2018年4月18日 星期三

RCP Morning Note, 04/18/2018: Democrats and Comey; Fundraising Totals; Pulitzer Highs & Lows; Revere's Ride


Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Democrats and Comey; Fundraising Totals; Pulitzer Highs & Lows; Revere's Ride

By Carl M. Cannon on Apr 18, 2018 08:38 am

Good morning, it's Wednesday, April 18, 2018, a date in U.S. history that reminds us that governing authorities' impulse to confiscate firearms -- and a grassroots resistance to such measures -- are not new tensions on these shores. As I've written in this space previously, it was an argument that helped create our nation.

In Colonial times, many American patriots equated having access to guns with self-determination, a fact of life underscored on the night of April 18, 1775, when British Gen. Thomas Gage ordered two companies of redcoats to seize the cache of rifles, artillery, and ammunition stored by the Massachusetts militia in Concord.

Gage's actions galvanized the "midnight ride of Paul Revere." The Boston silversmith and dedicated rebel warned his comrades that the British were on the march. Roused, Revere's fellow patriots chased the British back to Boston, surrounding them at Bunker Hill. The Revolutionary War had begun, and it can be argued that the proximate cause of the shooting was government's efforts at gun control.

I'll have more on Paul Revere's ride -- and on the mounted exploits of other riders that night -- in a moment. First, I'd point you to RealClearPolitics' front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

Democrats' Comey Dilemma. Caitlin Huey-Burns explores the complicated responses to the former FBI director's scathing attacks on President Trump, given Comey's likely role in getting him elected.

Dem Challengers Outraise GOP Incumbents in Key Races. James Arkin reports on first-quarter fundraising totals.

Trump, Manufacturers Team Up for Cleaner Environment. Jay Timmons praises the administration for changes on the environmental regulatory front.

Verbatim: Weinstein Pulitzer Praise and … Kendrick Lamar Lyrics. RealClearInvestigations editor Tom Kuntz contrasts laudatory quotes about sexual-misconduct reporting with lyrics from Lamar's prize-winning album, "Damn."

How Shinzo Abe Can Help Trump Understand Kim. Ronald Tiersky explains in RealClearWorld.

The Implications of Persistent Chemical Weapons Use. In RealClearDefense, Natasha Lander warns that the attack in Syria earlier this month and other incidents suggest chemical weapons are becoming a tacitly accepted weapon of war.

What's Behind the Teacher Strikes? In RealClearPolicy, Frederick M. Hess and Amy Cummings examine the context and potential outcomes of the recent strikes across the nation.

Energy Transitions? Not So Fast. In RealClearEnergy, Quinn Connelly compares and contrasts two approaches to predicting our energy future.

6 Rules for Thinking Like a CIA Analyst to Beat Fake News. In RealClearLife, Lee Ferran reports on suggestions offered in an essay by a U.S. intelligence official.

Roadside Americana. Also in RCL, Rebecca Gibian spotlights the photographs of John Margolies, which capture classic gas stations, diners, motels, movie theaters and odd signage along the nation's byways.

* * *

In January of 1861, as a divided nation girded for war, The Atlantic Monthly published a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that reminded Americans of their common heritage, while also serving notice on the South that there had always been men in the North willing to take up arms for the cause of freedom.

The memorable poem, taught for a century afterward to schoolchildren across this country, begins with a rousing opening stanza:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

In a single poem, Longfellow elevated a man of limited regional fame into a Founding Father on a par with the great Massachusetts patriots of the day. But was it deserved? Did the bit about the lanterns -- "one if by land and two if by sea" -- really happen? Weren't there other riders? Didn't Revere get arrested by the British and miss the fighting the following day? Wasn't he just an obscure Boston artisan?

Well, the answer to those questions is yes, yes, yes, yes -- and no.

Let's start with this: On the night of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, a Boston patriotic organizer, dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that Gen. Gage's redcoats were on the march -- and would arrest them both if they were found.

Revere was rowed across the Charles River and met in Charlestown by fellow members of the "Sons of Liberty" committee who'd been signaled by two lanterns placed in the bell tower of Boston's Christ Church. From there, Revere borrowed a horse and began his ride, knocking on doors of fellow patriots he knew. Dozens of them took to horseback themselves to sound the alarm. Taking a slightly longer overland route, Dawes arrived half an hour later than Revere at the house where Adams and Hancock were hiding. A sentry there had tried to shush Revere, telling him to quit making so much noise.

"Noise!" he responded. "You'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!"

With that, Revere, Dawes, and a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott, lit out on their horses for Concord. They were captured by the British and briefly detained, but bluffed their way out. Meanwhile, the entire countryside was being roused.

Since so many men sounded the warning, not just one, why do we only know Revere? The short answer is that mesmerizing Longfellow poem. Dawes had his loyalists, however, and in 1896 a woman named Helen Moore published a poetic rebuttal to Longfellow, a shorter and humorous ditty, "The Midnight Ride of William Dawes," which included this verse:

'Tis all very well for the children to hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
But why should my name be quite forgot,
Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
Why should I ask? The reason is clear --
My name was Dawes and his Revere.

There was more to it than that, of course.

Far from being the innocent artisan of the history books, Paul Revere was at the center of the American Revolution in a way that few other men were. In his authoritative book recounting these events, historian David Hackett Fischer documents the deeds of the many other riders, but he also reveals that Revere was a charter member of five of the seven major underground patriotic organizations operating in Boston at the time.

Five. Not even Sam Adams or John Hancock -- or John Adams -- could say the same.

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

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