No Mistake: Why Michele Bachmann Is Trying to Rewrite History

Spencer Critchley – Media consultant, Founder of Boots Road Group LLC ( Posted: 07/ 3/11 08:24 PM ET

The media have had a good time lately with Michele Bachmann’s double-down gaffe about how the Founding Fathers, including an eight-year-old John Quincy Adams, “worked tirelessly” to end slavery, despite writing it into the Constitution and owning slaves themselves.

Most reporters and pundits seem to assume this is another Palin-class face plant, along the lines of celebrating Paul Revere for warning the British and protecting gun rights. Bachmann is certainly capable of such bloopers, as in her announcement that the American Revolution started in New Hampshire.

But with the Founding Fathers and slavery story, there is a big difference. While Sarah Palin’s eye-darting improvs fairly scream “I didn’t do my homework,” in all likelihood Bachmann did do her homework on this one. It’s just that she’s reading from a different text than most of us.

Bachmann, like many on the right, is a follower of the self-taught historian David Barton, a leader in a rapidly spreading movement of Christian historical revisionism. Other fans include Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Barton is, among other things, an evangelical minister, author, former Texas Republican Party vice-cha