Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 5:13 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Michele Bachmann's 'absolutely amazing' view of history

By Jonathan Capehart

While others are swearing off a certain former politician from a rather large non-contiguous state in the west, I have vowed to start paying more attention to one Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). She is the ideological twin of the aforereferenced person who was the 2008 vice presidential nominee. And she apparently harbors presidential ambitions that many ascribe to the one whose name has yet to be used.

Bachmann spoke at an Iowans for Tax Relief event over the weekend and she blipped my radar with this musing on the early settlers, who "had different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions":

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? It's absolutely remarkable.

Bachmann also earned my raised eyebrow with her musings on slavery -- a "scourge" -- and the founding fathers, who she said "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.

Talking Points Memo corrected Bachmann's history lesson by pointing out that Adams wasn't one of the founders and that he died 15 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. Perhaps she was thinking of John Adams, the second president of the United States, who is different from John Quincy Adams, the new nation's sixth president. And let's just forget about that whole three-fifths compromise thing in Article 1, Section 2, paragraph 3 of the Constitution that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of figuring out how many representatives would be apportioned to each state.

Sure, Bachmann noted that "we weren't perfect," but her myopic view of history reminds me of Haley Barbour's recent reminiscences of the Civil Rights era. They say he's thinking of running for president, too. But neither he nor Bachmann will get very far if they don't deal more clearly and honestly with the nation's more troubling past.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 24, 2011; 5:13 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rahm Emanuel got robbed
Next: Obama: Explain how can we afford government

Comments

The woman is a moron and so are the people who elected her. A shameful reflection on the state of education in this country.

Posted by: 12man | January 24, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please, PLEASE concentrate more on Michele Bachmann! She is a three-ring circus in one woman's body.

Posted by: emchughnyc | January 24, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Well the title says partisan so why would I be surprised at the tone of the article. Having a bias is one thing. But, Mr. Capeheart you find something the matter with what Rep. Bachmann said in Iowa.

I know you find the compromise distasteful and I can understand that but for men like John Quincy, what would you have them do. The south wanted each slave counted as full men. Do you think that was the right position? If we were to just be two separate countries the south might of had slavery until the 20th century. Surely you would not of preferred that. Rep. Bachmann was right. If you weren't so busy trying to hammer someone you might of realized that.

On her musings were not on early settlers as in those from England but all of those that no matter their race or the culture who chose to come here (legally).

Posted by: bzorn22 | January 24, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Proof of my previous comment, "Like all good liberals, he must have someone to demonize, someone to hate, because he lacks the depth to talk issues on their own merits".

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | January 24, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann may be over-zealous, but she's attempting to make a valid point, which is that neither racism nor race-baiting represent America's principles. Bachmann-bashing looks like nothing less than a demand for a Reparations pay-out. How much must the tax-payer confer before the aggrieved can finally move on with their lives?

Posted by: whatsso4me | January 24, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

If this ding-a-ling looked like Virginia Foxx, another ding-a-ling Republican congresswoman, no one would be paying attention to a thing she says. But lord help us, like Palin, she is pretty and gets lots of tv face time and ink, (JONATHAN).

Posted by: Sandydayl | January 24, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

She-Who's-Name-Must-Not-Be-Said is the Kim Kardashian of American politics, Michele Bachmann is the Lindsay Lohan and Antonin Scalia is the Ashton Kutcher.

Makes ya proud to be an American, huh?

Posted by: palmtree2001 | January 24, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that someone who has a college education, let alone a law degree, can possibly be as ignorant of US history.

My guess is that she's not that ignorant but is smart enough to know there are plenty of people out there who are!

Posted by: risejugger | January 24, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Close your eyes and imagine if you can, Miss Bachmann,(or Sarah Palin for that matter), giving a State of the Union speach. Really, try it! What a Brave New World we live in! I really hope this is all just a reaction to Obama and not a sign of things to come.

Posted by: terrybeaton13y | January 24, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann is pretty? Had not noticed.

Certanly she's dumb as a fence post, but that does not disqualify her to be president. We've elected idiots before, why not a woman idiot?

Posted by: Annandale | January 24, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

...And let's just forget about that whole three-fifths compromise thing in Article 1, Section 2, paragraph 3 of the Constitution that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of figuring out how many representatives would be apportioned to each state...

