Did Michele Bachmann Deliberately Sugarcoat the History of Slavery in America?

Campaigning for President in Iowa over the Weekend, She Said ‘Founders’ Like John Quincy Adams Ended Slavery

Around the time that “Good News for Modern Man,” the modern-English version of the New Testament, was published in the mid-1970s, I was spending a summer out of college in the Southern, suburban small town where I’d gone to high school.

No one I knew personally objected to (or cared about) the new translation, but among a vocal minority out in the hustings who believed that the Bible was the dictated word of God, there was outrage. One of their leaders, a country preacher called Rev. Johnny, found the “Good News” to be so blasphemous that he scheduled an old-fashioned book burning in front of the courthouse.

Being young, irreligious and bored, my friends and I tuned in to the reverend’s pre-conflagration sermon on a fuzzy AM radio station, during which he made this unforgettable statement:

REV. JOHNNY: The King James version of the Bible is the only true version of the Bible because it’s the version of the Bible that Jesus carried with him on the Crusades. (Emphasis his.)

For the history challenged, what Rev. Johnny asserted here was that Jesus, who is said to have died about 33 A.D., led the Crusades against the Muslim infidels in the Holy Land, circa 1000 to 1300 A.D., and that he had in hand an edition of the King James Version of the Bible — an English translation from the original Greek commissioned in 1604 by England’s James I.

I was reminded of Rev. Johnny’s rewrite of the first 1,600 years of the Christian era when I heard GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is running for president, rewrite the history of slavery in speech to potential Iowa caucus-goers over the weekend:

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was evil. And it was a 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 that it’s high time that we recognize the contributions of our forebears who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

Again, for the history challenged, slavery wasn’t just “tolerated” in America when the Constitution was adopted, it was a legal institution in many of the 13 new states. Slavery was also written into the Constitution in a section that allowed slave-owning states to count each male slave as three-fifths of a person. (The rights of women of any race, non-whites of either gender and white males who did not own real estate were not contemplated under the Constitution, as it was originally conceived by the founders.)

John Quincy Adams was not a founding father. Bachmann likely confused him with his father, John Adams. The Adamses were the first father and son who both served as president. It’s true they both opposed slavery, but neither of them were able to end it, not by a long shot. Adams Jr. had been dead for a quarter-century when the Republican Party — of which Rep. Bachmann is a member — was formed as the primary political entity of the abolition movement in 1854. Slavery remained legal in Southern states until the end of the Civil War in 1865.

I knew nothing about Rev. Johnny when I heard him declare that Jesus carried a 17th century English Bible when he led a war against Islam around the first millennium, but my sense was he was sincere.

But in rewriting the history of slavery, Bachmann is playing with fire. It’s easy to dismiss her as a buffoon, but whether she personally believes slavery ended in a gentleman’s agreement among the founders in the 1700s is almost beside the point.

On MSNBC’s “Hardball” yesterday, Chris Matthews went after Sal Russo, the Republican operative who has made millions astroturfing the corporatist front group Tea Party Express, under whose auspices Bachmann gave the tea party response to the president’s State of the Union Speech last night.

(If you’re trying to keep all the tea party groups straight, Tea Party Express was the group behind the anti-health care reform bus tours in 2009 and 2010 and whose chairman, Mark Williams, was forced to resign after issuing a racist screed about “Colored People” and that spent millions on the failed Senate campaigns of Joe Miller in Alaska, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada.)

Russo, of course, tried to weasel out of discussing Bachmann’s skewed version of the history. To Matthews’ credit, he was having none of it:

MATTHEWS: I don’t know what to make that, Sal. That’s balloon head. That’s not what our history was founded on. We were founded on a constitution that includes treating slaves as three-fifths of a person. It went on all the way to the Civil War. We had compromise after compromise trying to avoid a war. We went to war and lost 600,000 people in the worst catastrophe in our history, because slavery continued through the 1860s and only ended because of that war. Here’s this woman that you made your spokesperson saying that somehow the founding fathers dealt with it. That’s the one thing they did not deal with. That was the horrible compromise that was at the heart of our Constitution. Why do you put someone like this forward who is a balloon head — who knows no American history? It’s a ridiculous decision you guys have made. Do you know how little this woman knows about our history?

