At some point all one can do is laugh at both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann when either of them suggest that they might run for president. I mean after all, if you legitimately want to be this nation’s chief executive, you might first want to exhibit a modicum of understanding of the basics of American history. Ironically, for all of the advice that these two shinning lights regularly offer the American people, and their allusions to the founding fathers, their grasp of American history leaves much to be desired.

Quoting Jonathan Martin and Kendra Marr of Politico: “Michele Bachmann’s suggestion that the Revolutionary War began in Concord, N.H., rather than Lexington and Concord, Mass., marks the third time in recent months that the potential GOP presidential hopeful has committed a puzzling gaffe about history and current affairs. Addressing a  crowd of Republicans at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire Bachmann stated that, “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.” Oddly enough, Bachmann made a similar statement just days before the Manchester gaffe, at another fundraiser: “It’s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world, you are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard.” All of this coming on top of Bachmann’s misunderstanding of the role of the founding fathers as it relates to the problems posed by the existence of slavery at the founding of the republic. Again to the Politico article: “For Bachmann, who leads the House Tea Party caucus and champions a return to the Constitution, to get such basic facts wrong about the country’s birth is revealing.” What it reveals first and foremost is Ms. Bachmann’s complete and total lack of intellectual heft to even aspire to run for the presidency, let alone a seat in Congress.

Not to be outdone by her sister Tea Party darling, Sarah Palin has now chosen to redefine Paul Revere’s midnight ride. To wit: “He warned the British that they weren’t going be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells, and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” Again the variance with historical facts is just too much to ignore and too comical to overlook. Having been caught in yet another public blunder, Palin tried to talk her way out of her latest self inflicted disaster only to make matters worse: “Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride – and it wasn’t just one ride – he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British.” Well perhaps Sarah Palin was just trying to make up for her previous self inflicted fumble, her latest definition of what the Statue of Liberty actually represents, a soliloquy in utter incoherence for anyone who had heard it: “This Statue of Liberty was gifted to us by foreign leaders, really as a warning to us, it was a warning to us to stay unique and to stay exceptional from other countries. Certainly not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist policies.” Again, like Bachmann, Palin has done nothing but reaffirm the public’s belief that she just doesn’t have what it takes, intellectually, to aspire to the Oval Office.

So there you have it, two of the Barack Obama’s harshest critics, both of whom have been toying with the idea that perhaps they could do a better job of running the country, yet all the while continuing to exhibit not a lick of basic knowledge as to what their own country is all about. Now if that’s not a ringing endorsement for either of their potential candidacies, then what would be? More to the point, if this is the caliber of leadership that we can expect from two of the Tea Party movement’s biggest stars, how can we ever take the movement seriously as an alternative to politics as usual. Apparently at this moment we can’t.

SJG

6/6/11

Sources:

For Michele Bachmann, a pattern of getting facts wrong: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51179.html#ixzz1OXzpEnxZ

 
Sarah Palin on Paul Revere’s ride: ‘Hey British, we’re coming’
 
Sarah Palin At The Statue of Liberty