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“You betcha she was right”

Posted by Richard on June 8, 2011

I'd be remiss not to point this out, even though it's pretty much a "dog bites man" story. Sarah Palin's off-the-cuff remarks in Boston the other day about Paul Revere were met with peals of derisive laughter by the left-wing intelligentsia and mumblings about what an embarrassment she is by establishment conservatives like David Brooks. But historians (reluctantly) agree she was right:

Palin insisted yesterday on Fox News Sunday she was right: “Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms.”

In fact, Revere’s own account of the ride in a 1798 letter seems to back up Palin’s claim. Revere describes how after his capture by British officers, he warned them “there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time for I had alarmed the Country all the way up.”

Boston University history professor Brendan McConville said, “Basically when Paul Revere was stopped by the British, he did say to them, ‘Look, there is a mobilization going on that you’ll be confronting,’ and the British are aware as they’re marching down the countryside, they hear church bells ringing — she was right about that — and warning shots being fired. That’s accurate.”

Patrick Leehey of the Paul Revere House said Revere was probably bluffing his British captors, but reluctantly conceded that it could be construed as Revere warning the British.

“I suppose you could say that,” Leehey said. “But I don’t know if that’s really what Mrs. Palin was referring to.”

McConville said he also is not convinced that Palin’s remarks reflect scholarship.

“I would call her lucky in her comments,” McConville said.

McConville's remarks reveal perfectly the mind-set of the Palin haters. He concedes she was correct, even about the details (church bells ringing and shots being fired). But he just knows she's not smart or educated enough for her statement to "reflect scholarship." So it must be pure dumb luck. 

You'd think after the Palin critics thoroughly embarrassed themselves over the "party like it's 1773" incident, they'd at least pause long enough to be sure of their facts before sneering yet again at her supposed ignorance. But they're far too arrogant and smugly superior to even entertain the thought that Palin could know more about anything than they do. 

Byron York last week pointed out that, contrary to what her critics say, Palin has been seriously addressing important policy issues in a variety of forums, some non-traditional:

For those interested in her positions on issues, Palin's Facebook page is filled with notes and commentary. Recent entries include titles like "New Afghanistan Development Dangerous to NATO," "Obama's Strange Strategy: Borrow Foreign Money to Give to Foreign Countries," "Barack Obama's Disregard for [Israel's] Security Begs Clarity," "Obama's Failed Energy Policy," and "Removing the Boot from the Throat of American Businesses." They're not think-tank white papers, but they are substantive statements on key issues.

To critics, publishing statements on Facebook seems less serious than releasing them from an office. But Palin has three million followers on the social media website. That's an important forum, especially when combined with Palin's books and television commentary.

Like York, I suspect she's not going to run for President, but instead wants to promote her ideas and viewpoint, and those of the Tea Party movement she champions, within the Republican Party. More power to her!

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2 Responses to ““You betcha she was right””

  1. David Bryant said

    ”McConville’s remarks reveal perfectly the mind-set of the Palin haters.”

    OK, the connection is somewhat elliptical, but McConville’s remarks tie in with our ongoing conversation about cultural literacy.

    I’ve been examining all the instances of words on Hirsch’s list ending in -ism, with an eye toward understanding his treatment of religion, politics, and philosophy. I noticed four important terms that are not on the list: empiricism, idealism, historicism, and rationalism.

    As an historian, McConville has probably adopted historicism as his epistemological framework. Even though he has empirical evidence that Sarah Palin knew what she was talking about, he just ”knows” that the traditional view of Paul Revere’s ride — as popularized by H. W. Longfellow — is the only version of events that can possibly exist in the mind of a philistine like Mrs. Palin. ”She’s” not a professor of history, so she could not possibly possess such esoteric knowledge.

    In other words, I don’t think there really is a “typical” mindset among people who dismiss Sarah Palin as a mental midget. The more intelligent among them have probably cooked up a whole raft of reasons to think she’s stupid, and the less intelligent are probably mindlessly accepting the authoritative opinions of the “best” minds in America.

  2. Hathor said

    Mental midget, yes. Proved to me when I heard her delivery story of her last baby.

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