RUSSO: I think Michele Bachmman is one of the best —

MATTHEWS: Did you just hear that stuff? Did you just hear? You want me to play it again? We can rub it in, Sal. It’s horrendous.

RUSSO: I heard what she said.

MATTHEWS: What is she talking about?

RUSSO: What she’s talking about is that we cannot continue to spend money as recklessly…

MATTHEWS: What? That’s not what she just said. She said the founding fathers got rid of slavery. Why would you say that? Every high school kid has been to Mt. Vernon and seen the slave quarters. Jefferson had slaves. all those guys had slaves. I know they were great men in other regards but they never got rid of slavery. It’s right in the Constitution. Here’s this woman waving the Constitution around, palling around with Scalia, and she doesn’t even know what the Constitution had in it. The treatment of slaves, African-Americans, as three-fifths of people. That’s in our history. You can’t take it out. Explain to me what this woman is talking about.

RUSSO: I think she’s just using that as an illustration.

MATTHEWS: Of what? Of balloon head thinking? What do you mean, sir?

RUSSO: I think that Americans are concerned today that their children and grandchildren will not have the same opportunities of the American dream because we’ve —

MATTHEWS: What your talking about? You’re talking like her. That’s how she talks. She goes on this tape no matter what you ask her she goes on a tape. I want to ask you about slavery. Sal, you know when slavery ended. It ended with the Civil War, right?

RUSSO: Well, some kind of slavery ended with the Civil War.

MATTHEWS: What do you mean “some kind of slavery?” Why are you hedging?

So what was Bachmann up to in her attempts to whitewash American slavery? Matthews suggested that the extreme right is attempting to deify the founders, to create “a new religion of America that has to do with the infallibility of our founding fathers, some sort of new, almost scriptural notion of American history that somehow goes back to some perfection time that we’re trying to recover. You guys are trying to sell that everything was perfect back in the Federalist period, back in the late 18th century, so you can keep saying … everything was perfect. That’s what you’re trying to sell. But you have scrubbed our history of slavery, I think it’s a desecration.”

Matthews’ other guest with Russo, Salon editor Joan Walsh, suggested that for Bachmann and other tea partyists “to say that it’s always been easy and always been equal, that lets them propose policies that profoundly hurt black people, that hurt immigrants, that hurt poor and working class people because they have this notion that everyone’s always been equal which is garbage.”

Later, on her site, Walsh took on other parts of Bachmann’s campaign speech in Iowa:

Bachmann’s history was fractured from start to finish. She repeated her rant about “21 generations of Americans”; as many have pointed out, with our 235-year history, that makes a generation only about 11 years. But it got worse: Bachmann said the story of America was the effortless melding “of different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions.” She went on:

[BACHMANN:] 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 the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status. Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable?

… Bachmann was just as wrong with her happy talk that economic or immigration status never mattered, that “we were all the same.” Even white men weren’t all the same in early U.S. history: Many colonies and states only allowed property-owners to vote; universal white male suffrage wasn’t achieved until 1830. Those happy immigrants? Nativists were attacking Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, throughout much of the 19th century, burning down churches, convents and homes. The Chinese exclusion act lasted from 1882 to 1943. We know the history of Japanese internment. Certainly Indians and native Mexicans who were here first weren’t “all the same.” The story of America is the struggle to expand more rights to more people, and it’s required fighting the forces of reaction like Bachmann since its founding. I love my country, but that’s our history.

Bachmann’s attempt to rewrite the history of American slavery comes on the heels of a concerted effort by Glenn Beck to revise the facts behind the rise of Nazism in the 1920s and ’30s. Beck claims that Nazism started out as a liberal movement, in part because they called themselves the National Socialist Party.

