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Renovating Rushmore.

November 9, 2011, 12:38 pm

Herman Cain, among his many insane ramblings over the past few days, apparently suggested that his face should be on Mt. Rushmore. Well, fair enough. (Though, having visited the monument last summer, I have to admit that I found it more affecting than I expected. I mean, it’s very big. And by the way, Lincoln but no FDR, amiright? No, seriously, there was something about the scale of the president’s faces, the setting in which they’re carved, and the history of dispossession surrounding the place that left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by the power of the state to shape the landscape of American memory.)

Anyway, Michelle Bachmann picked up the ball and ran with it. To her credit, she didn’t suggest that she should join Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt (Teddy — aka, “The Real Man’s Roosevelt”), and Lincoln. Her pick? James Garfield. Wait, what? Garfield? My colleague, Kathy Olmsted, replied to this news by asking, “Is that the only president she could think of?” Yes, apparently so. And while I don’t think this disqualifies Ms. Bachmann from the presidency, it should disqualify her from tenure in one of the better history departments near you. Which is to say, don’t worry, Newt! You’re still the only serious scholar in the Republican field!

UPDATE: post updated with more Ericness.

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