...You might want to reread that Capehart, because you and many of your leftist cohorts have misconstrued that section, which states that representation of slave states had to take into consideration 3/5 of the slave population, and not a slave is 3/5 of a person. You, Milbank, Cohen, Schumacher-Matos and probably most certainly Robinson, the other pee in your pod, must be drinking buddies, because you're all drunk off of the same sauce.

Posted by: hared | January 24, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Considering Johnathon's ethnic heritage some of these comments are over the top. If you didn't live in the south or serve in the armed forces in the south before 1960 they are even more over the top. Considering the heritage of the upper midwest, I'm from the North woods myself, Ms. Bachmen must not have kept awake in her history classes.
The march through Georgia was considered a great Religious Crusade by the nuns who taught us. Sherman, Grant and the Great Western ARMY of the North was the Sword of the Almighty. The sisters got carried away however Grant did kick Bobby Lee's behind. Missy would have had her knuckles rapped by the good sisters. LOL

Posted by: johnturkal1 | January 24, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

If you were wondering what type of woman would say they were a 'pube it should be obvious by now that the stupid ones join the party in droves. The cream of the crop dumb-a_ss ones run on the 'pube ticket.

Posted by: spike591011 | January 24, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted at 5:13 PM ET, 01/24/2011
Michele Bachmann's 'absolutely amazing' view of history
By Jonathan Capehart

Jonathan Craphart's 'absolutely amazing' a *ole.

What's amazing about it, is that the whole rest of the goodness and light in OUR Glorious United States of America isn't sucked right into it's dense, dank interior, where what passes for a brain must also reside.

What, isn't Olbermann's permanent rehab furlough, and Milbunk's temporary voluntary commission for "...I have a Sarah Palin problem...42 columns since Sen. John McCain...I feel powerless to control my obsession, even though it cheapens and demeans me...we are up against a powerful compulsion, and we must take this struggle day by day...source of cheap Web clicks, television ratings and media buzz..." Dana Milbank WaPo January 21, 2011, enough for y'all?

Do you also have to offload your pent up pant load of Crat-Scrim, proving the point that it is an unhealthy obsession that attracts the misogynist instincts in certain types?

You are the worst kind of passive aggressive perp twerp, pandering, preening your *kunk ***tard fur like a cheshire cat lurking on a limb in blunderland, wright next to liberaland, salivating over the destruction of any finer instincts of your bat boys from the ABMSNBDNCNNPBSR Public-Private, Government-Media Complex @ the moveon.ogre belfry that are still trying to win a war against the Founders, the Patriots, and the Statesmen (Persons) who have delivered a Democratic Republic to US that we must fight to preserve, no matter what storms, brinks, man-made disasters, and threats against Liberty, these horrible people (along with your help) have led US into (if that results in some people seeing and hearing words they don't want to face, so be it). SOSOS.

You sir, are suffering from Blog-cestuous Regressivism: the unreasonable expectation of being shielded from seeing, hearing words and phrases that convey in some way an image of something deep inside of a blogger that invokes a need to somehow avoid the perceived offense, by any means neccessary, short of just not being where this happens.

Just below the big, "I'm an idiot" sign stuck to the forehead of each of your flock of flying rodents, seethes a vile desire to see an icon, which represents your failures in life, falling, and flailing in the midst of a firestorm of criticism they can vicariously participate in administering. Wright Jonny-eoh?

Sad excuse for a reporter?

Posted by: RichNomore | January 24, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Michelle,

Trenta's and Tivo don't mix.

John Adams = Defense Boston Massacre (which killed Crispus Attucks, a free Black)

J.Q.Adams = Defense Slaves on 'Amistad'

Might outta' (texian:pluperfect subjunctive of fixin' to) tell the staff to lay off the internet research via Crackberry too.

Posted by: gannon_dick | January 24, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

See what vitriol y'all are playing to, Jon?

Requiem For An Iconoclastic Dagon,

Keith Olbermann, the Don Quixote of a declining craft within a professional class of reporters. In the final analysis the wind he sowed, spun the windmill that he tilted at one too many times, that toppled him from his horse of many colors. Not so much for the beliefs (or lack thereof) that he espoused, expounded upon, but for the anti-repudiational doctrine he followed, which spoke more to the falling away from any doctrine, resembling the first brilliance of the Founding Principles of the Nation, than to any core values he held.

