Like the late, great Wall Street firm, Merrill Lynch, Tea Party candidates are a breed apart. They provide a steady stream of malaprops, mangled grammar and misinformation that make me laugh, cry and sigh.
The latest Tea Partier to demonstrate an utter lack of knowledge about U.S. history is Michele Bachmann.
Speaking before a group of supporters in Concord, New Hampshire, Ms. Bachmann praised them for living on the hallowed ground where the fabled “shot heard 'round the world” was fired. There was only one thing wrong with her comment. Bachmann was in the wrong state. The opening salvos that touched off the American Revolution were fired in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, not New Hampshire. Oh well, who cares about a minor thing like historical accuracy when one is a high-profile, elected official advocating for the dismemberment of, among other things, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which provides American citizens with the type of daily information necessary to learn such tidbits as where this country of ours began.)?
But, far be it from Tea Party types such as Bachmann, Christine O'Donnell and Alaska's momma grizzly to let things like facts and figures get in their way. Since they believe they're re-writing history, why should they need to learn it in the first place? And, why stop with things like misunderstanding the First Amendment (O'Donnell), or, being unable to name one newspaper she'd recently read or Ms. Bachman's geographic blunder?
Even though they're consistently wrong in their facts, street smart Tea Party candidates know two key facts about their public gaffes:
A) They create news and
B) They really don't matter much since their adoring fans know less about history and geography than they do.
In analyzing the 'gaffe potential' of the various primary states, I'm pleased to report the upside potential is literally limitless. Among other opportunities, Tea Party candidates can:
– Congratulate J.P. Getty for saving the Union in 1863 when he defeated
Robert E. Lee on a battlefield subsequently named him.
– Visit Christ's birthplace in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
– Tour the site of the actual witch trials while campaigning in Salem,
America hasn't experienced a more inept, more out-of-touch political party since the 1850s when Nativists did their very best to prevent further immigration by Irish Catholics.
Knowing the average Tea Party candidate, though, she'd probably embrace the “Know Nothing” moniker as a badge of courage: “I may know nothing about history or geography, but I do know how to undo collective bargaining for unions, strip funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and accuse an entire religion of fostering terrorism. With accomplishments like those, who needs to know where the shot heard 'round the world was fired?'