Chris Matthews, on Monday's Hardball, claimed that a Tea Party candidate, in his new ad, had just declared war and warned this was an example of the "lock and load mentality" of "the Tea Party folk." Matthews, during his Sideshow segment, played a clip from a Rick Barber for Congress ad in which the candidate engages in an imagined conversation with Sam Adams and George Washington in which Barber tells the Founding Fathers how far the government has grown in it scope, with the actor playing Washington saying, at the end, it's time to "Gather your armies."
Matthews took this as a sign that Barber was "advocating taking up arms against the government." Matthews also asserted, again, that the tea partiers view the federal government as "a foreign occupying force" and told viewers they can see "more of this sort of thing" on his new documentary "Rise of the Right" to be aired this upcoming Wednesday night on MSNBC. [audio available here]
The following teaser, ad clip and Matthews commentary were aired on the June 14 edition of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next it's a campaign you have to see to believe! A Republican running for Congress in Alabama, basically is advocating taking up arms against the government. This is the closet thing, well I'm not gonna say it. Well it's the closest thing to "Let's revolt!" that I've seen. You're watching Hardball only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Now to the Sideshow. First tonight, a tea partier declares war! Rick Barber, one of the candidates competing in the Republican run-off in Alabama's second congressional district has just come out with an ad for TV that tells you the true dimension of the Tea Party mentality. The spot begins midway through an imagined meeting with Founding Fathers Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington. Here it is.
(Begin ad clip)
RICK BARBER: And I would impeach him. And if that's not enough, some of you 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 a progressive income tax. Now the same IRS is gonna force us to buy health insurance, cram it down our throats or else. Now I took an oath to defend that with my life. I can't stand by while these evils are perpetrated! You gentleman revolted over a tea tax - a tea tax! Now look at us! Are you with me?
ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE WASHINGTON: Gather your armies.
MATTHEWS: Actually Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Well this is the lock and load mentality you just saw there, of the Tea Party folk. They see themselves as involved in a battle with the federal government, which they view is a foreign occupying force, like the British during colonial days. For more on this sort of thing, watch our documentary, Rise of the New Right, this Wednesday at 7:00 o'clock Eastern.