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Bachmann Bungles American History. Again.

March 13, 2011

In the late 1970's film Animal House, John Belushi's character Bluto famously rallies his fraternity brothers by proclaiming, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Now, a latter-day Bluto may be running for President of the United States.
Pandering to Republican voters in New Hampshire on Saturday, Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann comically proclaimed their state - and not neighboring Massachusetts - home to the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord. Of course, Bachmann's Founding Fathers flubs hardly end there.
Within hours, Bachmann's latest misfire became the shot heard 'round the political world:

"What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty," the potential GOP presidential candidate said. "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord. And you put a marker in the ground and paid with the blood of your ancestors the very first price that had to be paid to make this the most magnificent nation that has ever arisen in the annals of man in 5,000 years of recorded history."

At the same gathering during which Bachmann also seemed to wrongly place Plymouth Rock in the Granite State, "The Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, which hosted the event, provided pocket-sized copies of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution on a table a few feet from where Bachmann spoke." Given her past missteps on the history of slavery in America, she might want to take the time to read them.

In January, the Minnesota Congresswoman told Iowans for Tax Relief that America was founded on diversity and the Founding Fathers eliminated the "scourge" of slavery in their lifetimes:

"How unique in all of the world, that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world. It didn't matter whether they descended from known royalty or whether they were of a higher class or a lower class, it made no difference. Once you got here [to the United States] you were all the same. Isn't that remarkable?...
We know we were not perfect. We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil and it was scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. And I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forebears, who worked tirelessly, men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."

Alas, John Quincy Adams was extinguished in 1848. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was not issued until 1863 and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which ended slavery was not ratified until 1865.
For any U.S. politician, let alone one with presidential aspirations, these blunders are downright un-American. (For that matter, so is encouraging your constituents to be "armed and dangerous.") Of course, it was Bachmann who in October 2008 leveled that charge against Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress:

Bachmann on Friday told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that Barack Obama is not the only anti-American member of Congress. "The news media should do a penetrating exposé and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an exposé like that," she said.

A more helpful expose was provided by the likes of Politifact and the Washington Post, which this week debunked Bachmann's latest whopper. "Secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress," Bachmann insisted, "over $105 billion was hidden in the 'Obamacare' legislation to fund the implementation of 'Obamacare.'" As Alec Vachon, a former Republican congressional staffer who's now a health care consultant, put it:

"It's a bill -- the text is public. Is Congresswoman Bachmann saying there are no House Republicans, members or staff, who can read a bill?"

If reading the text of the Affordable Care Act or the Constitution is too much for Michele Bachmann, she can always watch Schoolhouse Rock. That is the famous animated 1970's series for kids which included the classic, "I'm Just a Bill." Among its other lessons is the tale of Paul Revere and the battles of Lexington and Concord in an episode titled, "Shot Heard 'Round the World."
UPDATE: Bachmann digs a deeper hole, proclaiming on her campaign Facbook page, "So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire. It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!" Of course, Patriot's Day (April 19) is an official state holiday every year in Massachusetts. Here's information on this year's annual reenactment in Lexington.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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