The Constitution is 400 years old?

This week in domestic uproar:

Representative Sheila Jackson (D-TX) supposedly claimed that the Constitution was 400 years old.

Last time I checked, getting basic history facts wrong is the Tea Party’s job. So I was a bit surprised to see that a Democrat would miss something that simple. Let’s check it out:

Depending on your political affiliation, you may be quick to jump to some assumptions.

But as someone who has suffered through AP US History, I’m going to take a guess and say that¬†maybe crazy right-wingers are misrepresenting what she said.

“…and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a Constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not.”

400 years ago was approximately when Virginia was permanently settled, in 1607. British colonization, the foundation for America, began then. The Constitution was ratified in 1788.

I can see this as a case of ambiguity. “We” can define the geographical lineage of the USA, which is about 400 years. However, it can also describe the country under the Constitution.

I’m not an expert in grammar, but I’ll say that analyzing the sentence would actually give you what Fox News charges, because “operating” is a clause used to modify “have lasted”. But I honestly don’t think that’s what Jackson was implying.

This is really a case of picking at words. It’s like “You Didn’t Build That”. Obama was completely correct in saying that in the context, while grammatically he may have implied something incorrect.

On the other hand,¬†Bachmann is pretty clear about how CO2 isn’t harmful.

I would suggest that Democrats start learning how to correctly enunciate their ideas, so that conservatives can stop attacking ideas that are correct but said incorrectly.