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The Pathetic Defense Of Sarah Palin’s Botched History Of The Ride Of Paul Revere

Several conservative bloggers have engaged in an odd attempt to defend Sarah Palin’s botched, mostly incoherent, comments during her bus trip last week about the ride of Paul Revere. For source material, they’ve turned first to a piece in the Boston Herald purporting to claim that “experts” agree that Palin got the story right:

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.

Andrew Malcom at the L.A. Times Top Of The Ticket goes even further in his defense of Palin:

You may have heard recently something about that Sarah Palin telling a reporter that Paul Revere warned the British on his famous rousing revolutionary ride.

Now, that so many Americans have wallowed in their smug confirmation that Palin is an idiot unqualified for anything but Paul Revere thinks about something paulreverefactsdotcomrepeating sixth-grade history, how far, wide and fast do you think the contradictory news will spread that the former governor of Alaska was indeed correct?

That the Republican non-candidate, in fact, knew more about the actual facts of Revere’s midnight ride than all those idiots unknowingly revealing their own ignorance by laughing at her faux faux pas? How secretly embarrassing this must be, to be forced to face that you’re dumber than the reputed dummy.

(…)

The well-known fable is Revere’s late-night ride to warn fellow revolutionaries that….

…the British were coming. Less known, obviously, is the rest of the evening’s events in which Revere was captured by said redcoats and did indeed defiantly warn them of the awakened militia awaiting their arrival ahead and of the American Revolution’s inevitable victory.

Palin knew this. The on-scene reporters did not and ran off like Revere to alert the world to Palin’s latest mis-speak, which wasn’t.

The Boston Herald and Malcom articles have been picked up by National Review, Hot Air, Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion, and others as proo that Palin was right, as she claimed on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and as another opportunity to bash the s0-called “Lamestream Media.” When you actually compare what Palin said to the historical sources, though, the proof is far, far less than meets the eye, and this defense starts to look pretty silly and pathetic.

Before getting much further into this, it’s worth recapping what Palin actually said:

PALIN: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

Palin”s protectors became protective about this comment almost immediately after it became viral, and even before they had the two articles linked above to claim as “proof” that she was right, to the point where, over the weekend, people were editing Paul Revere’s Wikipedia page to try to make its account of the ride compatible with Palin’s statements.

Rather than rely on Wikipedia, though, or bloggers, or self-appointed experts, it is perhaps best to turn to the best source of all, Paul Revere and his own account of the Midnight Ride, written in a letter from 1798:

On Tuesday evening, the 18th, it was observed that a number of soldiers were marching towards the bottom of the Common. About 10 o’clock, Dr. Warren [Joseph Warren, one of the few Patriot leaders who had remained in Boston] sent in great haste for me and begged that I would immediately set off for Lexington, where Messrs. Hancock and Adams were, and acquaint them of the movement, and that it was thought they were the objects.

(…)

We rode till we got near Lexington meeting-house, when the militia fired a volley of guns, which appeared to alarm them very much. The major inquired of me how far it was to Cambridge, and if there were any other road….[Revere then tells of his British escorts' taking his horse and departing, and his walk back to Lexington in the dark.]

Came to the Rev. Mr. Clark’s house, where I found Messrs. Hancock and Adams. I told them of my treatment, and they concluded to go from that house towards Woburn….[After seeing the two Patriot leaders to safety, Revere chose to return to Lexington to help recover a trunk with Hancock's confidential papers. There, at daybreak, he and his companion saw British troops moving into the town.]

So, right there, we come to the first fact that probably isn’t familiar to most Americans who’s knowledge of Revere comes from Longfellow’s poem or Schoolhouse Rock. Revere’s mission on that fateful night wasn’t to alert the Minutemen, or to warn the British as Palin put it, but to get word to the two most important leaders of the Colonial forces in Massachusetts that there was a British army regiment about to go hunting for them through the countryside. At that early point in a revolution that technically hadn’t started yet, the capture of Hamilton Hancock and Adams could have been a fatal blow, and most certainly would have been demoralizing to the Colonials in Massachusetts.

As the historians quoted above note, Revere was ultimately captured, and here’s what he had to say about that:

I observed a wood at a small distance and made for that. When I got there, out started six officers on horseback and ordered me to dismount. One of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from and what my name was. I told him. He asked me if I was an express. I answered in the affirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston. I told him, and added that their troops had catched aground in passing the river, and that there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the country all the way up. He immediately rode towards those who stopped us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop. One of them, whom I afterwards found to be a Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name and told me he was going to ask me some questions, and if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above.

Two things are worth noting here. First, the Revere’s capture by the British actually occurred before he was able to complete his mission and get warning to Hamilton and Adams. The only reason he was able to complete that mission (the part after the ellipses in the first excerpt from the letter) is because the British officer abandoning him in the woods, allowing him to get to Lexington and warn Hamilton and Adams and return home. [I failed to note that, according to the letter, Revere had met with Adams and Hamilton Hancock before being captured on the way to Concord. After he was abandoned in the woods, he returned to Lexington --- DM] The second thing worth noting is that when Revere was questioned by the British officer his primary concern was deceiving them about the size and location of the Colonial forces.  The Colonials were not down by the river waiting to trap the British, they were marching toward Lexington and Concord, and a battle that would start a revolution. There was no reference to guns, there were no ringing bells, there was no shouting.

As E.D. Kain put it:

Palin neither described the famous legend of Paul Revere as told in Longfellow’s poem, or the actual historical events. She mangled the facts (and mangled the syntax much more ferociously) and now her defenders are digging up an obscure story not even relevant to the history itself and holding it up as though Palin knew exactly what she was talking about. This is ludicrous.

Indeed.  Revere’s ride was not about arousing the Minutemen but about getting word to Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were the targets of the British forces as leaders of the Colonials in Massachusetts. The idea that he was “warning the British” is absurd and silly. Why anyone is still trying to defend her comments baffles me. Why she couldn’t just say “Yea it was a hot day and that didn’t really come out right” is something I don’t get either. But then, has Palin ever publicly admitted to being wrong?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    Some people are just all in with her, no matter what she does/says.

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  2. mantis says:

    people were editing Paul Revere’s Wikipedia page to try to make its account of the ride compatible with Palin’s statements.

    And the Wikipedians aren’t having it.

    If only wingnuts had an alternative to Wikipedia, where they could rewrite history according to their dimwitted heroes mangling of it. Oh wait, they do!

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  3. Franklin says:

    My first impression of her quote that it was some 2nd Amendment thing, even though that hadn’t been written yet. I’m not much of a history buff, though; is it possible there was a point of contention between the colonists and the Brits on the subject of personal arms?

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  4. ponce says:

    And we can look forward to many more months of such absurd mental gymnastics from Palin’s defenders as her as her traveling carnival continues…

    Should be fun.

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  5. john personna says:
  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    Yea it was a hot day and that didn’t really come out right” is something I don’t get either. But then, has Palin ever publicly admitted to being wrong?

    This is the most befuddling to me. When I saw the video clip, I thought “I get what she was trying to say, she mangled it and looked silly, but no big deal. We’ve all been there.”

    The smart thing would have just to say something along the lines of “I got a little tongue-twisted in my story telling.” Instead she tries to say that her obviously incorrect story-telling was actually a genius recounting of obscure historical minutiae.

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  7. Chad S says:

    The taxes were a much bigger issue. In any event Palin is wrong about why Revere was making his ride and this would be a 1 day story if she just admitted a mistake/flub.

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  8. BigRu says:

    Paul Revere rode to warn Hancock and Adams, not Hamilton. And you likely had time to review your article and weren’t being inundated by a crowd when writing it.

    Throwing stones can get awfully messy Doug

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  9. Yes, BigRu, I’ve already fixed that typo

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  10. legion says:

    Well, the first part of this is that Palin can’t not-talk. If someone asks her something or sticks a mike in her face, she’s gonna spout off with whatever topic comes to mind, regardless.

    Now, that’s not a huge failing by any means – in fact, it’s exceeding common among politicians of all stripes, and always has been. The thing this incident highlights – and it’s not the first time – is that she (very much like her intellectual forebear, GW Bush) is utterly incapable of admitting even the slightest misstep. Any action or statement, no matter how clearly a gaffe, _must_ have been divinely intended to be just so. And any facts or observations that disagree with the “new” reality must be the ones in error.

    Imagine for a moment what a country run by someone like that would be like.

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  11. Tano says:

    Yes, BigRu, I’ve already fixed that typo

    I’m on your side on this issue Doug, but this is a pet peeve of mine.

    A typo is a typographical error – i.e. a mistake of the kind you make when your finger slips on a keyboard, Sometimes the concept is expanded to include misspellings. Neither of those things causes “Hancock” to appear as “Hamilton”. You made a good old fashioned mistake, not a typo.

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  12. BigRu says:

    Just pointing out how easy it is to make a mistake, especially when speaking off the cuff in a crowd; you made the same mistake three times and had time to proof read your work.

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  13. MM says:

    Just pointing out how easy it is to make a mistake, especially when speaking off the cuff in a crowd; you made the same mistake three times and had time to proof read your work.

    \

    The difference being that he fixed it, rather than doubling down about how Revere was really trying to alert Hamilton.

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  14. george says:

    Just pointing out how easy it is to make a mistake, especially when speaking off the cuff in a crowd; you made the same mistake three times and had time to proof read your work.

    Yup, anyone who’s ever had to speak in public is aware of this. Obama’s 57 states for instance, or numerous Bush quotes. The difference is that Obama (and Bush for that matter) didn’t afterwards claim that what they said was anything but a misspeak. If she’d corrected herself when asked it’d just be another tired politician making a mistake, no big deal. Doubling down on it makes it clear that she is, in fact, just stupid.

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  15. Dan Fugate says:

    Tanto, you make a valid point. There is a typo, however, in the paragraph preceding the video clip. The word “proo”, I’m assuming, should be proof. I do like the fact that, in places where the article is edited, there are strike-throughs, so that we, the readers, can see the original and the edits.

    All in all, an interesting read. No matter which side of the issue one stands, the story will be slanted. I agree, though, that she should have just said she got tongue tied.

