The Sarah Palin-Paul Revere incident, though overshadowed Monday by a certain tweeting member of Congress, is still making waves. In case readers forgot, at a deli stop on Palin’s walk through historic Boston sites over the weekend, Alaska’s former governor, obviously distracted, delivered her now-famous rambling rendition of Paul Revere’s midnight ride:
He who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, 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.
And—reminiscent of when Palin’s fellow Tea Party favorite, Rep. Michele Bachmann, made historical gaffes of her own earlier in the year—the media pounced. Palin fans came to her defense online by taking to the online collaborative encyclopedia site Wikipedia, which had to put a lockdown on its Revere page when users tried to revise it to match her version. [Check out political cartoons about Palin.]
Under criticism, Palin herself didn’t retreat; she reloaded. “You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere,” she said On Fox News Sunday. She continued:
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. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British. And in a shout-out gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.
U.S. News blogger Susan Milligan takes issue with Palin’s remarks for making Revere’s ride about gun control, when it was clearly about warning revolutionary Americans that the British were coming. “One could argue that Revere (who was then captured by the British) was also making it clear to the British that the armed colonizers weren’t going to give up. But to suggest that the point of the ride was a warning to the British—instead of a warning to Revere’s neighbors—is a stretch,” she writes. “And … Revere didn’t ring bells. The whole point of the mission was secrecy.” [See photos from Palin's bus tour.]
But Peter Roff, another U.S. News blogger, thinks Palin was right on. He paraphrases (and some would say, slightly revises) her remarks: “Palin recently said that Revere, as part of his famous ride, warned the British that they would have a fight on their hands if they tried to seize the caches of arms and ammunition that the colonists had hidden at places like Lexington and Concord,” Roff writes. “Revere’s own record of that fateful night includes statements that buttress Palin’s argument that he, Revere, did warn the British that they were, by marching on Lexington and Concord, asking for trouble.”
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