The fact is, the Nazis grew up in the 1920s as an opposition party to German communism, a far left group, obviously. Socialism had a different meaning, a different context back then. Just as Germany had a Catholic socialist party and even a conservative socialist party, the Nazis branded themselves as national socialists. They went on to use racism, totalitarianism and violence to wield power. In addition to the millions of Jews and members of other ethnic groups they killed, Nazis rounded up liberals, writers and intellectuals and tortured and killed them. By putting German liberals in league with their Nazi killers, Beck is also committing a desecration.

We’ve all heard the quote from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But this is something different. This is not a society experiencing collective amnesia. This is a deliberate effort by authoritarian-leaning demagogues to revise certain aspects of history that could reflect badly on their movement today.

After Germany was defeated, the Allies forced rank and file German citizens to tour the concentration camps and see the results of their willful, blind obedience to the Nazis. Similarly, Americans — those alive today as well as future generations — must never be allowed to minimize the awful price our forebears paid for the evil that was done.

Rough transcript of Hardball segment:

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: we haven’t heard specific cuts so far. In fact, we’ve heard that the president may be referring to investments, meaning more spending yet again. Spending that this country simply cannot afford because as we know, Mr. Speaker, we’re falling off the cliff in terms of debt increases and that is not good for the next generation of Americans.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to “Hardball”. That was Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmman of Minnesota previewing her speech tonight, also talking about the president’s State of the Union address. Michele Bachmman will be giving her own response to the president’s speech tonight on behalf of the Tea Party Express. Is she going to trump the official gop response by Republican Paul Ryan — I doubt it. Are Bachmann and the tea party pushing Republicans further to the right and threatening to divide the right. I’m joined by Tea Party Express co-founder, Sal Russo. Sal, thank you for joining us. Let me, I want to you look at something here — there’s Joan Walsh, as well, thank you for joining us. Let me … Sal, I want you to look at something that was said over the weekend out in Iowa by Congresswoman Bachmann. Here she is.

BACHMANN: Do you realize it’s been 21 generations that America has survived. For 21 nations, we passed the torch of liberty from one generation successfully to the next and the question we need to ask ourselves tonight is this. Will it end with us? Will we be that last generation? Will we be the first generation to fail to pass that torch of liberty? It doesn’t seem like a very positive message, does it? But I have to ask you, will we be the ones for whom this great experiment in human liberty will end on our watch?

We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil. And it was a 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 that it’s high time that we recognize the contributions of our forebears who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

MATTHEWS: I don’t know what to make that, Sal. That’s balloon head. That’s not what our history was founded on. We founded on a constitution that includes treating slaves as three-fifths of a person. It went on all the way to the Civil War. We had compromise after compromise trying to avoid a war. We went to war and lost 600,000 people in the worst catastrophe in our history, because slavery continued through the 1860s and only ended because of that war. Here’s this woman that you made your spokesperson saying that somehow the founding fathers dealt with it. That’s the one thing they did not deal with. That was the horrible compromise that was at the heart of our Constitution. Why do you put someone like this forward who is a balloon head? Who knows no American history. It’s a ridiculous decision you guys have made. Do you know how little this woman knows our history?

RUSSO: I think Michele Bachmman is one of the best —

MATTHEWS: Did you just hear that stuff? Did you just hear? You want me to play it again? We can rub it in, Sal. It’s horrendous.

RUSSO: I heard what she said.

MATTHEWS: What is she talking about?

RUSSO: What she’s talking about is that we cannot continue to spend money as recklessly…

MATTHEWS: What? That’s not what she just said. She said the founding fathers got rid of slavery. Why would you say that? Every high school kid has been to Mt. Vernon and seen the slave quarters. Jefferson had slaves. all those guys had slaves. I know they were great men in other regards but they never got rid of slavery. It’s right in the Constitution. Here’s this woman waving the Constitution around, palling around with Scalia, and she doesn’t even know what the Constitution had in it. The treatment of slaves, African-Americans, as three-fifths of people. That’s in our history. You can’t take it out. Explain to me what this woman is talking about.

RUSSO: I think she’s just using that as an illustration.

MATTHEWS: Of what? Of balloon head thinking? What do you mean, sir?

RUSSO: I think that Americans are concerned today that their children and grandchildren will not have the same opportunities of the American dream because we’ve —

MATTHEWS: What your talking about? You’re talking like her. That’s how she talks. She goes on this tape no matter what you ask her she goes on a tape. I want to ask you about slavery. Sal, you know when slavery ended. It ended with the Civil War, right?

RUSSO: Well, some kind of slavery ended with the Civil War.

MATTHEWS: What do you mean “some kind of slavery?” Why are you hedging?

RUSSO: No. I’m not hedging on it.

MATTHEWS: When did slavery end in America? When did it become illegal? When did the 13th Amendment get passed?

RUSSO: That’s a different question from when we’ve had to deal with our racial issue.

MATTHEWS: No, the question, sir, I know you have an IQ. She said slavery ended under the founding fathers.

RUSSO: I don’t think that’s what she meant. I think she meant that if we don’t get control of our government now —

MATTHEWS: You’re just covering. You made a terrible decision. You put a person out there that has no concept of American history. I’m reminded what [McCain-Palin campaign manager] Steve Schmidt said about Sarah Palin, “She doesn’t know anything.” This is worse. This is claiming something that never happened. We have a problem — slavery and race are the San Andreas Fault of American history and you’re denying it was there.

Let me go to Joan [Walsh]. Joan, you take over this witness. I find him hopeless — I know he knows better. He’s covering for someone who knows nothing.

JOAN WALSH: Sal has hitched his star to the tea party. Sal is a long time Republican entrepreneur out here in California who’s worked or mainstream Republicans. He decided a few years ago he was going to go with the tea party and ride the tea party and now he’s kind of stuck.

The other thing, Chris, I want to point out one more thing Michele Bachmann said that’s related to her thoughts on slavery. She also said it was a country, that it didn’t matter your economic status. It didn’t matter what country you came from. That’s ludicrous too, Chris, even for white men there were property requirements to vote in the early states. Up until 1830 we had some white men had property requirements. We know that immigrants, Catholics —

RUSSO: The reality of what the the party is all about.

WALSH: Don’t interrupt me. You had plenty of time to talk. I’m now talking. Nativism attacked Irish-Catholic, German-Catholics. Burned down churches and convents. We had the Chinese Exclusion Act for 60 years kept Chinese people out of this country. This happy garbage version of history. I love our country, Chris. I know what we fought to do is make it better and better and better and we’re trying to do that, but to say that it’s always been easy and always been equal, that lets them propose policies that profoundly hurt black people, that hurt immigrants, that hurt poor and working class people because they have this notion that everyone’s always been equal which is garbage.

MATTHEWS: I want to give Sal all the time even needs. Explain the history of American slavery as you know it.

RUSSO: This is not about history. Why do you want to keep changing the subject?

MATTHEWS: We’re talking about your spokesperson that want you designated.

RUSSO: That’s right. What our spokesman is talking about is that our spending is unsustainable. Our national debt has sky rocketed, and we gotta get on top of it.

MATTHEWS: No. You’re trying to change subjects — a new religion of America that has to do with the infallibility of our founding fathers, some sort of new, almost scriptural notion of American history that somehow goes back to some perfection time that we’re trying to recover. You guys are trying to sell that everything was perfect back in the Federalist period, back in the late 18th century, so you can keep saying we got to go back where everybody had a musket and a small farm and everything was perfect. That’s what you’re trying to sell. What you have scrubbed our history of slavery, I think it’s a desecration. I’ll give you one more chance — 30 seconds. What’s the history of slavery.

RUSSO: That’s not what anybody is saying.

MATTHEWS: I’m asking what you think Sal. What was it?

RUSSO: I think our founding fathers developed a document, the Constitution of the United States that served America and serving the world for freedom for 200 and something years.

MATTHEWS: Why do you guys talk you’re on hypnosis? Why can’t you answer a question? Are you hypnotized? Can you answer a question? What’s the history of slavery in America?

RUSSO: Your question sir relevant to what the issue is of the day.

MATTHEWS: The issue of the day is decreed by your speech of your candidate is slavery and history. She set the mark. Joan, poor Sal, he’s under the same kind of rule that apparently a lot of tea party people is. Look at the camera and repeat the speech.

