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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

They Dismiss Her as a Bach-mannequin



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From the already-in-subscribers’ mailboxes Morning Jolt:

Bachmann Clears Throat; Critics Charge Historically Inaccurate Phlegm Displacement

Such is my mindset as I begin the Jolt preparation process now: So what did Bachmann do to set the lefty blogs afire today? Split an infinitive? Dangle a participle? Order red wine with fish? Wear white after Labor Day?

Ah.

John Quincy Adams a Founding Father? Michele Bachmann Says Yes

Thank you, George Stephanopolous.

Stephanopoulos: But that’s not what you said. You said that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.

Bachmann: Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father’s secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery….

Stephanopoulos: He wasn’t one of the Founding Fathers – he was a president, he was a Secretary of State, he was a member of Congress, you’re right he did work to end slavery decades later. But so you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?

Bachmann: Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved.

By the way, the 1992-era me just appeared before me after getting access to a time machine. I wanted to tell him about how the world had changed, to warn him about 9/11, etc. but before I could do any of that, he saw that the entire world accepts that Bill Clinton’s top political campaign strategist is now considered a serious newsman who can interrogate Republican presidential candidates and was too stunned to process any further information.

Don Surber argues that Stephanopolous’ scoffing response is on much shakier historical ground: “But as anyone should know, Washington educated his slaves and emancipated them upon his death. Also many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were abolitionists, including Benjamin Rush, John Jay (a president of the Continental Congress), Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr  and Benjamin Franklin. Even before there was a Constitution, the Founding Fathers prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territories (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin). Indeed, of the seven men named as the Founding Fathers five opposed slavery and the two who did own slaves were not very happy with it. Those seven are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington. Yes, Mrs. Bachmann included John Quincy Adams as a founding father. He was 9 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. But his efforts to abolish slavery were admirable — particularly after his presidency. Abolitionists laid the foundation for emancipation and to belittle the Founding Fathers as slavers is surprising coming a Columbia graduate. One word on John Quincy Adams: Amistad.”

Betsy Newmark, an AP History teacher, reminds us that President Obama has had his share of historical gaffes, and yet the media didn’t seem to care about those: “…Also during the campaign he bragged about his uncle being part of the liberation of Auschwitz when it was the Soviets who liberated the camps in Poland. His uncle helped to liberate a satellite camp of Buchenwald. I would have thought that, if he were truly so proud of his uncle’s service, he might have read up on those experiences and learned more about what actually happened. At his inaugural, he didn’t know how many men had been president double-counting Cleveland. That was a small error, of course, but you’d think that for an Inaugural Address he or his speechwriters would get it right. Obama’s aides seem so impressed with the boss that they have lost all historical perspective. Remember Rahm Emanuel telling Obama that he had faced the toughest times that any president has ever faced. Apparently, Obama and his aides only remember Abraham Lincoln when they want to reach for some strained comparison between the two.”

She doesn’t even mention what I’d consider the defining statement of historical illiteracy of the Obama era, Joe Biden’s declaration that, “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”

At the American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein notes that as legitimate as conservatives’ gripes about a double standard are, their standard-bearers had best be prepared to try to steer clear of avoidable mistakes. “ I am mindful of the fact that President Obama declared he had visited  57 states “with one left to go.” And yes, I am also mindful that President Obama could tell the good folks of Beaverton, Oregon that he enjoyed his visit to the planet Zorkon and the liberal media wouldn’t bat an eyelash. But as I have argued previously, it isn’t going to do Bachmann much good in complaining about it. The deck is stacked against any Republican who faces off against President Obama. Bachmann surely knew that when she first contemplated making a White House bid. Thus she must take special care in avoiding these kind of mistakes. Of course, I realize that is an all but impossible task. Every candidate on the campaign trail makes mistakes but not all mistakes are treated equally. Unfortunately for Bachmann, her mistakes are going to get greater scrutiny than Obama. But life is not fair. This leaves Bachmann with two choices – get over it or get out.”

But Goldstein’s argument suggests that the fight against media double standards is over.  Over? Did he say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Language warning at the link.)


Tags: Michele Bachmann


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