gather your armies.”
The ad begins with the Tea Party-backed Barber implying support for Obama’s impeachment. “And I would impeach him,” Barber says in the ad’s opening line as he sits at a table with actors dressed as Washington, Sam Adams and Ben Franklin.
And if that’s not enough — some of your men own taverns. Sam, you were a brewer, Mr. President, a distiller. You know how tough it is to run a small business without a tyrannical government on your back.
Today, we have an Internal Revenue Service that enforces what they call a progressive income tax. You’ll love this. Every year, if not every quarter, we’re basically required to spy on ourselves. Report what we earn, who we hire and fire, with an all powerful separate court system. Without representation they could increase taxes, add costly regulations, or perform malicious audits.
Now this same IRS is going to force us to by health insurance. Cram it down our throats, or else. Now I took a took an oath to defend that with my life [points at copy of Constitution] and I can’t stand by while these evils are perpetrated.
You gentlemen revolted over a tea tax. A tea tax. Now look at us! Are you with me?
At the end of the ad, George Washington responds with the words, “Gather your armies.”
It’s “the first TV ad this reporter can remember that advocates taking up arms against the United States,” writes Rick Barber at MSNBC’s First Read blog.
Responding to controversy over the ad, Barber told TalkingPointsMemo’s Evan McMorris-Santoro that the ad has been misunderstood.
“They need to not look so deep into things,” Barber said. “It’s definitely not an inciteful call to arms.”
Nevertheless, McMorris-Santoro reports that Barber “stood by his ad’s message” that “the founding fathers would be absolutely appalled” by the current state of the US.
But David Weigel at the Washington Post suggests that Barber’s interpretation of the founding father’s attitudes doesn’t make sense.
“President Washington presided over, and approved, the first tax levied by the federal government — the 1791 whiskey tax,” Weigel writes. “When the tax met resistance, he approved the assembling of militias to enforce the law and mobilization of agents to collect the revenue. So the Barber daydream of Washington angrily ordering a ‘gathering of armies’ to oppose a tax is… well, entertaining, I guess.”
Barber garnered 28 percent of the vote in the June 1 primary to be the GOP’s House candidate for Alabama’s second district. But he held leading rival Martha Roby to below 50 percent of the vote, meaning the two face off in a run-off primary on July 13.
This video was posted to YouTube June 13, 2010.