CNN hosted a Republican primary debate on Tuesday, and it veered into some strange territory when Mike Huckabee was asked to explain his views on the etiology of existence. Of course, Wolf Blitzer didn’t put it that way. Huckabee had indicated in a previous debate that he doesn’t believe in evolution, and Blitzer asked, “What do you believe? Is it the story of creation as it is reported in the Bible or described in the Bible?”
“It’s interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president,” Huckabee replied. “I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States.” Absolutely correct: It’s a question that doesn’t really belong in the national political arena. Huckabee went on to indulge the question, though, invoking the old teleological argument for the existence of God with a rejection of the idea that the world as we know it “was an accident and that it just happened all on its own.” When pressed, he expressed agnosticism on Young Earth creationism (“I don’t know… whether God did it in six days or whether he did it in six days that represented periods of time”). He was doing fine, until he echoed a joke that enemies of reason have been telling for nearly 150 years, saying that “if anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do it. I don’t know how far they will march that back.”
Har har. When Bishop Samuel Wilberforce asked T.H. Huxley in a famous 1860 debate on which side of Huxley’s family he was descended from an ape, Huxley supposedly responded that he’d prefer an ape to a man who uses “great gifts to obscure the truth.” That Huckabee uses his rather modest gifts to ignore the truth may not disqualify him from the presidency (there are plenty of more important things that do that), but it certainly doesn’t speak well of him.
CNN also hosted the Democrats this week (on Sunday), and naturally their debate had its share of silliness, too. Almost any question that is thrown to Dennis Kucinich is sure to elicit a small slice of crazy, and this one was no exception:
Congressman Kucinich, if you were president of the United States and the intelligence community said to you, “We know where Osama bin Laden is, he’s in Pakistan. We’ve got a specific target, but he’s only going to be there for 20 minutes. You got to give the order, yes or no, to take him out with a HELLFIRE missile, but it’s going to kill some innocent civilians at the same time,” what would be your decision?
Kucinich naturally said he wouldn’t kill bin Laden, and that the terrorist leader “ought to be held to account in an international court of law.” Barack Obama spoke up to say he’d kill bin Laden. When Blitzer threw the question to the rest of the candidates, asking for a show of hands, he didn’t get it — instead, they started shouting their quibbles. “Not enough information,” Mike Gravel shouted. Joe Biden — the most hawkish in the field — spoke up to say that “it would depend on how many innocent civilians” would be killed. Hillary Clinton offered that “this is one of these hypotheticals… that is very difficult to answer in the abstract.”
I submit that this question is not at all difficult.
The Group of Eight — the leaders of the US, the UK, France, Russia, Japan, Italy, and Canada — held a summit in Heidelberg, Germany this week. Rocker-cum-activist Bono was in town to promote aid to Africa, and had sideline meetings with President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, though, wasn’t interested; Harper, a Conservative, preferred instead to take a dig at his Liberal predecessor and frequent Bono interlocutor Paul Martin. “I’ve got to say that meeting celebrities isn’t kind of my shtick, that was the shtick of the previous guy,” said Harper.
Given the international prestige that Bono has accrued in recent years — he shared a Time Persons of the Year cover with Bill and Melinda Gates in 2005 — its refreshing to see him get the brush-off for once. Harper did add, though, that he’d like to meet Bono eventually, saying “I hope we do it at some point but my principle focus in public policies is not kind of to meet celebrities.” After his dismissive comments one imagines that the Bono meeting Harper professes to hope for could get a bit awkward — though surely Bono wouldn’t be rude enough to point out that U2 has sold about five times more albums than Canada has citizens.
John Tabin is a columnist for Brainwash.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire