Is Santorum History?

While campaigning in vain in Wisconsin last week, Rick Santorum claimed:

I was just reading something last night from the state of California. And that the California universities – I think it’s seven or eight of the California system of universities don’t even teach an American history course. It’s not even available to be taught.

Of course he was soon called on the carpet for such an outlandish “inaccuracy” — we are trying to be gracious here. Think Progress was the first one to call Santorum out on it:

In fact, of the 10 UC system schools, just one (San Francisco) doesn’t offer American history courses. But that’s because it doesn’t offer any humanities courses at all — it’s a medical school.

Meanwhile, Berkeley, Irvine, Davis, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz all offer numerous American history courses. All require students to take U.S. history before they can graduate.

Soon, many other media outlets followed.

PolitiFact.com, “sorting out the truth in politics,” has now published the definitive verdict, in addition to some background information.

First, the familiar needle on the famous Truth-O-Meter pegged all the way to the left, to “FALSE,” in every respect.

But, do those classes get to “the roots of who we are,” as Santorum said?:

Well, among the offerings at UC Davis is “The American Revolution, 1763-1790.” UC Riverside teaches upper-division courses on “Revolutionary America” and “The Early Republic: The United States, 1789-1848.” UC Santa Cruz includes a course on the “U.S. Revolution: 1740-1815.” UC Berkeley addresses, “The United States from Settlement to Civil War.” UCLA has “History of the U.S. and Its Colonial Origins: 19th Century” and “Constitutional History of U.S.: Origins and Development of Constitutionalism in U.S.”

To find out what Santorum was talking about, what he was reading, Politifact contacted Santorum’s campaign “to ask for support for his claim but didn’t hear back.” Sounds familiar?

Politifact then tried to trace Santorum’s reading material themselves. Read more about it here.

Politifact’s Bottom line:

Rick Santorum said, “I think it’s seven or eight of the California system of universities don’t even teach an American history course. It’s not even available to be taught.” While he appeared to be referencing a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, he bungled the details — and badly. Far from “not available,” American history courses are offered at all but one of 33 state universities in California. We rate his statement False.

Actually, none of this really matters anymore, since Santorum is probably history himself now.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist