Huckabee: "I'll stick with God"

An evolution on evolution? It's "nuanced."

Published October 23, 2007 1:49PM (EDT)

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is riding high on a warm reception from "Values Voters," an endorsement from Chuck Norris and a steady climb in Iowa polls. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter goes so far as to pitch him as possibly "the only Republican candidate with a decent chance to beat the Democrats next November."

"Even on faith and politics, Mike is easy to like," Alter writes. "From afar, he seemed extreme because he raised his hand in a debate when the candidates were asked en masse if they believed in intelligent design. But when Bill Maher pressed him to justify that view on his HBO show, Huckabee responded with a nuanced and presentable discussion of the origins of the universe that seemed to pacify even the atheist host."

See, when a Democrat has a "nuanced" explanation for something, that's bad. When a Republican is "nuanced," he or she's just being reasonable.

Let's watch how Huckabee and Alter do it.

Alter says that Huckabee "raised his hand in a debate when the candidates were asked en masse if they believed in intelligent design." In fact, what the candidates were asked at the GOP presidential debate on May 4 was to raise their hands if they did not "believe in evolution." Huckabee raised his.

Immediately after the debate, Huckabee said that it was "fine with me" if other people want to believe that they "came from apes." "I'll accept that," he said. "I just don't happen to think that I did."

But by the time Huckabee appeared on Bill Maher's show in August, he had that more "nuanced" view on evolution. "It's not a proper yes-or-no question," he said. "Do I believe that it is all about just random selection, that it just happened without any design, designer, anybody behind it? No I don't believe that, I think there was a God behind that."

When Maher asked Huckabee if he believed that man came from monkeys, he said: "I don't know."

At a press conference Monday, Huckabee suggested that reporters read Alter's "very thoughtful" piece, saying that he thought the columnist had gotten it right.

A reporter asked Huckabee how he thought his views -- including his view on evolution -- might play in the general election.

"Oh, I believe in science. I certainly do," he said. "In fact, what I believe in is, I believe in God. I don't think there's a conflict between the two. But if there's going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn't. So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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