Monday, June 28, 2010

Rick Barber's Giant Ego Trip Continues

Rick Barber, a candidate for the Republican Party's nomination in Alabama's 2nd district (the fightin' second!), has managed to set the bar high for political narcissism with his now-infamous "gather your armies" ad.

He clearly took the well-deserved criticism he received for that ad as encouragement to continue stroking his ego. Little else really explains his most recent ad.

Entitled "slavery", Barber continues his conversation with George Washington. He counters arguments that Washington would have supported Obama's health care bill by pointing out that Washington's taxation record was largely relegated to key and basic government functions -- for example, the retiring of federal debt from the Revolutionary War.

He then turns to a rather scary-looking actor playing Abraham Lincoln. "Hey Abe," he addresses Lincoln, "when someone's forced to work for months to pay taxes so that a total stranger can get a free meal, medical procedure or a bail-out, what's that called?"

After further similar questioning from Barber, and some deliberation, Lincoln responds:


Barber then goes on to point out that the United States suffered greatly to rid itself of slavery, then accuses the government of enslaving the American people.

As with Barber's previous ad, the result is actually rather comical. This is a man with the temerity to brand himself as the last, best defender of the legacy of the civil war, and counter-brands Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as its betrayers.

What Barber seems to fail to understand is that no one man won the civil war. The American civil war was won by the sacrifices of an entire nation, and is thus the legacy of that war is common property of all the citizens of the United States. Its legacy could never be defended by one man alone, nor is it meant to be.

That Rick Barber could effectively annoint himself the one to defend that legacy is, once again, deeply revelatory of what his run for congress is really about: his own ego.

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