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.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Wednesday dodged a question about whether he believes in evolution. 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.
the video of the exchange, note that the interviewer prefaces the question by saying the issue is of particular interest when posed to “senior Republicans when they come to London.” The subtle – or perhaps not so subtle – implication is that the British just don’t know what to make of GOP extremism in the 21st century.If you watch
Indeed, after Walker refused to answer the question about whether he’s comfortable with modern biology, the interviewer, clearly taken aback by the governor’s reticence, responded with genuine incredulity. “Really?” he said when Walker “punted” on the issue. The interviewer quickly added, “Any British politician, right- or left-wing, would laugh [at the question] and say, ‘Of course evolution’s true.’”
As well they should.
And while I can appreciate the British curiosity about American Republicans, it’s worth emphasizing that the UK simply doesn’t have a major political party as far to the right as today’s Republican Party. It’s no wonder they marvel at the oddity of the GOP’s extremism.
Closer to home, let’s not overlook the fact that the recent Republican track record on scientific issues has been quite woeful of late. Just over the last few months, we’ve seen prominent GOP officials balk at climate science, contraception, vaccinations, post-bathroom hand-washing, and now evolutionary biology.
I shudder to think what the party will come up with next, though if gravity becomes a partisan political issue, all bets are off.
Postscript: I’d just add that Walker’s response to today’s question is obviously unsustainable. If he and his staff aren’t working on a real answer for American journalists who’ll soon press the governor for a batter response, they should be.