Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin: America’s Historians

“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?”

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

“I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly–men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country”

That’s congresswomen Michele Bachmann on speaking on January 21 to an anti-tax group in Iowa.

Wikipedia reminds us that:
The Founding Fathers of the United States were political leaders and statesmen who participated in establishing the American Independence by signing the Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American War for Independence, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some other key contribution. Within the large group known as the “Founding Fathers”, there are two key subsets: the “Signers of the Declaration of Independence” (who signed the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776) and the “Framers of the Constitution” (who were delegates to the Federal Convention and took part in framing or drafting the proposed Constitution of the United States).

Most historians define the “Founding Fathers” to mean a larger group, including not only the Signers and the Framers but also all those who, whether as politicians, jurists, statesmen, soldiers, diplomats, or ordinary citizens, took part in winning American independence and creating the United States of America.American historian Richard B. Morris, in his 1973 book Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries, identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers:

Benjamin Franklin born October 18, 1785 died December 1, 1788
George Washington born April 30, 1789 died March 4, 1797
John Adams born March 4, 1797 – died March 4, 1801
Thomas Jefferson born March 4, 1801 – died March 4, 1809
John Jay born September 26, 1789 – died June 29, 1795
James Madison born March 4, 1809 – died March 4, 1817
Alexander Hamiltonborn September 11, 1789 – born January 31, 1795

What Mrs. Bachmann seems blissfully unaware of is that The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t made until 1862. The adoption of the 13th Amendment didn’t take place until 1865. James Madison lived longer than any founder, but he died 1836. She also seems unaware of the fact that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison actually owned slaves as did some of the other founding fathers. More importantly as you can see above, all were looonnnng dead when slavery was abolished.

“That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.

So I listened to that Sputnik moment talk over and over again, and I think, No, we don’t need one of those. You know what we need is a “spudnut” moment. And here’s where I’m going with this, Greta. And you’re a good one because you’re one of those reporters who actually gets out there in the communities, find these hard-working people and find solutions to the problems that Americans face.

Well, the spudnut shop in Richland, Washington — it’s a bakery, it’s a little coffee shop that’s so successful, 60-some years, generation to generation, a family-owned business not looking for government to bail them out and to make their decisions for them. It’s just hard-working, patriotic Americans in this shop.

We need more spudnut moments in America. And I wish that President Obama would understand, in that heartland of America, what it is that really results in the solutions that we need to get this economy back on the right track. It’s a shop like that.”

And that was former VP candidate Sarah Palin somewhere in another Galaxy called Fox criticizing the President’s SOTU address by attempting to point out that our President of The United States doesn’t know his history.

Mediate Columnist Tommy Christopher points out the obvious problems with Mrs. Palin’s understanding of history and analogy best:

The Soviet Union’s launch of a satellite that was only slightly more advanced than Balloon Boy 1 is not the model of success to which the President’s speech urges us to aspire, but rather, the flood of research, innovation, and achievement that it spurred in a then-complacent American psyche. The negative consequences of Sputnik to the Soviet Union, then, would only serve to reinforce what the President said.

Even in twisting the meaning of the President’s analogy, though, Palin twists history to suit the view from her front porch. While it’s tough to pinpoint a single reason for the dissolution of the USSR, the space program isn’t one of them, at least not in the substantive way that Palin imagines. The Cold War arms race is the factor that most closely tracks here, and while the Sputnik 1 launch was a shot across the bow in that war, it was a drop in the arms race bucket.

Palin then goes on to suggest that what America needs is a “Spudnut moment,” explaining that there’s this successful small business in Washington state, and that America needs to do…what? Have lots of successful small businesses? Stop preventing successful businesses like The Spudnut Shop from being successful? Palin never really explains how this is supposed to work, but I think the equation goes something like this: “Sputnik moment” + “Something that sounds like Sputnik but isn’t”=WIN!

Still, a closer look at the story of Spudnuts reveals that the shining example she uses, The Spudnuts Shop in Richland, Washington, is part of a larger story that reinforces much of what President Obama said.

The Spudnuts Shop is, indeed, a successful small business, as attested to by recent profiles on Food Network’s Unwrapped and the Travel Channel’s Donut Paradise. In a way, they’re also the embodiment of the innovative spirit that President Obama is trying to rekindle. The shop’s founders saw the early potential of the Pelton Brothers’ innovative use of potato flour in doughnut-making, and got in on the ground floor with a franchise back in 1948. Spudnuts became something of a craze, eventually growing to over 600 locations in the US and elsewhere.

However, the good times didn’t last forever, and the Richland Spudnuts Shop is one of only about 40 surviving Spudnuts locations. The Pelton brothers sold the company in 1975, at which time those who had paid for franchises could no longer get the original Spudnuts recipe. The parent company went out of business a few years later, but a handful of owner-operated shops continue to use the Spudnut name.

The success of the Richland Spudnuts Shop, by all accounts, is due to the consistently hard work and exceptional service of its employees, as much as to the spud-rific goodness of its doughnuts. There was no “Spudnuts moment” for the Richland shop; there were 60 Spudnuts years (and counting).

These are just two of the people that believe they are qualified to be the next President of The United States and one of them sits in Congress right now making decisions on our behalf.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: