Jody Hice is the Republican nominee for Congress in Georgia’s 10th District. The district is ultra Republican, Republican incumbent Paul Broun having never won less than 60% of the vote. As such, Hice is almost certainly going to be the next Congressman from this district. Hice, however, has a problem: He really, really likes falsely attributing quotes to the Founding Fathers.
As noted by Buzzfeed, Hice has been caught attributing a variety of quotes to at least five different Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin and John Quincy Adams. Check out the example below, which Hice posted to his Facebook page:
Powerful stuff, right? Except, as noted by Buzzfeed, not from Jefferson, even a little bit:
Again, The Thomas Jefferson Foundation (which makes a habit of debunking fake Founding Fathers quotes) said this phrase did not come from Jefferson but “John Sharp Williams in a speech about Jefferson” in 1913.
The story has since been picked up by MSNBC. It’s an MSNBC story, so not exactly the most unbiased of sources, but the story notes that self-styled conservatives – like Hice – like to portray themselves as natural heirs to the legacy of the Founding Fathers:
Modern conservatives call themselves “constitutional conservatives” because they’re convinced they – and they alone – carry the mantle of America’s historic traditions. Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin may be gone, but their legacy lives on in 21st century Republican politics.
Indeed, Hice’s biography is peppered with words and phrases that would support this perspective, including lines about “defend[ing] constitutional liberty” and “fighter for our constitutional rights and protector of our freedom of speech.”
Thus, perhaps in their exuberance to fulfill that role, Hice campaign team (or possibly Hice himself, who knows, though I tend to think that the candidate themselves doesn’t get involved in internet quotes at this level) intentionally attributed quotes – or, at a bare minimum, didn’t do adequate research.
Hice’s campaign never responded to these stories (though, as best I could tell, they weren’t asked to comment), and that’s unfortunate, because the evidence is pretty indisputable – I’d be very curious to hear their comment. Either way, the lesson is clear: make sure you check your sources before attributing a quote to anyone. If possible, always have a second, independently verifiable quote as well.