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Back to Noonan


Trevino notes, correctly, that my post didn’t mount a comprehensive defense of NRO’s editorial on Huckabee’s foreign policy. I might turn to that tomorrow (we’re closing on an issue here in New York, which is why I’ve been posting sporadically and briefly). He also says that if I am “unaware of the commonly-accepted interpretation of Peggy Noonan’s ‘idiots’ reference — which I share — I’m not sure what to say.”

Three points. First, let’s look at the text of Noonan’s remarks. Any fair reading of Noonan does not have her calling all “social conservatives of faith” idiots, but rather using that label for that subset of social conservatives who would hold it against a candidate for saying something kind about atheists as well as believers. Her comment makes it clear that she believes that subset to be small.

Second, nothing in Noonan’s career makes it at all plausible that she meant to attack “social conservatives of faith.” That history offers additional reason for a reader to pause before embracing Trevino’s interpretation.

Third, follow the link Trevino provides in support of his contention that his interpretation of Noonan’s reference is “commonly accepted.” You’ll quickly see that many left-wing blogs adopted the same interpretation as Trevino in order to score points against Republicans and religious conservatives: That is, they claimed that Noonan was admitting that religious conservatives are idiots. Does Trevino generally find these sites to be careful or even reasonable readers?


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