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  16. Strat440 says:

    The key point you should mention is that the musket shots and warning bells were unrelated to Revere’s ride. They were pure coincidence; in fact, the musket shots were caused by men discharging their weapons before entering a tavern. Revere seized upon those lucky occurrences to deceive the British and secure his release:

    http://www.hanford.gov/oci/ci_spy.cfm?dossier=54

    “A short time later Revere and his British captors heard a shot. Revere told them that the shot was a signal to alarm the country and the militia will be ready to mount their own attack. A few short minutes after his explanation of the shot, a volley of musketry from the direction of the Lexington meeting house sounded and immediately after that the Lexington town bell began clanging rapidly! This sufficiently scared the British that were holding Revere (they believe his explanation that they were going to be under imminent attack) to let him go and they retreated to a larger component of British forces, leaving Revere to finish his mission (he had to walk to Concord). Revere made it to Concord and delivered his message.

    In actuality, the single shot was a stroke of luck and aided Revere in his fabrication. The musketry sounding off was undoubtedly due to the discharging of weapons required before entering a tavern (the only way to unload a musket is to discharge it and some taverns did not allow loaded weapons). The ringing town bell was actually clanging to alert the militia that the British regulars were moving, but it was a general alarm and not a specific alarm of imminent threat. These factors definitely assisted Revere in his deception and absolutely assisted in getting him freed to carry out his mission.”

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  17. Strat440 says:

    The key point you should mention is that the “warning shots” and bells were completely unrelated to Revere’s ride; they were pure coincidence seized upon by Revere to trick the British. The shots, in fact, were weapons discharges by men before entering a tavern:

    “A short time later Revere and his British captors heard a shot. Revere told them that the shot was a signal to alarm the country and the militia will be ready to mount their own attack. A few short minutes after his explanation of the shot, a volley of musketry from the direction of the Lexington meeting house sounded and immediately after that the Lexington town bell began clanging rapidly! This sufficiently scared the British that were holding Revere (they believe his explanation that they were going to be under imminent attack) to let him go and they retreated to a larger component of British forces, leaving Revere to finish his mission (he had to walk to Concord). Revere made it to Concord and delivered his message.

    In actuality, the single shot was a stroke of luck and aided Revere in his fabrication. The musketry sounding off was undoubtedly due to the discharging of weapons required before entering a tavern (the only way to unload a musket is to discharge it and some taverns did not allow loaded weapons). The ringing town bell was actually clanging to alert the militia that the British regulars were moving, but it was a general alarm and not a specific alarm of imminent threat. These factors definitely assisted Revere in his deception and absolutely assisted in getting him freed to carry out his mission.”

    The spam filter is preventing me from posting the link; I’ll try to get it in a follow-up post.

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  18. jwest says:

    It appears that Doug, a lawyer trained in the art of dealing with minutia and details, having had three days to study every aspect of Paul Revere’s ride with the assistance of the entire blogosphere and an army of Palin haters, couldn’t even put together a few paragraphs without multiple glaring errors.

    Between Palin’s off-the-cuff (accurate) remarks and Doug’s intensely researched and totally screwed up account, I would have to stay with Palin as the far more intelligent and articulate person.

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  19. jwest says:

    Let’s have Doug give this account of his orally, without notes and in front of a crowd. Then have it transcribed with ever “um” and “uh” intact. By the time he backtracks for the fifth time and names every colonist with a name beginning in “H” trying to hit on the right one, I’m certain people would be referring to him as that “special” attorney.

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  20. BigRu says:

    Yup, anyone who’s ever had to speak in public is aware of this. Obama’s 57 states for instance, or numerous Bush quotes. The difference is that Obama (and Bush for that matter) didn’t afterwards claim that what they said was anything but a misspeak.

    When have you ever heard a politician from either side of the aisle admit to being wrong about anything?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Palin supporter, but on the freedom trail in Boston you often hear these over-sensationalized accounts of rabble rousing militiamen firing their weapons; In essence what she said was true, albeit excruciatingly inarticulate.

    But if one is going to take the effort to correct the record and bestow ones “superior” knowledge of the subject, one ought to make sure they dot their t’s and cross their i’s prior to criticizing anyone for their mistakes. (and yes, I meant to say that)

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  21. mantis says:

    The difference being that he fixed it, rather than doubling down about how Revere was really trying to alert Hamilton.

    Heh, indeed.

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  22. ponce says:

    I would have to stay with Palin as the far more intelligent and articulate person.

    Hahaha,

    Wingnuts always double down on the crazy, always.

    The big difference between Doug and Palin is Doug acknowledged his mistake and corrected it.

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  23. Renee Slater says:
  24. Renee Slater says:
  25. legion says:

    Ponce,
    No, jwest is just doubling down on the stupid; it’s a minor difference, but “crazy” is usually at least internally consistent.

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  26. hey norm says:

    look…this whack job has said far more idiotic things in the last couple days. things like de-stimulating the economy, about how the government is crowding out business, about how defaulting because of the debt limit is no big deal. i have to tell you; the fact she doesn’t seem to know anything about history is the least scary thing about her.

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  27. george says:

    When have you ever heard a politician from either side of the aisle admit to being wrong about anything?

    Has Obama been insisting that there really are 57 states? I know Reagan apologized for calling Brazil Bolivia (again, a simple mistake from being tired … not a big deal).