Perhaps his ample parachute, lined with the fleece, the skins of a mythical people, called sheople, he imagined to reside within OUR Great Land, who in his diminished intellect, he saw laying in wait to ambush him personally, along with his ardent, but shrinking group of followers, will land him in a quiet place of reflection where he might begin to understand why his audience, so vulgarly loyal, ubiquitous, ephemeral on the one hand, yet bound by a common disdain for those who would fight to guard, shield, defend, protect, no matter what storms, brinks, man-made disasters, and threats against Liberty these horrible people have led US into, continue to mount assaults against a reverence for the Founders, the Patriots, and the Statesmen (Persons) who delivered a Democratic Republic to US, at great price: their own Lives, Fortunes, Sacred Honor, BOTH the TOO WEALTHY, and the not nearly WEALTHY ENOUGH.

So let his legacy be, he fought a good fight, in that he stayed true to his determination to avoid any semblance of worship of an order of truth higher than himself, and therefore used his position on the watchtower to daily relegate his flock to the lowest nether regions of reality, from which they must now hoist themselves up off the petard he has left them on, before the infamous coalition, held together by subtle and not so subtle invective, collapses, and find another Dagon of platitudinal presentiment, to feed their insatiable hollowness, born of a mental disorder, easily cloaked in an appearance of reasonable, logical, civil discourse.

In closing, thanks Keith, for keeping this one truth before US, which we will never forget you for, all people in America are to one degree or another people in America, but unfortunately for all, some choose not to join the effort to preserve the Democratic Republic, so hard won, by keeping it from becoming overly Democratic. That sweet enough for you folks?

Posted by: SpendNomore | January 24, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

First of all I must say, I quit reading this paper because they employ awful partisan hacks like Keri Lyderson (sp?), but this blog was linked on my friend's facebook.
M. Bachman is a mental midget and the first point she makes is ludicrous, but as for the second one, I don't think forbearer = founding father, and I am not sure she is incorrect when she says he wouldn't rest till slavery was extinguished....because he didn't rest, he died on the House floor fighting for his...

Posted by: Illini97 | January 24, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann later stated: "I don't think I really meant John Quincy Adams. I meant Anthony Hopkins playing Adams in Amistad.

"Hopkins would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country. Or colonies. Or maybe that was just the ship. There was a ship in the movie, wasn't there? Or at least until the end of the movie. Or maybe that was his next movie--The Mask of Zorro. Wasn't that about injustice too? Something about Spain. Maybe a guy from Spain? A guy named Spain?

"How is my makeup?"

Posted by: adolphemenjou | January 24, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Okay, let's take a deep breath and think for a minute. Let's give her a pass on founders and forebearers and then assume she really meant JQ Adams. Was he an advocate for abolition of slavery? I have no idea, but it's worth asking. More broadly, we know that many of the founders were fierce opponents of slavery and Abigail Adams may have called it our original sin. Did John Adams make abolition a cause during the remainder of his lift. Etc.

Posted by: jmundstuk | January 25, 2011 2:01 AM | Report abuse

A brief search found that JQ Adams fought a long and ultimately successful battle to rescind a gag rule that had...prevented discussion of the abolition of slavery on the U.S. House floor. He was an anti-slavery advocate -- as many from his part of the country were.

Posted by: jmundstuk | January 25, 2011 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Not only did the founding patriarchs do nothing to put an end to slavery, most of them were slave owners themselves. 10 of the first 12 presidents owned slaves. The only reason John Adams and his son didn't is because there was no plantation economy in Massachusetts. TJ criticized slavery at times but never free the nearly 200 he owned and offered a reward to anyone who caught the ones that escaped. The founding fathers also participated in the genocide of America`s indigenous people. They created a country for property-owning white men. You can defend it if you dare, or try and explain it if you can, but don't lie about it.

Posted by: distin99 | January 25, 2011 2:41 AM | Report abuse

I am troubled by the vulgar personal attacks on Jonathan Capehart in response to his editorial-- which is essentially a factual correction to just one of an ongoing litany of inaccurate political statements by Congresswoman Bachmann. The "melting pot" picture that Bachmann attempts to paint ignores a long and well recognized history of difficulties encountered by immigrants to the United States. Whether forced into slavery or coming to the US of their own free will, a wide range of nationalities, races and religions have endured hardship, persecution and more during the transition to US citizenship and beyond. Though part of our painful history, I think one can fairly argue that, as a nation, we are perhaps somewhat better for our open and forthright struggles to overcome that which a great many other nations otherwise choose to forget or ignore. Progress has most certainly been made, though it can just as easily be lost by sanitizing our history through fallacy and fiction. Bachmann's choice to celebrate this great country by exchanging our rich and sometimes tortured factual heritage with her own personal fairy tale is an insult to all of us. For her, unfortunately, it is just another page out of an otherwise empty political playbook. Don't we demand more from our elected leadership?