WALSH: And also, you know, if, if people really cared about debt —

RUSSO: We’ve been on the same truth from the beginning.

WALSH: Then why did you not have a tea party movement when George Bush was spending down the Clinton surplus, $200 billion a year surplus, and George Bush left behind a $1.2 trillion budget deficit?

RUSSO: People were dissatisfied with Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Thank you joan and Sal. You’re ten times smarter than this person you put up there

22 Comments

  • January 26, 2011 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Okay, since history is being rewritten by Rep. Bachmann, I would appreciate it if she would introduce a law allowing my great-great grandfathers’ remains to be removed from the traitors grave in Hollywood, VA, and transferred to a place of their choice. If there was no slavery, the Civil War did not happen. Who does this idiot think she is doing? Talk about a Diva, Rep. Bachmann is one. Sarah Palin and this woman represent the worst of humanity. Greed and selfishness. Do you think Bachmann is doing this for the good of her country? NO…she is an enemy of the country and educated citizens. She loves only Herself and this is her chance to shine, even if she doesn’t know which camera to look at while speaking to her few followers. Lady MacBeth step aside…you have competition.

  • Nikolai
    January 26, 2011 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    But, “John Quincy Adams” rolls off the tongue SO much more nicely that just plain, old “John Adams” don’t you think? You see, perception is reality, rule #3 in the republican play book quagmire…

  • Robin Pettit
    January 26, 2011 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    As anyone with a sense of common sense knows, Bachman is a highly motivated idealogue, who presumably realized, a long time ago, that rewriting history in the support of her false ideas/ideals is an acceptable development. I also have almost come to the conclusion that she actually believes the false nonsense that comes out of her mouth as it is necessary to keep her worldview coherent. Although it is very hard for me to understand why anyone would vote for Michelle Bachman, I do feel some sorrow for her. If she ever realizes how wrong and false her beliefs are, she will have a very massive epiphany that will fry her brain or otherwise cause major psychological problems. She is already almost delusional.

  • January 26, 2011 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    She passed ‘almost delusional’ with her revived history. Skipping over the Civil War is going to be a big leap. Did Lincoln exist?

  • Chris Rowling
    January 26, 2011 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    John Quincy Adams and John Adams are two different people…

    Are you serious?

  • January 26, 2011 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    michele bachmann ~ PSYCHO CUNT FROM HELL !

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  • Tim Rued
    January 27, 2011 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    I am not a Tea Party supporter by any means, but I do believe in fairness. Ms. Bachmann did not say that the founding fathers ended slavery, nor did she say that John Quincy Adams ended slavery. She said that John Quincy Adams was one of our forebears (not a founding father), and that he was an abolitionist (He would not rest until slavery was abolished). There were many people working to abolish slavery before the Civil War. If not, the war would not have taken place!
    I am not supporting Ms. Bachmann’s candidacy in any way, but I wish that people would base their opposition to her on her policies, not extrapolation of her words into ideas that were not actually expressed. Mr. Ponder and the majority of the commenters above are just as guilty of stretching the truth in this case as the people they dislike are of stretching the truth in other, perhaps more important issues.

  • betamax
    January 27, 2011 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Eh, Tim…

    You’re forgetting who writes and reads the trash on web blogs posing as “Real” news.

    I’m pretty sure I’d believe Mad Magazine before I’d believe anything these people write at the Review.

  • January 27, 2011 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Tim – What policies are Bachmann talking about in the quote?

  • Tim Rued
    January 27, 2011 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Jon – In the quote as shown, she was not talking about any of her policies. Your question would probably be answered if you got a transcription of her entire speech, rather than just one paragraph taken out of context and exaggerated in importance. She is a Republican, and I would expect that most of her policies reflect party line. I don’t live in Iowa, and can wait until I hear more before I make judgments.

  • January 27, 2011 - 6:45 pm | Permalink

    So you took the time, Tim, to let us know you think it’s unfair for Bachmann to be criticized for rewriting history because she should only be opposed based on her policy positions, but you have no idea what her policy positions are?

