Something About the Evolution of American Politics

London, 11 February 2015.  Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) speaks at Chatham House, a foreign policy research organization.  Photo uncredited, via NBC News.

“And so, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) arrived in London yesterday, there was a lingering fear: how exactly would he manage to screw this up? Now we know.”

Steve Benen

How?

No, seriously, I’ll bite: How does this keep happening?

First, Ned Simons of Huffington Post:

Speaking at the Chatham House foreign policy think tank London, Walker was asked: “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe in it?”

“For me, I am going to punt on that one as well,” he said. “That’s a question politicians shouldn’t be involved in one way or another. I am going to leave that up to you. I’m here to talk about trade, not to pontificate about evolution.”

There are a few things here. The first is that it’s London. The second is to note the host’s disbelief; perhaps Americans don’t realize just how strange our evolution debate sounds to our friends and neighbors around the world, such that there is a reason our homegrown Creationists find international kinship among various religious groups we tend to worry about for any number of reasons derived from their theological justifications. Additionally, Walker’s decision to punt reflects a reasonable calculation within the American political context, but that point only highlights the glaring question of what role fundamentalist myth has in asserting reality under law.

The ever-useful Steve Benen went with a straightforward title, “Walker latest to fall into London quicksand”:

Eventually, Republicans are really going to have to stop going to London.

When Mitt Romney went to the British capital, it was a disaster. When Bobby Jindal went to London, he became a laughingstock. When Chris Christie crossed the pond, he managed to stumble on vaccinations, of all things.

And so, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) arrived in London yesterday, there was a lingering fear: how exactly would he manage to screw this up? Now we know.

The problem with a setup like that arises when it is true, just sitting there waiting all shiny and new and all you can think is that such a grotesquerie simply should not exist. London really should be an easy gig for American politicians trying to burnish their knobs on the world stage. After all, if you can’t handle London, how are you going to handle more subtle, consequential political disagreements? Then again, Mr. Walker is a Republican, and for some reason Republicans decided to go to Israel chaperoned by an anti-Jewish hate group.

What is it about Republicans and no-brainers?

And the elephant in the room (ha!) would seem to be the question of why Walker should punt because he’s a politician when, here at home, politicians are involved? Is Mr. Walker actually telling his evangelical conservative neighbors to stop seeking Republican support?

Of course he isn’t. One of the things about the world stage is that it really can separate the wheat from the chaff; the question remains as to which rumored GOP presidential frontrunner will actually be able to argue that he or she is, in fact, ready for prime time."Both science & my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God. I believe faith & science are compatible, & go hand in hand." (Gov. Scott Walker, R-WI)

For his part, Governor Walker seems to recognize some degree of gaffe, and hopes to defuse the situation with twittery:

Both science & my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God. I believe faith & science are compatible, & go hand in hand.

Think about it. The guy is too frightened to come right out and acknowledge evolution. And, yes, that really does look strange to pretty much everyone else.

____________________

“Benen, Steve. “Walker latest to fall into London quicksand”. msnbc. 11 February 2015.

Simons, Ned. “Scott Walker Dodges Question On Whether He Believes In Evolution”. The Huffington Post. 11 February 2015.

Walker, Scott. “Both science & my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God”. Twitter. 11 February 2015.

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