POSTED BY ORHAN
Andrew Sullivan on where Sarah Palin got her Paul-Revere-rode-in-a-ringin-them-bells-to-warn-the-British riff:
The vicar who gave the Palins a guided tour of Old North Church explains how she got muddled up:
I gave them our standard talk about Paul Revere and the two men who hung the lanterns in the steeple, Robert Newman and John Pulling.
I added a bit about the debate between John Hancock and Sam Adams after they received the warning from Revere (Hancock: “Staying and fighting will look good on my resume when I run for president.” Adams: “You are too rich to fight. Let’s get out of here.” Adams ultimately won that debate.) I did mention that Revere was arrested by British troops and led back to Lexington, warning those British troops that the minutemen had been alerted.
After the introductory talk, we climbed up to the bell ringing chamber, where I talked about how Paul Revere how founded our bell ringing guild in 1750 as a teenager. Governor Palin was particularly interested to see a copy of the original bell ringing contract between Paul Revere and his friends and the rector of Old North, Dr. Cutler. The contract portrays a group of teenagers using democratic principles to organize their bell ringing guild. We did not have the time to get to the top of the steeple to see the lanterns.
He thinks the whole kerfuffle was ridiculously inflated. But he does note:
I knew where all the factoids she cited came from and take responsibility for putting them in her head. I will not take the blame for the odd order those factoids came out. Perhaps it was too much information in too short a period of time to digest properly. Maybe if we climbed to the top of the steeple and viewed the lanterns, the governor wouldn’t have focused on the bells. Who knows?
Who knows indeed? But would anyone want a president who could misread a briefing that badly so quickly?