Two kinds of issues are tough to handle in politics: ones where people use the same words to mean different things and ones where there are issues wrapped within issues. Evolution is both of those things, and also can be emotional--rather than logical--for both atheists and theists alike. (See previous post.)
Today's American Spectator contains a column by Jay Richards and David Klinghoffer on "the speed trap" of presidential politics. Their advice is sympathetic and sound.
Problem one: reporters like Juan Williams, wittingly or not, use "creationism" so loosely it can mean anything--from a religious representation of the first chapters of Genesis as a science text to a strictly scientific view that evidence increasingly contradicts Darwin's now 150 year old theory. And everything in between. Darwinists happen to like and to promote the confusion of terms. It allows them to stigmatize the unwary. But there is no reason for candidates (in this case Gov. Pawlenty) to buy into the confusion or the premise behind the question Gov. Pawlenty got.
There also are other issues within the evolution issue: from academic freedom within science faculties to the moral implications of Darwinism for social issues, such as euthanasia and assisted suicide, animal rights, and on and on. That is why the subject doesn't lend itself to tidy 30 second political soundbites.
The presidential candidate has to answer carefully because the subject is truly important and because people truly care about it. However, Richards and Klinghoffer explain how a responsible politician can zip through the sped trap undeterred and be on his or her way.