Sunday, October 09, 2005

Jeb Dances Around Intelligent Design Issue

Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) did an amazing soft shoe routine around the Intelligent Design debate when asked if he believes it should be taught in Florida classrooms. ''I like what we have right now,'' the governor stated. "And I don't think there needs to be any changes. I don't think we need to restrict discussion, but it doesn't need to be required, either.'' (Miami Herald: Gov. Bush oddly evasive on evolution).

What Florida has right now is an education policy that mandates the teaching of natural selection in the classroom. So one might take the Governor's statements as supporting evolution, except that he denied knowing that it was part of the curriculum. When asked, he said, ''I don't . . . I don't know. It's not part of our standards. Nor is creationism. Nor is Darwinism or evolution either.'' It turns out, however, that the Florida education code does require evolution and natural selection to be taught.

The real question is why Governor Bush, a devout born-again Christian and far more conservative than his brother George, would waffle on the topic of evolution and intelligent design. The answer is simple. Jeb is leaving his options open for a 2008 Presidential bid and he's not going to commit on the evolution question until he absolutely has to. In 3 years it may be a moot issue, so there's no sense committing himself now. In reality, I have little doubt as to where Jeb stands on the issue, but thus far he has not put it in print.

While a Jeb Bush presidential bid may be just what the conservative right would like to see, the fact is that Jeb has about as much of a chance of getting the nomination as does Pat Buchanan or Pat Robertson. Even more importantly, a far right-wing candidate is as unelectable as a far left-wing candidate. The 44th President of the United States will be a moderate. Whether that will be a moderate Democrat or a moderate Republican is anybody's guess right now, but I am very confident that the extremes of either party are not electable. The nation is split right down the middle right now, which means the voting block to decide the election will be the moderates. Neither extreme is attractive to that group of voters. As a conservative Republican, I will go on record as saying that President Jeb Bush is simply not in the cards.


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