Although best-selling author David Barton is held in high esteem by Republican pols like idiot queen Michele Bachmann (to whom he’s a “national treasure”) and Chick-fil-A booster Mike Huckabee (who calls him “the single best historian in America today”) as well as by conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck (who went even further out on a limb than Huckabee, calling Barton “the most important man in America”!) anyone with half a brain who has followed the career of David Barton knows that he is little more than a shameless rightwing Christian fabulist, making things up out of thin air and then claiming that they actually happened. Some people, who don’t know any better, i.e., his readers, actually believe him.
David Barton, you see, is the historian of the Tea party. There is practically nothing his audience of goofy ignoramuses won’t swallow hook line and sinker from him, even though it’s easily demonstrable bullshit. If you know your ass from your elbow, you would be highly suspicious that there was very little of scholarly value in Barton’s “research.” (Barton says of his critics: “I don’t know if it’s jealousy or liberalism.”)
Some of Barton’s greatest shits include claims that Jesus Christ would have been opposed to the minimum wage and socialized medicine, that the Constitution quotes the Bible “verbatim” and that Thomas Jefferson sent missionaries to convert the Indians to Christianity!
What percentage of Americans, do you think, would know the truth of the matter anyway? A depressing thought, of course, for most of us. For David Barton, however, these knuckleheads are his bread and butter!
Barton specializes in pulling “facts” out of his ass to bedazzle the folks who show up for his WallBuilders sermon/lectures around the country with amazing things they never knew about American history. Amazing things that never actually happened! But. again, what do they know? When David Barton is introduced to them as a best-selling author—and indeed he IS one—he would have certain presumed bona fides to an audience that is almost always comprised exclusively of white, evangelical Christians who vote Republican. Even when what Barton has to say is complete nonsense, his audience, taking their cues from the solemn heads nodding in agreement all around them, have no way of knowing that what he is telling them is bunk and so Barton’s “assertions” becomes history to them.
It’s pathetic. No wonder Glenn Beck holds Barton in such high regard. They’ve got similar shticks.
As with Beck, Barton’s entire career of telling historical lies, is predicated on the necessary ingredient of an audience of Billy-Bobs Bojangles who “don’t know much about history” (as in next to NOTHING) who just want to hear their “ideas” about stuff confirmed in a room full of people who look and think just like they do. Barton’s talent is telling an audience of not very bright people (I’m not being unkind here) who are predisposed to want to hear something that sounds like something they already believe (like the Founding Fathers were religious) so as to confirm that not only are God and Jesus on THEIR side, the Tea party, Christian team side, but George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams as well.
The Jefferson Lies was recently voted the “Least Credible History Book in Print” by the readers of the History News Network. There’s no surprise why “fact improviser” Michele Bachmann likes it so much, is there? Sen. Marco Rubio and Newt Gingrich are also fans.
However, it’s been a very bad couple of days to be David Barton. First there was the hilariously brutal—yet strangely polite—takedown of Barton yesterday on NPR’s “All Things Considered” program.
Several Cincinnati-area African-American pastors announced that they were boycotting the Thomas Nelson company—the world’s largest Christian publisher—for publishing David Barton’s Jefferson book, claiming he “whitewashes” Jefferson, a well-known slave owner.
Jay W. Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and author with James Robison of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, spoke alongside Barton at Christian conferences as recently as last month. Richards says in recent months he has grown increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings, so he asked 10 conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work.
Their response was negative…
And then the unthinkable happened: Thomas Nelson dropped The Jefferson Lies, as World reported today in a follow-up:
The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.)
Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”
Ouch, ouch and double ouch.
David Barton will be a special delegate from Texas to the Republican National Convention. Of course!