Another Alabama Commercial

Rick Barber was the second place finisher in the AL02 contest to run as the Republican against incumbent Bobby Bright in November.  He is likely to lose to Martha Robey during said run-off in July based on the numbers from the primary:

U.S. House District 2 GOP – Primary

418 of 418 precincts – 100 percent

r-Martha Roby 36,266 – 49 percent

r-Rick Barber 21,290 – 29 percent

Stephanie Bell 13,780 – 18 percent

John McKinney 3,346 – 4 percent


Barber is the Tea Party candidate in the race and has been part of the overall Alabama goes viral YouTube commercial fest (see here, here and here for examples and further explanation).

Here’s his latest:

BTW, Barber ends the commercial with “You gentlemen revolted over a tea tax. A tea tax!! and now look at us!” However, I would note, that is not historically correct.   While the Boston Tea Party (as it came to be known in the 19th Century) was one of several events that predated the war for independence, it was by no means the proximate cause for the conflict, let alone the move for independence.  Indeed, the specific protest was against the tax breaks given to the East India Company (see this article at  Debunking Boston Tea Party Myths).

Indeed, Dave Weigel rightly notes:

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.

Barber’s previous ad is here, wherein he rants about Islam and the mosque that has been proposed near Ground Zero in New York:

BTW, he claim about the mosque opening on September 11, 2011 strike me as unlikely to be true. While it was reported as such in a NY Post piece, the notion that a building as complex as the proposed Cordoba House will likely take more than just over a year to complete. The statement that the building would open on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 seems like it is too perfect for the narrative in question to be true.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, Congress, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. sam says:

    If Alabama secedes, can we keep Joyner?

  2. Excellent post! This Rick Barber seems like an atypical reactionary.

  3. Scout says:

    Alright, I feel silly even posting something in response to this – but, as a historian, the Revolution was less about taxes at all (any colonist was taxed a lot less than the average British citizen), and really about the idea that congress could pass laws/taxes for the colonies without their input (hence, the phrase, “no taxation without representation”). There were other things going on, as well, of course….. And George Washington, by the way, certainly realized that once we had a representative government, where everyone (well, some of everyone, anyway) had a say, then “gather your armies” was no longer a valid response to disagreeing with a law – he personally led American forces in to squash the Whiskey Rebellion (which was a tax rebellion) in Pennsyvania.

  4. @Scout: indeed all around.

  5. Herb says:

    I have to say….it’s getting increasingly tiresome listening to Tea Party types complain about our “tyrannical government.” Especially when they’re scrambling so mightily to become part of it….

    Oh, I know, I know, they’re all reformers. Once they join the tyrannical government, they’re going to do all they can to make it less tyrannical. Because that’s usually how it happens…

  6. Scott says:

    The concept of the commercial isn’t bad. The idea of griping about the country of today with what the founders intended. It’s the dialog that ruined it.