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  28. Chad S says:

    I’d also point out that the “gotcha” question she was asked was: What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?”

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  29. CB says:

    shes not stupid, as ive said before. in fact, id say that after the fact, she noted that doubling down on ‘teh stupid’ and playing up her victim status would play far better politically than simply acknoledging being tired and mangling a bit of history, and thus letting the issue die a quick death (for the record, i dont know what her point was, but it doesnt seem outside the realm of possibility that she was relatively close to accurate. it was a bit of a misstatement, no more, no less, and far better politicians have said far worse.)

    id say this is another example of a fairly shrewd move on palin’s part, or at least a nice political capitalization on a minor mistake. for the life of me though, i want this nonsencial sideshow to end. or national discourse is being brutally murdered by her ilk.

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  30. CB says:

    and i brutally murdered OUR discourse with NONSENSICAL typos

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  31. john personna says:

    I didn’t think “warn the British” was the interesting bit at all. I thought it was “they’re here to take our guns.”

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  32. Wayne says:

    What is pathetic are the Palin haters attempt to bash her for supposed history inaccuracies while making so many themselves. That and using only Revere’s one account as proof that no shots were fired or there were no bells that ranged out.

    Did it ever occur to their supposedly superior minds that many events happen that wasn’t written down by Paul Reveres one account?

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  33. Franklin says:

    personna – That’s what I was saying above. Were the redcoats out to get our guns? Was Revere a founding member of the NRA? I’m asking honestly … does that part of her comment have a historical basis?

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  34. Wayne says:

    This piece includes more than just the British attempt at gun control but not bad piece anyway.

    Hopefully it makes it through the filter.

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/0694e.asp

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  35. Wiley Stoner says:

    Doug, maybe if you read history rather than poetry, you would know Palin was accurate in her telling of what Revere was up to. Since neither you nor she were actually there, it is hard to tell who is right. However she is not trying to prove you wrong. Does not have to, you do a bang up job yourself. I just cannot wait to read what you and your little bitty buddies have to write abouit the day she is sworn in as President of the United States. Some think that will be on January 20, 2013. You know Doug, a major difference between Palin and you is, beside the obvious, she believes in freedom and you do not.

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  36. BigRu says:

    personna – That’s what I was saying above. Were the redcoats out to get our guns? Was Revere a founding member of the NRA? I’m asking honestly … does that part of her comment have a historical basis?

    Yes, the British were tasked to capture Hancock and Adams and arrest them in Lexington, then proceed to Concord and capture the armory.

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  37. ponce says:

    I didn’t think “warn the British” was the interesting bit at all.

    I thought the interesting thing was Palin’s claim Revere communicated with the British by ringing bells.

    I thought she was talking about some early form of sign language or something.

    Which reminded me of one of my favorite Monty Python skits (starts about 1:33)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqiUGjghlzU

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  38. Wiley Stoner says:

    All Palin said is Revere warned the British the colonists were aware of their actions and would resist, which, if Revere himself is to be believed, is what he told them. Doug may wander of the reservation all damn day, but I posted a direct quote from Revere on Friday concerning this matter. I have always maintained you just cannot fix stupid. There are so many here anxious to prove me right.

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  39. Chad S says:

    lmao@the tap dancing done by the palinites in this post. Even to the point where Wayne is trying to hold Palin’s views over Paul Revere’s account rotflmao.

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  40. Wiley Stoner says:

    Ponce, I know this is hard to believe but they did not have cell phones in Reveres time. Bells were used to communicate as they could be heard for miles. Historians not trained in the hate America tradition the left so adheres to believe the Brits were cautioned by the bells they heard tolling and the volleys of gunfire coming from the direction of Concord.

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  41. Wiley Stoner says:

    Thanks Chad, you assist in proving my point. Next!

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  42. BigRu says:

    I thought the interesting thing was Palin’s claim Revere communicated with the British by ringing bells.

    I re-read the quoted part and nowhere does she claim he communicated with the British via bells.

    However, since every town utilized the church bells in their town to warn citizens of of danger or emergencies, it isn’t hard to imagine once word reached the far reaching towns that they would alert the others in that manner….

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  43. legion says:

    Wiley,
    You are, like many others attempting to defend Palin’s insistence on her perfection, both a liar and a moron. Revere was questioned by British troops – before he actually began his ride – and when he told them the colonists were ready for them, he was feeding them misinformation – telling them the colonial troops were massed and waiting in one area, when they were actually still assembling in, IIRC, Concord.

    She made a mistake. That’s not a federal case. But insisting actual historical accounts (including Revere’s own) are wrong and that she knows history better than people who literally make a living studying this stuff is pathetic – as are you.

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  44. ponce says:

    I re-read the quoted part and nowhere does she claim he communicated with the British via bells.

    BigRu,

    You must have skipped the part where Palin said:

    who warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, by ringin’ those bells

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  45. Bleev K says:

    Doug, maybe if you read history rather than poetry, you would know Palin was accurate in her telling of what Revere was up to. Since neither you nor she were actually there, it is hard to tell who is right. However she is not trying to prove you wrong. Does not have to, you do a bang up job yourself. I just cannot wait to read what you and your little bitty buddies have to write abouit the day she is sworn in as President of the United States. Some think that will be on January 20, 2013. You know Doug, a major difference between Palin and you is, beside the obvious, she believes in freedom and you do not.