Posted by: jdcarpen | January 25, 2011 3:25 AM | Report abuse

Her followers don't care if she gets the history right - as long as it sounds good to them. Belief triumps over facts in a world gone mad.

Posted by: kparc | January 25, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan, Evidently another "ATTRACTIVE" republican woman got you worried.

Seems all you liberals are jealous of the attractive white woman the republicans seem to draw into their party.

Having nothing else to say you attact their character. Haven't heard a word from you folks about B Boxer, Maxine Waters etc. But I guess their ugliness meets your criteria

Posted by: frankn1 | January 25, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Treated equally? Her ignorance of our slave-owning founding fathers is just the beginning. Is she aware of Angel Island and Asian exclusion laws in the West?

Posted by: mullingitover1 | January 25, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"...You might want to reread that Capehart, because you and many of your leftist cohorts have misconstrued that section, which states that representation of slave states had to take into consideration 3/5 of the slave population, and not a slave is 3/5 of a person"

Wow, just wow! It keeps getting better (or worse, I suppose, depending on your perspective)

I guess, I could hope that eventually, conservatives would disagree with every little iota of whatever anyone who is to the left of Richard Nixon has said. I figure that in about 6 months, your disagreements could be so petty, that all any one of you guys will be able to say is, "Not from Republican Party, me no like"

But, to the point made above. First, isn't this a distinction without a difference? Here is the exact wording from Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the constitution.

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons"

I'll skip with the snarky comments, and ask what ELSE could this possibly mean? Slaves were counted as 3/5 of a white man to determine how many citizens there were. Period. They weren't allowed to vote, so you can't really say that somehow, they were treated as full citizens in other ways.

You know, when Fox News and The Drudge report were in their early days, I would think, well I understand why people wouldn't want to consistently get their news from someone or some source that appeared to be leaning to the left.

However, it's gotten to the point over last 2 years, that's not a question of perspective any more. Half of the things that I read in message board praising right wing points of view are simply incorrect. Period. The fact that Representative Bachmann gets away with saying these things is that facts are no no longer required for some citizens.

Instead the "spin" of an issue is what is more important than anything else.

So, my right wing brethren, please stop holding your breath and pouting. Let's work together to move the country forward, instead of engaging in this constant us against them.

What do you think?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | January 25, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Bachmann gets elected by her fundamentalist christian mainly Evangelical following. The absurd founders were all Christians is dispelled by their writings. Samples can be found at http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

Posted by: jameschirico | January 25, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Christ, you are an idiot. She said "forebears," not "founders." John Quincy Adams surely qualifies. More importantly, how is it Bachmann knows more about the Amistad than our light in the loafers resident Negro?

Posted by: pcannady | January 25, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

What's new? How many time have ya heard a pol talk about how Lincoln freed the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation?
Nothing new.Say what sounds good.

Posted by: toebo1 | January 25, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Methinks that the individual posting on here under the name SpendNomore and RichNomore needs to have a saliva test! And, should he she be as crazy as he/she sounds, let's hope that there are no glocks in their posession... Check your tin-foil hat!

Posted by: MemphisSlim | January 25, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

It might shock Bachmann to know that what is most remarkable about our American history were progressive thinkers writing about human suffering, oppressive local leadership, slavery, and extermination of indigenous cultures while it was taking place.

Posted by: rustingnpeace | January 25, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Palin and Bachman are the goddesses worshipped by the teabaggers. Theirs are the policies which best represent the teabaggers. Their ignorance is what the teabaggers thrive on.

Posted by: mikesba | January 25, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The point is that Bachmann, like most of the Tea Party, claims that she wants to return America to its founding principles. But as this recent statement clearly demonstrates, she has no idea what those founding principles were.

