The evolution of answering the question


Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, was in the news this week for declining to answer a question put to him by Justin Webb at the end of an event at Chatham House. The question was about evolution, of which, more later, because that wasn’t the first point of interest.

Governor Walker was asked, repeatedly, what he thought about events beyond the confines of the US and he refused, repeatedly, to answer them. He said this was because he was in the UK on a trade visit for (and, presumably, paid for by) the state of Wisconsin, but he also said that he didn’t consider that it was polite to answer questions on policy regarding the United States’ interaction with other countries whilst he was outside the US. And he stuck to this line through questions about the fight against ISIS, what a Scott Walker foreign policy might look like (and who might be advising him on that) and whether the US should arm Ukrainian rebels.

It was no surprise that he didn’t use the stage at Chatham House to announce a challenge for the Republican nomination, although I was surprised that there weren’t more questions trying to coax a clue from the Governor.

All questions that fell outside what he acknowledged to be slightly old-fashioned parameters on foreign policy were answered with the fluency of the professional politician; Governor Walker speaks in full paragraphs and lots of them.

And it looked as though the event would be fairly bland and uneventful, until a near-throwaway question from Justin Webb, almost as people were getting up to leave.

He asked Governor Walker whether he was comfortable with the idea of evolution, whether he believes in it and whether he accepts it. And it turned out that this was a further question he was going to punt on (to use Governor Walker’s phrase).

Except, of course, anyone who wondered whether the Governor was giving, at the very least, serious consideration to a challenge for the Republican nomination now had the answer to that particular question.