    Pathetic defense of Sarah Palin indeed.

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  46. Chad S says:

    Wiley, a liberal blog/activist couldn’t make up a comment poster better for their agenda that who you are.

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  47. hey norm says:

    “…I just cannot wait to read what you and your little bitty buddies have to write abouit the day she is sworn in as President of the United States…” FOR 1/2 A TERM.

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  48. Rock says:
  49. Jay Tea says:

    The Boston Herald and Malcom articles have been picked up by National Review, Hot Air, Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion, and others as proo that Palin was right, as she claimed on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and as another opportunity to bash the s0-called “Lamestream Media.”

    As said before, Doug, you really need to proo-read pieces that pick on others for carelessness. Mixed signals, don’t ya know.

    J.

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  50. john personna says:

    BigRu, you understand that an armory is a military target, right?

    Honestly, the embarrassment here is the way people contort history to make that a gun control issue.

    I am actually pro-gun-ownership. I’m not trying to twist history into the reverse. I know that we came out of all our wars with a strong tradition of personal gun ownership. I think we are secure in that. We don’t need to get paranoid, nor rewrite history, to keep us safe.

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  51. Franklin says:

    Okay, after reading enough information, I will now judge Palin’s quote. All heed my superior opinion! (heh heh)

    It is a bit garbled (probably mostly due to its off-the-cuff nature, so easily forgiven), but possibly correct depending on how it is interpreted and compared against the various accounts. I say this because:

    1) Revere did indeed seem to ‘warn’ the Brits, even though by misinformation by possibly exaggerating the size of the militia and its location.
    2) Yes, there seems to be evidence that the Brits wanted to disarm the colonists, and in fact it would have been logical for them to do so.
    3) At least two accounts (neither of them being from Revere himself, but actual accounts nonetheless) mention a gunshot or gunshots.
    4) Bells could and would have been used as warnings, and it’s conceivable that he advocated using them at some point, even though the ride itself was supposed to be surreptitious.

    Now while she could have admitted the quote was clumsy, many people would have jumped on that as proof that it was definitively wrong, so I understand why she didn’t.

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  52. BigRu says:

    ponce says:
    BigRu,

    You must have skipped the part where Palin said:

    who warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, by ringin’ those bells

    That’s a strawman if ever I did see…

    She included “and riding his horse” in that statement, are you going to further conclude the gallup of his horse was sending Lt. Col. Smith some of super-secret, colonial morse code too?

    See I can do it too.

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  53. BigRu says:

    john personna says:
    Monday, June 6, 2011 at 16:55

    BigRu, you understand that an armory is a military target, right?

    of course, I was simply answering his question.

    Franklin- Were the redcoats out to get our guns? does that part of her comment have a historical basis?

    that was what Col Smith was ordered to do, go to Concord and confiscate guns (after arresting Hanock and Adams in Lexington)… simple answer, no political arguments involved.

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  54. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Let’s have Doug give this account of his orally, without notes and in front of a crowd. Then have it transcribed with ever “um” and “uh” intact. By the time he backtracks for the fifth time and names every colonist with a name beginning in “H” trying to hit on the right one, I’m certain people would be referring to him as that “special” attorney.”

    Poor Doug, he got punked and now he’s flaliling about like all the other Libs to convince themselves that she didn’t say what she said – I love it. Too bad Doug: She punked you Libs. She likely sucked you all in – like the “1773” episode – knowing that what she was saying did not that comport with the Longfellow 1863 version – Knowing full well that the “Revere warned the British” version was not widely known and would drive deranged Liberals to push the “Palin is an idiot” meme.

    You were school; Take your ball and go home to regroup for another day. It’s painful watching you and the other left wing hacks twist yourself into knots trying to understand her off the cuff answer to probably a gotcha question in the middle of a mob scene. There is a version that is consistent with what she said, and you can flail about all you want in disgust. I think you should move on and get an early start on your next anti-Palin hit piece.

    Btw: I was laughing so hard after you Libs were duped by “stupid” Sarah that I almost cracked a rib.

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  55. ponce says:

    See I can do it too.

    What, make Palin look silly?

    Not that hard to do.

    You can’t deny Palin said Revere warned the British by ringing bells.

    If you Palin cult members can come up with a tortured way to twist that statement so she doesn’t sound like an idiot…I shall doff my hat to thee, sir!

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  56. @JP:

    I didn’t think “warn the British” was the interesting bit at all. I thought it was “they’re here to take our guns.”

    Indeed–this was my original point as well. Further, the phrase “take our guns” has a clear contemporary meaning of personal firearms, not weapons in an armory.

    I stand by the point of my original post of this subject (as well as the Statue of Liberty) that the real story here is the attempt to claim American legends to validate contemporary talking points (like the fear in some quarters that They are going to take out guns away)–a move that has been a hallmark of the Tea Party movement, in fact.