Posted by: binaryboy | January 25, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Part of the problem is, like The Great Alaskan Quitter, the media won't stop reporting on Ms. Bachmann and her continuing antics. Bachmann, like The Great Alaskan Quitter, has far outlasted her alloted 15 minutes of fame.

Posted by: timothyhogan | January 25, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Fleas can be taught nearly anthing a Congressman can." -- Mark Twain

Posted by: jlatz1 | January 25, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Bachmann is living proof that evolution is a sometimes messy process that doesn't always get it right.

Posted by: bluejay31 | January 25, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Personally, i am fascinated by bachman. She goes out on a limb and exposes some mistakes in history..so what...how many of you know the content of the federalist papers or can quote from the constitutution? How many of you know that the democratic party used to be called the democratic-republican party and the other party was the federalists. Bachman has spunk..more than could ever be said about most of the pea pod people in the gov. Congressman were supposed to come from the common people. The senate was supposed to be filled with rich educated people...and we have lots of rich people but very few have a good education.

Posted by: cozzete | January 25, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"we have lots of rich people but very few have a good education."

Hah! So sayeth WHO?

I get such a laugh from all the teabaggers and other rabid Republicans who are uneducated and clearly not rich ENOUGH (for their tastes) criticizing those who are educated and rich.

Like a mouse criticizing a cat for having big, sharp teeth.

Posted by: pasc1 | January 25, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Thank god that 50% of the people in this country are below average intelligence.

It insures that we will always have pols like Michelle Bachmann provided for our amusemeent...

Posted by: lafont1 | January 25, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, i'm sure they all went to fancy schools out east..but i'm talking about education in a more old fashioned way...which inspires learning how to think independently. As far as i can see, most politicians spit out the same ideas on just about any subject. How can that be? How do they all come up with the same ideas. It is freaky to me. I was in a jury of 7 people years ago. And within 5 minutes...everyone was agreeing with everyone else on who was guilty. I disagreed. But it didn't matter because all they needed was six votes. Sheep. One strong voice and others go into automatic think and follow. I don't know what a tea bagger is...but i studied it and i found that the east indian company was dominating everyone in the 13 colonies...they didn't even have to pay taxes to england...and they had this monopoly on tea, etc..and wouldn't allow small merchants to sell tea. It was against their law. And we got fed up and dumped all their tea in the ocean. And you know the rest of the story. But what does this have to do with the tea party now? I'm trying to figure it out. Tea party people were against the bailout..right? Am I wrong? They wanted the banks to fail..they screwed up and they should have failed. The tea party did/does not want the government to have the power to bail them out. And yet, in the 1800s, the gov didn't like that the 2nd bank of the united states had so much power that they could put who they wanted into political office...and they pulled their money from the bank and it eventually went bankrupt. I don't know what it all means..i'm just in the process of trying to figure it all out. And whether someone has their facts right or wrong...i think bachman has spirit...I just wish someone would interview each male politician and ask them a series of questions to find out what they read and what they remember from what they read and to name each president and tell what they did or didn't do for our nation and also explain the history of the supreme court and its influence on our laws. You might think a couple of outspoken spirited women are dopes...but i think if you question the "men"..you'll find out just how stupid and ignorant they are.

Posted by: cozzete | January 25, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I think intelligence and common sense go together. You can listen to a politician talking and if it isn't entirely clear what his motivation is and what is the point he is making and in what context...you have someone who, in my humble opinion, shouldn't be in politics. i'm home all day. I'm an older person. I just became interested in all this late in life. I watch c span all day sometimes to see who these people are. It is all so fascinating to me. I find it fascinating that some really important topics are being discussed and it looks like there are only 5 people sitting there. ?? They have a hearing...then what...they go and discuss it not on camera? Why don't we get to see that part. This 20 month study about the meltdown that is going to come out on thursday. they had 700 or so witnesses...where was i when this was going on. okay, i'm off topic. But i have a hard time with arrogance. I think a basically intelligent person wouldn't make fun of other people's lack of knowledge or mistakes. They would go out of there way to increase the knowledge of that person. And that is what i personally have done. I've written bachman's office and asked questions...like..where are you going with this..what do you want to happen, etc. Oh, whats the use.

Posted by: cozzete | January 25, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Michele Bachmann is a product of a bottom tier law school.

Her "spunk" is just a rightwing way of approving of ignorance. Not sure why folks are proud of representatives that show their spunky lack of intellect publicly. Guess, it's the elitist in me that actually wants someone who's willing to study and learn to represent me.

Michele, too bad you didn't have a Tiger Mom!!

Posted by: bhuang2 | January 25, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

When you realize that Bachmann said "forbearers" (people who came before us) instead of "founders" and that John Quincy Adams was a life-long opponent of slavery then you realize that this piece is a hatchet job. It took an accurate statement and twisted it make Bachmann look bad.

Capehart must be suffering from Palin withdrawal. If he can't attack Palin then he goes after other conservative women.

Posted by: MarkGist | January 25, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say one more thing and maybe someone can explain this to me. The federalists wanted the government to have more power so that they could use that power to help out their business friends..lower their taxes, etc and the democratic republicans wanted less gov. power. The federalists became the republicans later and the dem/rep became the democrats.

So now the republicans want less power in the hands of the government and more power to the capitalist corps and banks..even though they abuse those powers, and the democrats want more government interference to correct the mistakes of when the government had less power? I'm confused.

Posted by: cozzete | January 26, 2011 3:20 AM | Report abuse

With Barbour and Bachmanns recent comments it appears that the current tactic amongst some conservatives is to whitewash history and minimized America's racist history. I suppose they think that if racism did not exist or was not so bad then those minorities who were discriminated against are unjust in their complaints and society has no obligation to listen to them.

Posted by: exbrown | January 26, 2011 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Michelle Bachman is a demagogue and a liar for all the reasons others have explained.

I want to make a point, though, about the "three-fifths of a person" business. It has lately become a rhetorical tool to illustrate the imperfection of the original constitution, as a shorthand for slavery.

In fact, from the standpoint of the constitution as well as the laws of the various states, a slave was NO FIFTHS of a person. He or she was property, a chattel, to be bought and sold. In most cases a slave had no standing to sue, and rights to marry varied.

Under those circumstances, the evil of the three-fifths provision was that it gave the slave states representation in Congress that it didn't deserve. Millions of slaves who were treated as non-persons for every other purpose were suddenly transformed into a basis for increasing the legislative power of their captors.

THAT was the evil of the three-fifths provisions. But it is wrong to say that a slave was considered three-fifths of a man. No fifths is even worse.

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 26, 2011 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Go Bachman/Palin!

The ignoramus wing of the republican party is feeling its oats.

Please continue to keep us up to date with your interesting versions of events and facts.

Posted by: dfolk1 | January 26, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Let me just say one more thing and maybe someone can explain this to me. The federalists wanted the government to have more power so that they could use that power to help out their business friends..lower their taxes, etc and the democratic republicans wanted less gov. power. The federalists became the republicans later and the dem/rep became the democrats.

So now the republicans want less power in the hands of the government and more power to the capitalist corps and banks..even though they abuse those powers, and the democrats want more government interference to correct the mistakes of when the government had less power? I'm confused.

Posted by: cozzete | January 26, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"I know you find the compromise distasteful and I can understand that but for men like John Quincy, what would you have them do. The south wanted each slave counted as full men. Do you think that was the right position?"

The right position was to end slavery. The founders knew they were kicking that can down the road; private writings are full of that admission.

Moreover, immigrants weren't suddenly treated equally as they landed on American shores. Irish and European Catholics and Jews were discriminated against as a matter of coarse. Slaves came out of the Civil War in not much better shape than they were when it began: Jim Crow was serfdom enforced with violence and African-Americans were second-class citizens in the north.

As to the color of your skin not mattering once you "got here," tell that to the Indians. Even the most stoic Native-American couldn't listen to that with a straight face.

It's one thing to reinterpret history based on extensive and committed research. It's another to do it based on telling people what they want to hear.

Posted by: pkgoode1 | January 26, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Bachmann may be over-zealous, but she's attempting to make a valid point, which is that neither racism nor race-baiting represent America's principles. Bachmann-bashing looks like nothing less than a demand for a Reparations pay-out. How much must the tax-payer confer before the aggrieved can finally move on with their lives?

Posted by: whatsso4me | January 24, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Really? Racism may not be part of America's "principles" but has certainly been manifest in profoundly disturbing actions: 250 years of African slavery, a violent civil war, 100+ years of segregation and Jim Crow, not to mention genocide of native Americans.