  • Tim Rued
    January 27, 2011 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Jon –
    Now you did not read what I wrote. She did not rewrite history, if you look at her exact words. She said that slavery was tolerated when the nation began; That is true. She did imply that the founding fathers were all abolitionists, which is not true, but it is true for SOME of them. She did not say that John Quincy Adams was a founding father – she said he was one of our forebears, and she said he was an abolitionist, both of which are true. I just said that IF you oppose her, it should be on the basis of what policies she advocates, NOT on the basis of one paragraph of rhetoric taken out of context.
    I am not defending her as a candidate. I am just objecting to her demonification based on one paragraph out of a speech, which is not quoted otherwise at all in this article.

  • January 27, 2011 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Wow, Tim, are you sure you’re not a Bachmann supporter? Just kidding. Obviously, Bachmann did say John Quincy Adams was a founder and that the founders ended slavery.

    “But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”

    Her “very founders” reference is specific. She is not referring to a generalized group of historical figures, but to the “very” men who wrote “those documents” — the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

    All of the “very founders that wrote those documents” were middle-aged in the late 18th century. Slavery was abolished in 1865. I challenge you to name a founder who worked on a draft of either document and then went on to work tirelessly from 1790 to 1865 to end slavery.

    “And I think that it’s high time that we recognize the contributions of our forebears who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.”

    So it’s “high time that we recognize” — implication being that we’re all guilty of ignoring or forgetting — “the contributions of our forebears who worked tirelessly…” And who were the forebears who worked tirelessly? She just told us it was “the very founders” who worked tirelessly to end slavery. Who would Bachmann name as an exemplar of the tirelessly working founder/forebears? “Men like John Quincy Adams.” And how long did JQA work tirelessly? “Until slavery was extinguished in the country.” That would indisputably be 1865.

    JQA certainly opposed slavery, and he certainly worked tirelessly. He is the only president who went on to serve in the House in his post-presidency, and he died at his desk on the floor of the old House chamber in 1848, at the age of 80.

    But he was nine years old when the Declaration was written and 22 years old and studying law in Massachusetts when the Constitution was drafted. He was not one of the middle-aged “very founders that wrote those documents,” and even if he had been, he died long before slavery “was extinguished in the country.”

    The question remains, is Bachmann a manipulative demagogue trying to whitewash America’s slave past or just a balloon head surrounded by a gaggle of know-nothings.

  • Chris Rowling
    January 28, 2011 - 7:52 am | Permalink

    Slavery never ended in the U.S

    Hamiltonian rule by our “Republican” and “Democratic” leaders has kept us serfs since 1913.

    In my opinion.

    Also would like to point at the John Adams, our second President never owned one slave and any work he had done on his farm was paid work or done by his own hands.

    Also find it funny that Jon, Trish and any of the supposed “journalist’s” on this site will say that the Framers were Liberals when they want to attack the right wing, but ultimately will call these men out otherwise.

    Slavery was common place back then, everyone was doing it…so get over it. You cannot go back in time and say it didn’t happen. You cannot change it, no matter what.

    But if you’re a law student; which I assume Jon and Trish are not, you will find that our Republic is slow, our laws are slow, they are set up and put in place by men that are no more evolved for time than any of you posting today, including myself. So yes, our founder owned slaves..they also set up provisions to get rid of it over time if the people allowed for it.

    See that is the issue here that none of you address. You’re know it alls who cannot separate fact from opinion. You’re not changing anything, this blog means little to nothing and is as biased as a Klan member.

    More than half the time nothing is posted citing facts about history, and Progressive Republicans and Democrats care not for the past or our founders true intentions. It’s always about moving forward or leaning one way or another. You guys don’t know anything, like everyone else you’re just a sampling of the equilibrium we have here in America.

    You want to change something? Change who you are before casting the finger in any direction. You’re far from perfect, so are your ideas of Government.