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  57. Smooth Jazz says:

    “It appears that Doug, a lawyer trained in the art of dealing with minutia and details, having had three days to study every aspect of Paul Revere’s ride with the assistance of the entire blogosphere and an army of Palin haters, couldn’t even put together a few paragraphs without multiple glaring errors. Between Palin’s off-the-cuff (accurate) remarks and Doug’s intensely researched and totally screwed up account, I would have to stay with Palin as the far more intelligent and articulate person.”

    Great point, Jwest; Doug and his left wing colleagues got punked by Gov Palin “the Dunce”. Just look at the contortions they are going through to massage her few words, which were correct on the surface. Now they’re going through self-immolation to twist her words and convince themselves this idiot couldn’t possibly know a version of this they didn’t know until a few days ago. Pass the popcorn; I am enjoying this.

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  58. Terrye says:

    I think Palin has been badly treated by the media..and because of that every time they say something negative about her, her supporters just assume it is another hatchet job.

    I think she might have known something about the events of that night, but she so garbled the answer she gave that is hard to know exactly what she is talking about. That is what a lot of the confusion is. She actually seems tired and distracted to me.

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  59. Terrye says:

    ponce:

    I don’t think Palin said Revere warned the British by ringing bills..I think she just said it wrong..syntax was off…whatever. It was garbled..but I think she conflated two incidents in one sentence and it came out wrong.

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  60. The Q says:

    To jwest, smooth jazz and all the other deranged palin suck ups out there.

    “Palin today declared that if the Germans wouldn’t have attacked Pearl harbor, we wouldn’t have gone to war with them”…

    Apologists came out and said Sarah was technically correct….in fact, the Germans and the Japanese were allies so if the Japanese attacked pearl harbor, it would be construed that her allies, by definition were also attacking the U.S. so to all the smarty pants liberals out there. Sarah just “gotcha” through her insidious clever way of saying something ridiculous, then having the lamestream media decry her stupidity, when in fact, its the dumb liberals who just got schooled by Palin yet again since we all know that the Germans, with their proxies the japanese, attacked pearl harbor.”

    You pathetic loons should remember that Palin’s reason for her bus tour is “I’m publicizing Americana and our foundation and how important it is that we learn about our past and our challenges and victories throughout American history, so that we can successfully proceed forward.”

    She clearly has failed the test of her own stated objective.

    I can just imagine your reaction if some stupid mexican taking his citizenship test and the question was:

    Paul revere’s famous midnight ride was to:

    A.) warn the colonists of an imminent British invasion and alert Sam Adams and John Hancock they were in danger

    B.) Warn the British that they weren’t gonna take our guns and freedom.

    If the wetback says B, I am sure you morons would fail him on the spot.

    Well, you are all dumb wetbacks in your gainsaying of Palin’s stupidity.

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  61. The Q says:

    Just when I thought smooth jazz couldn’t be any more of a fool, he comes up with this line:

    Palin’s “few words, which were correct on the surface.”

    the surface of what? Pluto?

    Its painful to watch all the rectums being stretched by all the rightwing loons who clearly have decided to stick their collective heads up this orifice.

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  62. TG Chicago says:

    @Terrye:

    I don’t think Palin said Revere warned the British by ringing bills..

    No, she did. But I agree with your greater point that that’s not what she meant to say:

    I think she just said it wrong..syntax was off…whatever. It was garbled..but I think she conflated two incidents in one sentence and it came out wrong.

    Absolutely correct. It’s nice to see a Palin-defender admit the simple truth: that she garbled the sentence. It’s not a big deal, and the fact that she blew this one thing doesn’t make her stupid.

    Palinites: Just follow Terrye’s example and admit the basic, obvious truth.

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  63. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Can you imagine if Palin were to be elected president? Postulate for a moment the various ways in which that would affect Internet leftists’ (already shaky) mental health.

    I mean, seriously, Internet leftists under a Palin presidency would need teams of psychiatrists and large doses of Xanax and Zoloft merely to get through the day.

    I wouldn’t be a pretty picture.

    In any event, I’m out of the loop on this whole kerfuffle. I’m not well versed in the hyper details of American history. I have neither the time nor the inclination to research this item in greater detail.

    I am, however, a political junkie. What’s astonishing to me is the extent to which Internet leftists almost instinctively have to project their various ills on Palin. And I say that as someone who categorically does not support Palin.

    She (perhaps) misspeaks about the fine details of Paul Revere’s ride. OK. Whatever. Yet that takes up gigabytes on the Internet over the course of several days. She says something religiously provocative at a campaign rally. Alright. Stuff happens. But that causes eye twitches and foaming at the mouth among our dear friends on the left. She appeals to gun owners or to those who oppose gay marriage. No big deal. Not out of line. She is after all a Republican politician. Yet that causes Internet liberals to blow their gaskets. So on, so forth.

    Conclusion: Palin Derangement Syndrome runs deep. Deeper even than Bush Derangement Syndrome.

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  64. BigRu says:

    ponce says:
    Monday, June 6, 2011 at 17:16

    See I can do it too.

    What, make Palin look silly?

    Not that hard to do.

    You can’t deny Palin said Revere warned the British by ringing bells.

    I admitted the quote was incomprehensible, however, your reading into it that which isn’t there makes you look like an even bigger fool than her; you don’t seem capable of understanding the difference between literal and figurative speaking – regardless of how inarticulate the quote is.

