Is Michele Bachmann contagious?
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Congresswoman and likely presidential candidate fired the historical gaffe-heard-round the world when she mistakenly said the American Revolution began in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts.
Now Sarah Palin appears to be suffering from the same disease that makes political candidates with great hair mangle basic American history.
During a visit this week to Boston, she recounted a twisted take on Paul Revere’s historic ride. In a nearly incoherent stream of phrases full of folksy dropped “g’s” (ringin’ those bells, warnin’ shots), Palin appears to have said that Revere warned the British, when in fact he warned Americans about the British.
With the dropped g’s and the history flub, Palin is such a caricature of herself that it’s hard to tell if this now-viral video is a Saturday Night Live skit or the real thing.
Revere, according to historical documents, was captured by the British. Under questioning, sometimes with a gun to his head, Revere said he had warned revolutionary forces that the redcoats were coming.
Arguments that this means he warned the British, as Palin defenders claim, are more than a stretch. That Palin had that detailed level of knowledge about Revere's ride is even more unlikely, especially in context of her meandering statements about Revere's "ringin' those bells."
The Massachusetts Historical Society was asked about the matter on Monday. In a statement, it said Revere's mission was to warn the revolutionary forces: "The Society holds three accounts written by Paul Revere. Based on these accounts, Revere was sent out to warn colonists that troops were marching west."
Gauging by the excited people around Palin in her video -- none of whom went "huh?" at the Revere reversal -- she's lost none of her star power. That should concern the Minnesota Republicans who also harbor presidential ambitions.
But gauging by the excited people around her — none of whom went “huh?” at the Revere reversal — she’s lost none of her star power. That should concern the Minnesota Republicans who also harbor presidential ambitions.
Bachmann – unfairly derided as Palin-lite -- is expected to declare her presidential candidacy soon. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has already announced his bid.
A quote that didn’t make the Palin video makes her gaffe even more head-scratching and hilarious.
Somewhere during the course of her Boston visit, she uttered this phrase, according to the Boston Globe: “You’ve got to know a lot about our past in order to know how to proceed successfully into the future.’’
Words to live by.
Jill Burcum is a Star Tribune editorial writer.