False Leaders, GOP Division, Part I : Sarah Palin on Paul Revere’s Ride

"What the HELL did she just say about me?"

“He who warned, uh, the … the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and, um, by makin’ sure that as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots and bells that, uh, we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free … and we were gonna be armed.”

—-Sarah Palin, recounting the famous ride of Paul Revere during her bus tour.

I can’t criticize Herman Cain for mixing up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, as well as score Michele Bachman for putting the “Shot Heard Round the World” in New Hampshire, and neglect to express my disgust at Sarah Palin’s inability to tell a story that every grade schooler should be able to recite by heart. Yes, I admit to being something of a Paul Revere fan, but I also am not touring the country on the pretense that I am reminding Americans of their legacy and values.

This is classic Palin, repeating her slovenly modus operandi on display from the moment she was thrust into the national spotlight. She fakes almost everything she does. She is glib and charismatic, and no dummy (though she does some stunningly dumb things). She has many of the most important traits of successful leadership, except indispensable basics like diligence, integrity, and respect for her constituents’ intelligence. Being a leader also takes dedication, hard work and attention to details: you can’t fake and jive your way through on charm and passion alone.

These politicians on the Right, like Bachmann, Palin and Cain, who extol our  heroes and founding documents while not knowing a thing about them operate on the cynical theory, sadly accurate, that their supporters and flag-waving fans are even more ignorant than they are. Such political figures are beneath contempt. A responsible medical school professor doesn’t give a lecture on open heart surgery that begins...”Ok, well, the, uh…heart, you know, has..uh, these little rooms and stuff, and…it has blood, and is kinda like a clock…except that love and heartburn and things come out of it, so we gotta be careful.” Neither heart surgery nor national leadership are trivial matters, and require serious practitioners, not posturing frauds.

If you are too lazy to watch a History Channel documentary or Google “Paul Revere,” don’t talk about Paul Revere. If you don’t know the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution, don’t tell everyone else that they have an obligation to read them.  And if you don’t really give a enough of a damn about American history to respect it, learn it, and understand its significance to our current issues and decisions, stop pretending otherwise.

23 thoughts on “False Leaders, GOP Division, Part I : Sarah Palin on Paul Revere’s Ride

  1. I had to triple check the report wasn’t from the onion when i first read it. Uh…wasn’t this a scheduled trip? Didn’t she know in advance she’d be commenting on the location and story? And then quoted on it? I just…wow. She does not care. She does not care that she doesn’t care.

  2. I get the feeling Palin is a lot like my dad, who frequently skims through something and then fills in gaps with things he imagines later on. For example, he read a blurb about Palin’s bus tour and said to me, “Did you hear about this stunt Palin pulled? She went on a motorcycle ride with the Patriot wing of the Hells Angels.”

    Methinks Palin, once upon a time, read about some dude named Paul Revere, and used her buzzwords to fill in the gaps of the story. It’s puzzling because someone with as much money as her ought to be able to pay someone to prep her on simple stories that she can tell out on the trail.

    • Exactly. But tell that to Mary, who wants us to believe that Palin was simply carried away with the extraneous details of April 18, which she knows so well, being a true history maven,and just was overwhelmed with information overload.

  3. God help me, but I’ve liked Sarah Palin since she burst on the scene (just can’t help myself). Appropriate, since she’s apparently got so full of herself that she’s just, well, burst in another way. Too bad. too. Does it ever occur to you, Jack, that if she takes leave of her senses and does run for President, you’re going to be working overtime?

    • One does not “warn with false information”; that was not what Paul Revere did or is noted for or what Sarah Palin was referring to, whatever she was referring to, and that is not even close to an honest interpretation of Revere’s letter…which I am well familiar with, and have read many times…and which, I am willing to say with confidence, Sarah Palin has never read, or even seen. Yes, I’m sure she chose this bus tour to hold forth on the minutiae of Revere’s efforts, because this is central to her theme of American values. Next, I imagine that you will tell me that Palin had been drugged by Democrats, causing her to utter gibberish. Nothing is ever Sarah’s fault; it’s all her enemies.