Posted by: Natmeister | January 26, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Irish immigrants in the 1840's and 50's experienced pervasive discrimination such as dual labor practices, "No Irish need apply" signs and limited opportunity for promotion. The situation was similar for many Poles, Jews Native Americans and others deemed "foreigners".

Michele Bachmann lives in a fantasy world where our hard fought history for civil rights and equal justice has been forgotten or scrubbed clean. Definitely not a viable or desirable presidential candidate.

Posted by: pclark1 | January 26, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've always thought that people can only hold certain political views if they're ignorant of history, current events, and challenges faced by "other" people. This proves it. These people live in a fantasy world of how the country and the world is and should be, and try to dictate policy based on that fantasy.

Posted by: MHinNC | January 26, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

And the hysterical thing (in every sense of the word - it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time) is that people who have REALLY fought through the decades for civil rights - striving for an America where skin color really doesn't matter - are by and large liberals/progressives whom the Tea Partiers revile.

If we have made progress in attaining the vision Bachmann speaks of, it's no thanks to her and her ilk.

Posted by: MHinNC | January 26, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann was not touching on every aspect of race and settlement in American history.
She was talking about the motivations of the men that worked to end slavery in the US. European kings created New World slavery. The men fighting in the Revolutionary War fired a shot "heard ’round the world.” In 1787 the Continental Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance Act.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/nworder.asp

The Northwest Ordinance Act (Article 6) banned slavery in the new territories. The Northwest Territories became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This act created a bloc of free states that joined the northeastern states in 1860 to confront the powers in the southern states that wanted to continue slavery. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 were just tests of the intent of the Northwest Ordinance Act and were the sparks that caused the civil war.

Read a couple Thomas Sowell columns on this:
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell042710.php3

http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/culture/history/4126-bury-the-chains-how-the-west-ended-slavery.html

Posted by: DaveTurson | January 26, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

You people really are amazing.

John Quincy Adams was a relentless and eloquent opponent of slavery. he was the only President to return to the House after his term where he spent the rest of his life fighting slavery.

Google "gag rule".

He was the defense lawyer for the slaves who revolted on the Amistaad- and won the case!

As noted above, and repeatedly elsewhere, this blather about the 3/5th clause only proves those who comment on it as proof of America's natal racism to be wholly ignorant of Constitutional history.

It's the 150th of the Civil War- read a history book for God's sake!

Posted by: mercedesmans2000 | January 26, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Not even two days have gone by since the symbloic "lets sit together" State of the Union and the right wing pundits are cranking out their misinfomed or malaliged drivel. Yesterday Glen Beck took Obama's praise of teachers totally out of context claiming that the president thinks teachers have a greater role than parents. The most fightning part of all of this is that there are people who swallow this garbage without even gaging. That is scary.

Posted by: Sjoblom | January 27, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It's hardly surprising that Michele Bachmann's defenders here are either mistaken or "fibbing."

pcannady and MarkGist insist Bachmann is in the clear because she said "forbearers" (I'd put pcannady in the "fibbing" category because he spelled "forebears" correctly, whereas Bachmann definitely said "forbearers" -- kind of like "refudiate").

But she first said "Founders" -- conflating Founders, forebears, and John Quincy Adams:

Bachmann: "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 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."

She also mimed "writing those documents"! John Quincy Adams was indeed an anti-slavery activist, but he was born in 1767 and had nothing to do with writing the Constitution in 1787 -- something that seems to have escaped bzorn22, who wrote "I know you find the compromise [slaves counted as 3/5 for purposes of Congressional representation] distasteful and I can understand that but for men like John Quincy, what would you have them do. The south wanted each slave counted as full men. Do you think that was the right position?"

Again, John Quincy Adams was a 20-year-old Harvard student at the time, and had nothing to do with writing the Constitution!

Posted by: maren777 | January 27, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Such exaggerations inspire bewilderment.

Let’s start with Mr. Capehart’s criticism of Ms. Bachman’s remarks that seemed to include John Quincy Adams as a Founder. Now, perhaps I am just naive, but I think Ms. Bachman probably knows that John Quincy Adams was not a Founder. Judging from her remarks, I think she meant simply that the Founders had set slavery in the course of ultimate extinction, and she believes, as I do, that the work of many individuals of subsequent generations was the extension of the Founders’ intention.

