Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jefferson’

You know those emails your conservative uncle sends to you and everyone else he knows? The ones that sound like they might be true, but aren’t? Yeah, we all get them. Funny, I never get those emails from my liberal friends and relatives, even the ones I know well who worked on past presidential campaigns. But I digress…

It’s always delightful to see actual Republican presidential candidates demonstrate that they are no wiser–nor thoughtful, nor capable of discerning fact from fiction–than your crazy uncle, uttering bogus quotes about the Founding Fathers that they probably read in an email (and therefore assumed that it must be true). Steven Benen noted a few examples in this post.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) routinely incorporates quotes from the Founding Fathers into his campaign speeches, and BuzzFeed highlighted a good example of this the other day.

Speaking in Greenville, South Carolina last week, Rand Paul said, “Patrick Henry said this, Patrick Henry said the Constitution is about ‘restraining the government not the people.’”

Paul was summarizing this quote, often attributed to Henry: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”

The problem, of course, is that both versions of the quote are fake. There’s no record of Patrick Henry ever having said or written such a thing. Someone made it up, it made the rounds, and Rand Paul appears to have repeated it.

This comes on the heels of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) telling supporters that “Thomas Jefferson said it best” when the Founding Father said, “That government is best which governs least.”

In reality, Thomas Jefferson never said or wrote this. As with Paul, someone made up a quote, conservatives ran with it, and Walker ended up falling for it. (In an amusing coincidence, Rand Paul has repeated this bogus quote, too.)

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