Rick Perry by Gage Skidmore

A lot of people are talking about the Secessionist’s response to a question about evolution.

“Here your mom was asking about evolution, and you know it’s a theory that’s out there, and it’s got some gaps in it,” Perry said. “In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

Let’s put aside the fact that evolution isn’t just a “theory that’s out there,” that there aren’t “gaps” in it — and that Texas doesn’t teach creationism. All of that is just factually wrong and crazy, to boot.

But the rest of what the Secessionist is saying here is very out of character. Conservatives, who view the world as a series of blacks and whites and rights and wrongs, usually hate this kind of squishy relativism — especially when it comes to education. They scoff at alternative schools that don’t give grades or give students a high degree of curricular independence, and they place a premium on testing and scores which reward students for getting the right answer.

But even the most progressive schools don’t adopt the Secessionist’s “let the students figure out which answer is right” theory in most subjects, let alone science. Students aren’t taught that pi could be 6.28 or 3.14, or that the capital of Texas could be Austin or Dallas, or that the Alamo was attacked by Hitler or Santa Anna. And there isn’t an AP Biology test administered in Texas for kids who have decided Creationism is right.

The bottom line is that, as I’ve previously pointed out, it takes real talent to be a skillful panderer, and the Secessionist just doesn’t have it. His handlers know this, and as was done with the Quitter, they will wall him off from reporters and hostile questions like this as the campaign progresses.