Sam Brownback, who is presently running as a Republican for President, recently wrote an article in the NY Times explaining his stance on evolution. He felt the need to do so after he raised his hand at the last debate when the moderator asked all of the candidates to indicate who didn’t believe in evolution. 1 In the Times piece, he blatantly attempts some political fence sitting, by claiming that he believes in evolution, but then doesn’t believe in it when it conflicts with his beliefs. (Confused? You’re not alone.) Clearly, he’s stooping to the level of stereotypical politicians who feel the need to pander to whatever special interest he thinks will help him win, so he obfuscates and deflects, and tries a little linguistic dodging and weaving, all in the hopes that intelligent people will think he actually believes in evolution, while his religious base will see his sly wink and a nod.
Over at Atheist Revolution, in comments to vjack’s post, Susan said
I’m not sure which is worse — the possibility that someone who affects public policy really doesn’t believe in evolution or the idea that he does, but feels compelled to deny it in order to pander to the religious right.
Then, Tommy over at Exercise in Futility piped up with:
Susan, you just made me think of a new term. Whenever a politician panders to Biblical Literalists by casting doubt on evolution and science, he can be said to be engaging in “Brownbacking.”
This is a great word to add to our political discourse, if only for this election. Republicans seem to be doing it all the time. Even Dubya. The blog world is calling Brownback on his cynical political bootlicking. See here and here and here and here. The word just slips off the tongue, so easily, with negative connotations intact, like brownbagging and brownnosing.
It needs to be disseminated throughout the internet. Use it wherever and whenever you can.
1 In all fairness, I don’t like the question, “Do you believe in Evolution?”. I don’t think science is something you can believe in. How do you believe in a conglomeration of facts? A better question would be “Do you feel there is sufficient evidence to substantiate the Theory of Evolution”. But then that questions can always be begged off from, by pleading ignorance.