Monday, February 15, 2010

Brady's History Isn't So Bad

Democrats are chuckling over the Tribune's gotcha of state Sen. Bill Brady's apparent lack of historical knowledge when defending the experience of his running mate, Jason Plummer.

“How old was Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Constitution?” Mr. Brady asked. “Age isn’t the only barometer of qualification.”

In fact, Mr. Jefferson was 33 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. The constitution was written more than a decade later.


Pundits and Statehouse watchers like Rich Miller pounced on the mistake. Except there's only one problem, Brady wasn't wrong. He never said the U.S. Constitution, at least according to the quote in the paper.

Thomas Jefferson did write a constitution in 1776 as well as the Declaration of Independence. In fact he used his draft of a new constitution for his home state, the soon-to-be independent commonwealth of Virginia, to help write the Declaration.

The reporters should have known better because Brady couldn't have meant the U.S. Constitution because the same man who knew Jefferson's age in 1776, obviously would remember that in 1787 Jefferson was our ambassador to France. Living in Paris meant he couldn't participate in the Constitutional Convention that year in Philadelphia.

You can debate whether Plummer is another Jefferson, but be careful if you're going to debate Brady on American history.

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