      You know, you don’t do Palin any favors by trying to cover for her and spin her sloppiness. It just keeps her doing the same, lazy act, rather than getting serious. I have defended Palin against unfair and untrue attacks, in print, many, many times, but what you are doing is intellectual dishonesty, and the purest avoidance of accountability. Peddle that bilge somewhere else. Don’t stink up my blog with it.

      • Unbelievable. Some pedants are really trying to make the argument that Palin was referring to Revere’s statements to the British after he was captured. This is confirmation bias for the ages. Someone got to her and convinced her to double down too.

        How odd that she would decide to enlighten a crowd about the seldom-referenced secondary details of Revere’s evening, but do it in pidgin English.

        • She always doubles down on dumb statements. At least she’s consistent in THAT. It’s why Tina Fey had it SO RIGHT when she said, as Palin, “I can see Russia from my house!” No, actual Palin never said it, but it was close enough to the kind of things she says that we all believed it. Plenty still do.

  4. Umm . . . that would be “pidgin” English, not “pigeon”. A pidgin is a simplified system of words and grammar used by two peoples who speak different languages to communicate. If it hangs around long enough, it becomes a “creole” — a blend of the two languages that is established so firmly that it has native speakers.

    I thing “pigeon” English is what the girls downstairs used while talking to Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. They did have English accents, and they were undoubtedly named Pigeon.

    I’d also be chary of recommending the History Channel to anyone who wants historical information that is reasonably likely to be true. It’s interesting and informative much of the times, but it’s also an entertainment TV show that needs ratings. So they run shows on “ancient aliens” and “2012 catastrophe predictions”, as well as supposedly “paranormal” phenomena. The History Channel is more accurate than your typical radio talk-show extremist, but intellectual rigor doesn’t seem to be among its top 10 priorities.

    • Undoubtedly the problem is caused by the fact that I spell the BIRD pidgeon.

      As for the History Channel, we’re not talking a need for Gibbon here…just enough knowledge to avoid Palin gibberish. Hey–YOU’RE a pedant…what do you think about the excuse that Sarah was recounting Revere’s bluffs on his British captors when she talked of “warning the British”?

  5. —> Neither heart surgery nor national leadership are trivial matters, and require serious practitioners, not posturing frauds.<—

    This is a perfect statement built from a perfect analogy.

    Sadly though, surgeons are not blessed with apologists that come to their defense when surgery goes horribly awry. They cannot say that the death of a patient was still a "successful operation." They cannot hide behind culpable deniability, nor blame external factors or "lame-stream media" for misrepresenting how they held the scalpel. The key, then, is addressing "the cynical theory, sadly accurate, that their supporters and flag-waiving [sic] fans are even more ignorant than they are." How do we 'fix stupid?"

  6. I like that she didn’t even include the tiny tidbits most 8th graders could include: lanterns, 1 if by land, 2 if by sea… I doubt we can blame Alaska public school, either. She IS truthiness, personified. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and YOU, Jack, will be everso busy if she declares.

  7. To Becky:
    Perhaps Palin and Bachmann would be allowed to tag-team in a contest entitled, “Are You Smarter Than An 8th Grader?”

    • But Finn, we know they aren’t, even combined! As Stephen Colbert says, they like to FEEL things are true instead of know it. I don’t know Bachmann from as much can’t-get-away-from-the-coverage as Palin, but I’m pretty sure they’re the same in that regard. FACTS? Why bother???

  8. OY- the HISTORY professor I heard on NPR last night was insufferable. He noted what things she got wrong in the beginning, but then said she wasn’t so wrong and by the end of the interview just said she was close enough (!) and it was so great she said *something* so people would talk about Revere, his ride, and American history in general! BUT SHE WASN’T TALKING HISTORY! She was making things up!

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