Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Rick Barber Should Not Have Approved This Ad
A campaign ad produced by Republican hopeful Rick Barber -- a Tea Party activist running in a run-off election to become the GOP nominee for the Congressional seat for Alabama's Second District -- is an illustration of why it's unwise to allow one's rhetoric to run away with them.
In the ad, Barber sits himself at a table with George Washington and Samuel Adams. What is imagined to be the original copy of the Constitution of the United States sits atop an American flag draped across the table. Washington's hand pats a single-fire flint lock pistol while he listens to Barber plead his case.
He begins by expressing his desire to impeach US President Barack Obama and then cotninuing by railing against progressive income taxes and the IRS. In the end, he compares Obama's health care reform package to the Tea Tax that helped spark the American Revolution. Clearly believing Obama's health care package to be much worse.
In the end, he asks "are you with me?"
At which point a very bad actor playing George Washington utters, in a nearly Adam West-like scattao, instructs him to "gather your armies".
The ad is being pushed around the internet as evidence that a potentially violent strain may be dominant within the Tea Party movement. This narrative conveniently ignores the detail that Barber is a candidate for office -- if anything, he's planning a revolution in which the weapons used will be ballots in elections, not muskets and bayonettes.
If anything, the ad reinforces the extent of the ego trip that Barber is on -- it isn't a pretty sight.
The ad contains two distinct branding messages. One brands him as a friend of small business, and counter-brands Barack Obama as the enemy of small business. The other brands Barber himself as an heir apparent to the founding fathers of the United States -- as someone who would have stood amongst them if he hadn't been born more than 200 years too late.
Rick Barber never should have approved this ad because, frankly, it is embarrassing. Whatever Rick Barber may imagine he could accomplish as a Congressman, he won't measure up to Washington or Adams. It's unlikely that anyone ever will.