Second Thoughts

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The Krauthammer column flagged by Reid signals that conservative members of what they like to call the chattering class are beginning to question the wisdom of the GOP’s enveloping itself in religion over the past generation. Naturally, K can’t quite put it that way himself. By him, the left always has to be guilty of something, so he’s got to triangulate himself between its sins and the sins of his own kind. But the left of his assault is a straw man. Ever since Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority first appeared on the national scene, liberals have acknowledged the right of conservatives to bring their religious values to bear on public debate–you can look it up. Positioning aside, K’s real darts are intended for the current GOP presidential candidates. He’s quite right to point out the empirical weakness of Mitt Romney’s recent claim that liberty and religion are inextricably connected. And it is hard not to join his contempt for the unlovely spectacle of Mssrs. Huckabee, Romney, and Giuliani pledging their troth as Bible believers in the CNN-YouTube debate. But it would be more impressive if he had at some point acknowledged that this is a case of chickens coming home to roost. Or, to use a biblical image, of reaping what you’ve sown.