DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY…. A variety of Republican leaders spoke on the steps of the Capitol today, addressing a crowd that local law enforcement officials put at around 4,000, all of whom gathered to rally against fixing the health care system. Some of the speakers, however, ran into a little trouble.

Take Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri, for example. Akin, who’s demonstrated more than once that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about when it comes to health care policy, decided to devote his remarks to the subject of religion and American history. For some reason, Akin argued that the pilgrims gave the country “her first constitution,” which doesn’t make any sense.

Akin proceeded to praise for the Pledge of Allegiance: “As we renew our commitment to the red, white, and blue, let us with boldness proclaim the fact that we are one nation under God. It is all together fitting and proper that we should do this … and it drives the liberals crazy.” (Yes, Republican members of Congress now believe the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited to annoy Americans they don’t like. Classy.)

The problem, though, is that Akin initiated the joint recitation, and then flubbed the words. In Akin’s version, it reads, “…and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” The audience knew the actual version, which led Akin to lose his place and stumble.

Almost as embarrassing was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who decided to wave his pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution around. Boehner, with voice raised, pledged to “stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the pre-amble: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident …”

In our reality, that’s the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, not the U.S. Constitution.

Now, I’ll gladly concede that these were fairly inconsequential errors, which were part of a fairly inconsequential right-wing rally. But the flubs were nevertheless a reminder — self-righteous conservatives, who enjoy nothing more than lecturing others on patriotism, should hesitate on using the Constitution and the Pledge as some kind of partisan weapon, especially if they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.