    By using the literal meaning of “warning” you are implying Palin meant Paul Revere “alerted” the British to the actions of the colonists.

    Do you also take the act of dumping tea into Boston Harbor as a “literal” message to King George that we don’t like tea? Or, figuratively speaking, a “warning” that we wouldn’t put up with his tax policies anymore.

    Paul Revere’s act of rousing the militia (by causing the town criers to ring warning bells in the towns he passed), conveyed a message (a warning) to the garrisoned British that we were ready to stand up to them and a fight was brewing; and if they moved on Concord there would be war.

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  65. An Interested Party says:

    I’d also point out that the “gotcha” question she was asked was: What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?”

    Well hell, the Couric newspaper question was also a “gotcha” moment? It certainly got Palin…

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  66. An Interested Party says:

    Conclusion: Palin Derangement Syndrome runs deep. Deeper even than Bush Derangement Syndrome.

    But not as deep as Obama Derangement Syndrome, as the comments around here prove on a daily basis…

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  67. ponce says:

    I admitted the quote was incomprehensible, however, your reading into it that which isn’t there makes you look like an even bigger fool than he

    No it doesn’t BigRu.

    I pointed out a mistake that Palin should have admitted.

    The fact that she is unable to admit mistakes shows how unfit she is to be president.

    But, like every Obama supporter, I sure hope she wins the Republican nomination.

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  68. BigRu says:

    I found what I was looking for, for all you claiming there was no bell ringing:

    The ride of Revere, Dawes, and Prescott triggered a flexible system of “alarm and muster” that had been carefully developed months before, in reaction to the colonists’ impotent response to the Powder Alarm. This system was an improved version of an old network of widespread notification and fast deployment of local militia forces in times of emergency. The colonists had periodically used this system all the way back to the early years of Indian wars in the colony, before it fell into disuse in the French and Indian War. In addition to other express riders delivering messages, bells, drums, alarm guns, bonfires and a trumpet were used for rapid communication from town to town, notifying the rebels in dozens of eastern Massachusetts villages that they should muster their militias because the regulars in numbers greater than 500 were leaving Boston, with possible hostile intentions. This system was so effective that people in towns 25 miles (40 km) from Boston were aware of the army’s movements while they were still unloading boats in Cambridge. These early warnings played a crucial role in assembling a sufficient number of colonial militia to inflict heavy damage on the British regulars later in the day. Adams and Hancock were eventually moved to safety, first to what is now Burlington and later to Billerica.

    – Fischer, David Hackett (1994). Paul Revere’s Ride. Oxford University Press

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  69. BigRu says:

    Maybe not a fool Ponce, but certainly intellectually lazy, or dishonest…or both.

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  70. TG Chicago says:

    @Tsar:

    She (perhaps) misspeaks about the fine details of Paul Revere’s ride. OK. Whatever. Yet that takes up gigabytes on the Internet over the course of several days.

    Right. But the reason it got blown out of proportion is that Palin and her defenders refused to simply admit that she misspoke. They claimed that she was correct. They went to edit Wikipedia to make it look like she was correct. They interpreted different parts of her word salad in isolation to make it seem accurate. None of this changed the fact that she misspoke.

    You remember how much press the “57 states” thing got? Not much. You want to know how much it would have gotten if Obama went on TV the next day and insisted that there were, in fact, 57 states? I suspect much more.

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  71. TG Chicago says:

    @BigRu

    I found what I was looking for, for all you claiming there was no bell ringing

    Did people claim that there was no bell ringing done by anybody in eastern Massachusetts that night? If so, you have proven them wrong.

    However, did the passage you quoted indicate that Revere warned the British by ringing a bell? No, it did not. So Palin is wrong.

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  72. BigRu says:

    From the article TG

    The Colonials were not down by the river waiting to trap the British, they were marching toward Lexington and Concord, and a battle that would start a revolution. There was no reference to guns, there were no ringing bells, there was no shouting.

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  73. BigRu says:

    and I responded to your second point (albeit to Ponce) in my comment at 18:3

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  74. anjin-san says:

    If I had never heard of Palin and I saw that video of her, my first thought would be “what is she on”?

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  75. TG Chicago says:

    @BigRu:

    Paul Revere’s act of rousing the militia (by causing the town criers to ring warning bells in the towns he passed), conveyed a message (a warning) to the garrisoned British that we were ready to stand up to them and a fight was brewing; and if they moved on Concord there would be war.

    I thought the cover story was that after Revere got captured, he warned the British. But now we’re going with Revere warned the British by ringing bells… because he warned the townspeople who rang bells to alert other townspeople but the British happened to hear them and thus were warned?

    If you actually believe that that loopy train of thought was what was going through her head when she made the comment, then it certainly explains why her syntax was so garbled. Can you explain why she would detail this rather bizarre Rube Goldbergian sequence of events rather than the more relevant things that Revere did?

    And even if you can, it still is incorrect unless you can show that Revere actually signaled to town criers that they should ring bells to warn the British not to take their guns.

    Just admit she misspoke. It’s not a big deal! People misspeak every day.

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  76. ponce says:

    Maybe not a fool Ponce, but certainly intellectually lazy, or dishonest…or both.

    Because I quoted Palin verbatim, BigRu?

    Really?

    Now, are you honest enough to admit part of Palin’s statement on Revere was wrong?

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  77. PJ says:

    I can’t wait for Palin to misspeak about George Washington and ending up claiming that he was a marxist communist or something….

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  78. BigRu says:

    Just admit she misspoke. It’s not a big deal! People misspeak every day.

    I did explain that she misspoke, and her response was incoherent…but not factually incorrect.

    Revere was part of the “muster and alarm” program I detailed; it was his, Dawes and Prescott’s job to warn the other towns to spread the word along the route to Lexington…In fact, they began the warnings in Medford. Do you think they personally knocked on every door along the way to warn the citizens? They informed the militia leaders in each area who rounded up their men by – raising the alarm.

    You don’t think the garrisoned Brits that were already stationed in the area were not made aware of the commotion? There were hundreds of soldiers in these towns besides the 700 on the march from Boston. There were quick reaction forces in almost every town, in fact The Quartering Acts of 1774 were a huge point of contention in the colonies – especially the ones dealing with the Province of Massachusetts Bay. There were patrols all over the place – how do you think they got captured in Concord?

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  79. Dan Rather says:

    In the comparison between

    1. Sarah Palin flubbing the phrasing of some facts in a 30-second extemporaneous soundbite on the road, and

    2. Doug Mataconis writing an essay that is riddled with typos and botched factual claims despite his having days to research the specific topic and the ability to proo-read his work at leisure before posting it for public consumption

    it sure ain’t Sarah Palin that comes across as the uneducated, illiterate buffoon.

    Keep Rockin’, Doug.

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  80. CB says:

    one is purported to be a major leader, both philosophically and organizationally, of one of the two parties in the american political system. one is a blogger.

    figure it out.

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  81. matt says:

    Dan Rather : While your chosen posting name clearly indicates a right wing leaning troll I’ll bite. The difference is Doug admitted his mistake corrected the record and moved on. Meanwhile Palin doubles down and her fan base freaks out going so far as to edit wikipedia and such to make her right..

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  82. Angela Roy says:

    The historical text (grammar, spelling and all) of Paul Revere:

    “I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my horse, after searching me for arms. He then ordered them to advance and to lead me in front. When we got to the road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we had all got about one mile, the major rode up to the officer who was leading me and told him to give me to the sergeant. As soon as he took me, the major ordered him, if I attempted to run, or anybody insulted them, to blow my brains out.” (History.net) [...]

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  83. Gulliver says:

    “I’ve already fixed that typo”

    No, that’s called a mistake, not a typo. They are two different men and you simply called out the wrong one. Everyone makes mistakes. But perhaps you just mangled the facts a little. No harm done, right? Right?

    Glass houses, stones, and pride.

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  84. anjin-san says:

    Confused by the duplicitous actions of the “gotcha media”, Palin neglected to mention that Revere was the author of “One less bell to answer”, which was later to become a hit for The Fifth Dimension.

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  85. Pug says:

    I can’t wait for Palin to misspeak about George Washington …

    Well…she already did kinda do that. Her quote from the Mount Vernon stop on her tour:

    Even Piper was able to grasp the significance of being in the presence of our first President – who had such diverse interests – when she told me later “how hard he must have worked to keep that farm going!”

    George probably did work pretty hard, but if you think about it he did have some help on the farm from those . . . you know . . . slaves. Maybe they should have gotten a shout out or something.

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  86. Wayne says:

    Right Pug. Once again she was correct on what she said about Washington but because she is Palin she misspoke. The twist and turns liberals will go through to attack her.

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  87. BigRu says:

    Terrye says:
    Monday, June 6, 2011 at 17:33
    ponce:
    I don’t think Palin said Revere warned the British by ringing bills..I think she just said it wrong..syntax was off…whatever. It was garbled..but I think she conflated two incidents in one sentence and it came out wrong.

    That’s what I was trying to explain, I admit she did a very poor job of wording her answer (and I didn’t do a very good job in mine) but the true controversy lies in the fact that partisan hacks like Mataconis, et al. are attempting to capitalize on the dual meaning of the word “warning” which can either mean to signal or advice to beware.

    “Revere’s mission on that fateful night wasn’t to alert the Minutemen, or to warn the British as Palin put it, “

    “The idea that he was “warning the British” is absurd and silly. “– Mataconis

    It truly is silly, since in the same sentence she clearly references the dire consequences that would befall them if they tried to seize our weapons; no such inference could be made by a thinking person that she even remotely meant he signaled/alerted the British.

    He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms {period}

    That sure sounds like advice to desist to me…Furthermore, had the author that transcribed the original quote put a period where the first “uh” was and started a new sentence, the structure would have taken on a new meaning… edits mine for emphasis and clarity.

    by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town {telling people} to send those warning shots and {ring those} bells {he was sending a message to the British} that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

    But no, partisan hacks like Mataconis spend untold hours (poorly) writing hit pieces like this one, which is itself littered with factual inaccuracies, false pretenses and spelling errors; all in an effort to smear a political opponent through dishonest manipulation of semantics.

    One would have thought they would have learned by now, especially after the 1773 non-controversy.

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