The surprise runner-up in the Republican straw poll in Iowa over the weekend is a Baptist minister who believes God created the universe.
Huckabee’s so-called creationist beliefs place him terra-firmly on one side of the cultural divide, of course, but would those beliefs affect his educational policies as president of the United States? Maybe not. Consider the following from Huckabee, quoted by Associated Press writer Philip Elliott in May:
“I believe that the Creation has a creator. I believe there is a God. And I believe God put this whole creative process in motion. How he did it and the time frame in which he did it, I honestly don't know. Nor do I think it's relevant to being president of the United States,” Huckabee said. “I'm going to leave the scientists to debate the intricacies of how it happened and when it happened because I simply don't know. But I believe that rather than all this being just some accident that happened, there was a design, and a designer in the design.”
So, Huckabee apparently isn’t saying that evolution didn’t happen. Just that if it did happen, it would have been guided by God.
Or, maybe Huckabee was tacking as far to the left on this issue as he possibly could, in an effort to appeal to a wider range of voters while maintaining his creationist bona fides. It is extremely difficult for anyone to truly know the heart and mind of any other person, much less a presidential candidate.
Now, Huckabee also is famous for losing lots of weight and for having his own rock band. Does that translate into backing for funding to boost physical education, more healthful school lunches or music in schools? These are questions to be asked.
On a personal note, this writer joyfully relinquishes up the task of following the educational positions of Tommy Thompson, who has dropped out of the GOP pack after a poor showing in the straw poll. One note for Tommy watchers: Don't expect him to do quietly into retirement. He once told the editorial board of The Janesville Gazette that after being governor, he would be content to go back and run for school board in his hometown. Afterward, he not only ran for governor again, he ran for president (twice) and became a cabinet secretary under the current President Bush.
Frank Schultz, email@example.com