Now I can hear the mocking laughter of most of the Post’s readers, but consider this: To believe Bachman’s view of the Founders’ intentions to be preposterous, you have to also believe Abraham Lincoln’s views are as well. In his first debate with Douglass in 1858, Lincoln asked his audience to consider that “our fathers originally placed [slavery] [in such a position that] the public mind did rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction.”

(Lincoln’s words, not mine.) You can look it up.

But it gets better. Yes, John Quincy Adams was the sixth President. But as a Congressman, he was a stalwart abolitionist. For 20 years as a Congressman - after his presidency - he worked tirelessly for abolitionists’ rights to petition Congress, and he was key in having the Amistad Case shepherded through the courts. For anyone interested in Mr. Adams’s contribution to the anti-slavery cause, I suggest the book “Arguing About Slavery” by William Lee Miller.

And better still: The three-fifths clause was not immoral. It was one of the measures the Founders deployed to set slavery on that course we were discussing. Southerners wanted the slaves to be counted as whole persons, which would have increased the South’s representation in Congress, embedding a stronger slave interest in government. The North said no. The compromise, without which there would have been no Constitution, was three-fifths representation for slaves.

Finally, my favorite part: A reader could be forgiven for forming the impression that Mr. Capehart believes Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made slavery “no more.” He seems to state that. But Lincoln's Executive Order did no such thing. It only abolished slavery in the areas still under control of Confederate governments. It therefore left slavery intact in the parts of the Confederate States occupied by Union soldiers as well as in the five states remaining in the Union where was slavery was still legal. Slavery was “no more” as a result of the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified eight months after Lincoln’s death. But I will give Mr. Capehart the benefit of the doubt and conclude with my belief that Mr. Capehart did not mean to misstate a fact. He merely believes, as I do, that America’s ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment was the extension of Lincoln’s intention.

Posted by: F-swan | January 27, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

It is beyond belief that people like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin can get as far as they do by delivering the most shallow talking points that always need to be explained by their fans. Are we really supposed to believe that these two women are sooo knowledgeable that they just can't articulate their thoughts clearly? Isn't that the biggest argument the far right has against Obama - that he is so elitist in his education and speech patterns that he doesn't relate to common people? Are you truly saying that about Bachmann and Palin - that they have such a profound understanding of things that they can't help but speak in metaphors and allusions because common, clear speech isn't good enough to convey their message? It's plenty clear to me that neither of these women can say anything without a LOT of help - someone to research it for them, someone to write it for them, someone to then interpret it for them.

C'mon, GOP, the country is waiting for someone with intelligence, commitment, and a clear message to step up to the plate. Stop wasting everyone's time with these "ooh - ooh- listen to me! Listen to ME!" airheads. There are far more intelligent people within the GOP, why aren't they speaking? I'll bet it's because they don't have anything to say. Yet.

Posted by: ktvanw | January 28, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I am loath to bicker on this site but find myself unable to restrain myself:

First, I am not of the GOP. I voted for Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama. But I do not believe Bachman is the fruitcake you think she is, and I am not in lockstep agreement with her. And I also have no use for "a certain former politician from a rather large non-contiguous state in the west." I am of the center (though I lean slightly right), and a pox on both your houses.

I am only saying that anyone with a modicum of knowledge of US history OR one without a penchant to extrapolate and exaggerate the views of someone s/he disagrees with OR one who does not come from a self-congratulatory foundational belief that US history is replete with oppression would not need an interpretation. (Bachman used the term Forbearers. Was J.Quincy Adams not a forebearer? Was Lincoln?) To illustrate the point, I showed how Mr. Capehart's mis-interpretation of the law around the Emancipation Proclamamtion could itself be similarly mis-used. In choosing not to mis-use that, I was hoping to make a point that was obviously lost on you.

I note that you did not refute a single one of the facts I presented. Not one. Instead you choose to insult. "Sooo knowledgeable...needs interpretation." Yes, it inspires bewilderment. Sorry to confuse you with the facts.

Posted by: F-swan | January 28, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this woman is dumb but that is what makes me so angry. She will do and say anything to advance her agenda and as an elected official, she should be held accountable. It sounds good so who cares about the facts? This woman gets away with glossing over history (just like Christians who claim the Bible is one coherent story instead of dealing with its inconsistencies) because a large segment of the public is lazy, too lazy to deal with conflict, too lazy to think about anything complicated.

Posted by: sunshine09 | January 31, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company