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'Gather your armies'

And here it is, the latest performance art TV ad from Alabama -- although the previous stars of memorable ads here, Dale Peterson and Tim James, lost their primaries. Congressional candidate Rick Barber, a tea partyer who held the GOP's preferred candidate Martha Roby below 50 percent in the first round of his primary, imagines a strategy meeting between himself, Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

Is it worth digging into the substance here? Well, okay. First, the ad begins mid-conversation, with Barber saying, "And I would impeach him." Tea parties aside, we haven't seen many candidates openly mulling an impeachment of President Obama.

Second, I'm not sure Barber's argument here makes sense. His pitch to the founders is a jeremiad against the IRS and "what they call a progressive income tax" (although what else you could call a tax on income that hits high-wage earners harder than low-wage earners is a mystery). He appeals to Washington as the owner of a distillery who "knows how tough it is to run a small business without a tyrannical government on your back." But President Washington presided over, and approved, the first tax levied by the federal government -- the 1791 whiskey tax. 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.

A previous Barber video offered his straight-to-the-camera take on the "Islamic jihadists"

By David Weigel  |  June 14, 2010; 8:17 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Next: Running against Sharron Angle on Social Security and Scientology

 
 
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