Letters to the editor

Natural-Born Footballers

I greatly enjoyed Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s essay “Non-native Sons” (June Atlantic), but I would like to point out one small error regarding the 1968 Manchester United team he mentions in passing. Wheatcroft describes the team as including only two non-English players, but Paddy Crerand, who like Denis Law is from Scotland, was also on the pitch that day for the Red Devils when they hoisted the cup. (As you can see, my interest in this matter is purely relative.)

Patrick J. Crerand
Lafayette, La.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft replies:

My usual response when detected in error is Samuel Johnson’s “Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance,” but in this case I can’t even use that excuse, since I remember the 1968 European Cup final vividly and know exactly who played for Manchester United. Apart from Law and Best, the team of course included Mr. Crerand’s illustrious kinsman Paddy, and also Shay Brennan, who was English-born but played for the Republic of Ireland. My mistake was the clumsy wording “international only in that it included …” This was not meant to suggest that all the players except Law and Best were English. I can do no more than thank Mr. Crerand and apologize: Faulty syntax, sir, pure faulty syntax.

The Libertarian West

In “Purple Mountains” (July/August Atlantic), Ryan Sager completely mischaracterizes New Mexico, describing it as a previously reliable Republican state that is now morphing into a swing state. But New Mexico has always been a swing state: it has voted for the loser in only two presidential elections (in 1976 and 2000) since it became a state. Its electoral votes have gone to the Democrats twelve times and to the Republicans twelve times—which is about as evenhanded as it gets.

Ray Minner
Collegedale, Tenn.

Ryan Sager replies:

Mr. Minner mistakes the sweep of my argument about the interior West’s recent redness. In fact, 2004 was the first election since 1988 in which a Republican candidate has won all eight states of the interior West. Al Gore won New Mexico in 2000; in 1996, in the course of a handy reelection, Bill Clinton won New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada; in 1992, Clinton won New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Nevada. From 1968 to 1988, however, the Republican presidential candidate won every single interior West state for six elections running. My argument was that just as the South (never 100 percent Democratic, but “solid” nonetheless) once realigned in favor of the GOP, the West has the potential to birth a Democratic resurgence in the not-too-distant future.

Editors’ Note:

An illustration accompanying “A Confederacy of Eunuchs” (July/August Atlantic) erroneously depicted Paul Martin as the current prime minister of Canada. Martin in fact left office in February, and was succeeded by Stephen Harper. In “Idealism and Practicality” (July/August Atlantic), the political scientist Stanley Hoffmann’s surname was mispelled. The July/August Atlantic was inaccurately identified as “Vol. 297, No. 6.” The issue should have been labeled “Vol. 298, No. 1.” We regret the errors.

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