Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.Minn.), who has been reported to have Presidential ambitions, told prospective voters in Manchester, New Hampshire, “What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.” Those battles were actually fought here in the Bay State.
This is not the first time that Bachman has gotten confused about our history. A few days before her rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address she gave a rambling and highly revisionist speech in Iowa that touted the freedoms of immigrants when they arrived in America. She said then that: “It didn’t matter the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status.” She also praised the founder fathers (including John Quincy Adams) who she said “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”
Many of the founders, including George Washington and (famously) Thomas Jefferson in fact owned slaves, and while she was right that Adams fought tirelessly against slavery he was not a founder. And the Constitution itself, which she considers a sacred document, defines a slave as 3/5 of a person.
This “three-fifths compromise” of 1787 is found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”
You would think that a leader of a movement that calls itself the “Tea Party” after the BOSTON Tea Party would know something about our early history. Boston is in Massachusetts.
But as Jillian Rayfield wrote in her blog today in The New Republic, “I’m starting to wonder if the Republican policy of recruiting its female political talent heavily from the beauty pageant circuit may not have some downside after all.” I didn’t say that, but it’s something to ruminate on.