Rick Perry: Republican For Creationism
Perhaps it’s because he’s caught in a General Election campaign that’s much closer than anticipated, but Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to side four-square with the anti-science crowd:
Explain where you stand on evolution-creationism being taught in school.
I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution. The State Board of Education has been charged with the task of adopting curriculum requirements for Texas public schools and recently adopted guidelines that call for the examination of all sides of a scientific theory, which will encourage critical thinking in our students, an essential learning skill.
This is hardly surprising, of course. Back in 2007, a Gallup Poll found that Republicans were far less likely to “believe in evolution” (and for the record I hate that phrase) than Democrats, during the 2008 President Campaign, we were treated to moments like this:
And, it looks like the issue could be an unofficial litmus test for Republicans in 2012:
I’m on the record as saying that predictions for 2012 are very premature. But, it looks like 3 of the front-runners for the G.O.P. nomination are rather frank Creationists (Palin, Huckabee and Pawlenty). I’m skeptical about any of these as likely candidates (i.e., if you had to make a bet you’re going to be surprised), but if you keep adding individuals to the list it seems likely that we’re looking at a serious probability that the G.O.P. nominee in 2012 will be a Creationist.
Creationism doesn’t really have the same valence as abortion as a “culture war” issue, but, it is useful in being a distinctive marker for social conservative candidates. Mitt Romney is now notionally as pro-life as the social conservatives, but it seems unlikely that he’ll flip his position on evolution since he expressed himself so explicitly in the 2008 debates.
In other words, this is yet another issue where Romney is at odds with the hard right conservative wing of the party.
If the tea party movement has had any value, it is that it has managed to keep the focus of Republican candidates on fiscal issues. It’s fairly clear, though, that underneath the fiscal conservatism, the sincerity of which should be doubted given the GOP’s record while in power, the Republican Party is no friend of liberty, or reason, on social issues and it’s only a matter of time before that side rears its head again.