In '05 and '08, Todd Akin Entered American History Lies in the Congressional Record: The Congressional History Lie Project
Fascinated, I tried to talk Chris into the project of revisiting and verifying the research, enlisting backing from well-known historians, and releasing it with a great flourish, perhaps to launch a new nonprofit that would fight falsified American history.
Rodda thought it was a great idea, except that she was caught up in other projects. Well, I asked, couldn't the work be farmed out, parceled out to volunteers? No, she replied, that would be impossible because ferreting out all the lies required an intimate knowledge of the various classes of history lies in use, and their myriad permutations, that she alone possessed.
And so the years went by, but the idea stuck in my mind and this Fall, I started to poke around in the Congressional Record myself. I'm a novice to the world of falsified American history, it's true, but what I've found certainly corroborates Chris' Rodda's preliminary survey. So I've decided to cover my findings, sporadically - as time allows - in a running series.
So far, I have yet to find an instance, in the Congressional Record, of a Democrat in Congress or the Senate uttering any of the classic history lies coined by David Barton or any of his colleagues in the American history falsification business; all have come from Republicans. But that doesn't leave Democrats completely off the hook:
One of the most outrageous exercises in the Congressional promotion of American history lies came in December 2007, with the introduction, by Republican Representative Steve Forbes, of House Resolution 888 - a compendium of many of the most classic of David Barton's history lies. Five Congressional Democrats would eventually sign on as H. Res. 888 cosponsors, and they were joined by a whopping 88 Republicans who, by late 2008, had signed on as fellow cosponsors of Forbes' resolution.
House Resolution 888
In a multi-part series at the website I co-founded in 2005 with journalist Frederick Clarkson, Chris Rodda covered the numerous history lies packed into H. Res. 888, in a running series that commenced with the post, Think the "Christmas Resolution" was Bad? Check Out H. Res. 888 in which Rodda wrote,
"On December 18, 2007, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) introduced H. Res. 888, a resolution "Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as 'American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith." This resolution, which purports to promote "education on America's history of religious faith," is packed with the same American history lies found on the Christian nationalist websites, and in the books of pseudo-historians like David Barton."
Here's a list of many of the "888" posts in the series.
One of the more interesting ones in the "888" series, at least from an immediate political perspective, was 35% of House Republicans Support Christian Nationalist History Revisionism, a post that referenced the fact that over 1/3 of House Republicans had signed on as cosponsors of Randy Forbes' H. Res. 888.
But since then, a number of prominent conservative evangelical scholars have strongly denounced David Barton's pseudo-history. How many Republicans in Congress and the Senate, I wonder, would - if asked by media - defend their past endorsement of Barton-style American history lies? As Chris Rodda and I have often discussed, there are two horns to the dilemma - someone promoting such history lies is revealed to be either 1) also a liar or, 2) a history ignoramus: and, neither title is nice to wear during an election year.