    • January 28, 2011 - 8:04 am | Permalink

      Hey Chris, you know what would be cool? You, Kim, Nickka, Ray, Will, Publius, Betamax etc. should set up your own site and then you can spout your contrarian non-libertarian, non-Republican, pro-Whole Foods non-support of non-positions against everything and nothing as much as you like!

  • January 28, 2011 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Chris, not only do I have nothing to do with this post, having not even commented on it, I have also never, not once, in the history of Pensito Review, ever posted on the “Founding Fathers.” I mos def never said they were liberals in order to “attack the right wing.” Why do you feel that you need to drag me into this? Does it help you write us off easier if there’s some element of totality? It’s really even easier than that. Just do as Jon suggests and go write your own blog. I promise I won’t read it, let alone comment on it.

    • January 28, 2011 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      Yeah, that was me. I said, with the proviso that you can’t really ascribe the left-right political spectrum of one era to the other, that at the time of the Revolution, the monarchy was the conservative force — the defender of the status quo, the bulwark against progress — whereas the founders were liberals, radicals even, in that they were willing to risk their lives in their quest for progress, which they saw as liberation from the shackles of the monarchy’s colonial governance. Their impulses were good, but they were products of their own era. The Constitution they wrote guaranteed the rights of white, male property owners but excluded everyone else. There has been a struggle between the right and the left in America ever since, with the left (particularly the mid-19th century Republican Party) working to expand the protected classes and the right trying to curtail the rights of other Americans.

  • Chris
    January 28, 2011 - 3:15 pm | Permalink

    OK, is it just me or have we entered an alternate reality?

    Since Bachmann says “The Founding Fathers freed their slaves as a justification that they ‘worked tirelessly to end slavery’ it might carry a little more validation if they never owned slaves or raped them and had kids with them to begin with. Don’t cha think?

    I mean that is like a bank robber freed his hostages so he is not guilty of robbing the bank, no?

    For Christ sakes people, I am not proud of these facts either but that is no excuse to rewrite history or sweep it under the rug!

    The Founding Fathers were not Christ, they were men that make huge “man made” mistakes (they were not infallible or Incapable of erring), why is it that some want to rewrite history and say that their Sh*t does not stink, please grow up.

  • nathkatun7
    February 3, 2011 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    The University that awarded Congresswoman Bachmann a law degree should be ashamed (Please don’t tell me it was Oral Roberts University). If the founding fathers (I suppose she included the Southern founding fathers who owned slaves) worked tirelessly to abolish slavery how come the country fought a civil war over slavery? Did the law school that granted Bachmann a law degree fail to teach, or even mention, the 1857 Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision? If everyone who came to America was welcomed as equal, regardless of race, then why was it necessary to pass three Constitutional Amendments: the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth? Did Rep. Bachmann learn any thing about the Jim Crow period that ushered in legal segregation of the races in the Southern States? Is it possible that the college and the law school she attended omitted any mention of the Supreme Court’s “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision? I have a sneaking suspicion that, Rep. Bachmann, a college educated and a lawyer, is not that ignorant. Rather, she seems determined to re-write history to conform with teabaggers’ claims that their mission is to restore the ideals of the pure and blameless founding fathers.

    Who is dumber?; Michelle for saying the Founding Fathers eliminated slavery, or Sarah for saying that the Soviet Union collapsed because of Sputnik. What do you think?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qideaIA_NpI

    • February 4, 2011 - 8:12 am | Permalink

      nathkatun7 – Your comment floored me. Bachmann has a law degree? I had no idea — but she does and it is as bad as you thought. This is from her Wikipedia page:

      [Bachmnann] received her J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University and an LL.M. degree in tax law from the William & Mary Law School.[8][dead link] She was a member of the final graduating class of Oral Roberts’ law school, and was part of a group of faculty, staff, and students who moved the ORU law school to what is now Regent University

      More proof that these Christianist “law degrees” are worthless.

  • MEGAN
    March 27, 2011 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    This Michelle is really negative. The first time I saw her on TV, all that was coming form her mouth was nasty, negative remarks about democrates. As a young person, this is not the type of person I would like represent my country.

    LET GO THE HATE AND BE NICE TO OTHERS!!!

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