Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Texas’ Black Hole of Stoopid

Posted in Education, Media by Andy Hall on January 31, 2013

Corey flags this remarkable exchange between Glenn Beck and David Barton:


“[Passage of the 13th Amendment] was slam-dunk, big-time. I mean, it was an eighty percent vote going through Congress.”


What a mendacious jackass. The movie focuses on passage of the amendment in the House of Representatives, where (as in the Senate) passage requires a two-thirds majority. The measure had indeed passed the Senate handily, but that occurred before the time frame of the film, and was never really in doubt. The hurdle was getting it through the House and, as shown in the movie, it only barely passed there, on a vote of 119 to 56. Flip three “aye” votes to “nay,” out of a total of 175 cast, and the count becomes 116 to 59, and the amendment would have failed. When the outcome of a vote turns on less than 2% of the votes cast, it’s not a “slam dunk.”

Beck and Barton both claim to be Constitutional scholars, and are counting on their listeners to be unaware of (1) the central plot of the movie, (2) the actual number of votes cast in each chamber of Congress, and (3) the two-thirds requirement for passage of any constitutional amendment.

Texas is a big place, but even so it’s not big enough safely to contain black hole of rank dishonesty that forms when Glenn Beck and David Barton get together in the same room, talking about American history.

Lord help us. At least Glenn Beck’s Nazi Tourettes seems to have gone into remission, and we can all be thankful for that.



13 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. theravenspoke said, on January 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Obama got 40% of the Texas vote, so only 6 out of 10 voting Texans are stoopid!

  2. M.D. Blough said, on January 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Barton said he didn’t see Lincoln because “the profanity drove me off.” WHAT PROFANITY?!?! Yes, at times, the language got a bit earthy but, unless Barton only goes to PG rated films, there was nothing untoward. If either of them had done the most minimal research, they would have known, far from being a slam dunk, that the events in “Lincoln” regarding Congress passing the 13th Amendment and sending it to the states for ratification followed multiple failed attempts in Congress early in 1864 to pass an abolition amendment. They were, for the most part, able to get enough votes in the Senate but fell short in a prior House vote held before the 1864 Presidential election. There is a good web site from Harpers Weekly ( on the complex chronology of 13th Amendment including both the supporters and the bitter, frequently overtly racist opposition to it.

    • Andy Hall said, on January 31, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Maybe it was the Ethan Allen story. My colleague Michael Lynch discusses how this was a favorite anecdote of Lincoln’s, even though the truth of the actual event is in doubt. I think Mr. Bilbo drops an f-word in there, too.

      But honestly, you’re over-thinking this. Barton and his followers are entirely comfortable with proclaiming righteous ignorance of something, and then going off on a completely fact-free spiel about all the things wrong with the movie they never saw.

      Dana Carvey had a recurring character on SNL years back, called the Church Lady, whose shtick was to be scandalized by pretty much everything about modern society and culture. It wasn’t an especially funny bit, but there are people who thrive on that.

      • M.D. Blough said, on January 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

        You’re right, Andy. The existence of people like Barton and Beck and their followers offends me.

        • Andy Hall said, on January 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm

          Aw, now you’re just feeding their persecution complex. 😉

          • Woodrowfan said, on January 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm

            I keep waiting for one of my students to try to use Barton as a source on a paper. I’ve had books and websites by various white supremacists and Holocaust deniers, but haven’t had Barton or Beck….yet.

          • corkingiron said, on February 1, 2013 at 6:24 pm

            I think the Persecution Complex is going to be right next door to the Sports Complex in the Beckie-Beckie-Beckie-Stan he’s planning to build.

  3. Rob Baker said, on January 31, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I think this reinforces my theory that many of these modern political pundits and their avid listeners enjoy projecting their current political ideologies on the past.

  4. Rob Baker said, on January 31, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Lord help us. At least Glenn Beck’s Nazi Tourettes seems to have gone into remission, and we can all be thankful for that.

    You spoke too soon.

  5. Bummer said, on February 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Bummer chooses not to spend the time watching or listening to Beck and Company, he fell off the cliff many moons ago.


  6. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on February 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Keep lying long enough and a sizeable proportion of the populace people will accept it as truth, unfortunately.

  7. Jimmy Dick said, on February 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

    How in the world are these two ding dongs with no education grounded in historical thought between them considering themselves to be Constitutional scholars? The only possible way they are even scholars is if accepts the ability to read to mean one is a scholar. Telling people what they want to hear is not scholarship. It is nothing more than a con man job and these two jackassess are masters at separating people from their money.

    • Andy Hall said, on February 5, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Barton’s last book was such an embarrassment the publisher pulled it.

      As for educational background, their audience is inherently distrustful of the formal academic model.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: