Opinion: Huntsman's Global Warming Question Exposes a Double-Standard for GOP

Republican Jon Huntsman speaks during a press conference to announce his bid for the presidency at Liberty State Park June 21, 2011 in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Jon Huntsman has finally made a splash. No, I'm not talking about his interview in Vogue (?!), I'm talking about his proclamation on twitter yesterday that he's not like those other conservatives:

"To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."

What followed, of course, was a chorus of conservative tweeters calling him just that. It's not that these people don't believe in evolution or global warming, necessarily, they just know that Huntsman's comment is a dog-whistle to his only constituency: The liberal media who scoffs at those backward types who might question theories such as evolution or global warming. It's his way of saying "I'm one of you, I'm not like them."

I'll come out here and now as someone who believes in evolution and is skeptical about human-caused global warming. On the former, despite my belief it does remain but a theory of human creation. The smartest people in history have found themselves wrong about topics with much more physical evidence than evolution. I don't think it's unreasonable to everyone, whether they are people of faith or not, to say that theories are meant to be questioned and there's nothing wrong with doing so.

The believers of global warming have taken a hit in the last few years. Putting aside that there is a growing number of scientists who disagree with the premise that there is global warming at all, let alone that it is caused by humans, the stringent contingency of global warming believers has been somewhat shaken over the last few years.

Though they proclaim the debate "over," they keep finding themselves in situations where they're forced to make up "alarmist or armageddonist factoids", they're surpressing evidence that doesn't fit their conclusions and fudging numbers to make their theories work. This is not the behavior of people who are telling the truth about their findings. These are people involved in a business, like any other business, where their cash flow depends on certain outcomes. That they're ready to lie to affect those outcomes gives people like me pause - as it should.

The crazy thing here isn't that people will have different beliefs about different things, it's that the media will insist on pushing these issues to the forefront of the presidential race despite it not mattering one iota. What difference does it make if the president thinks the world was created in 7 days or if he thinks we descended from apes? And, as Houston Chronicle blogger Kathleen McKinley tweeted, why is it that it's only Republican candidates who have this question asked of them again and again. She added "Has a reporter ever asked Obama if he believe in evolution? And then followed up with saying " Don't you believe God created the earth?""

Much was made of Barack Obama's Christian faith during the 2008 election, he spoke of it often and it was used to counter the mistaken belief that he was a Muslim. Why then, is he never challenged to reconcile how he can be such a devout Christian yet not follow so much of the religion? Why is he never asked how he can be pro-choice when his faith clearly dictates the pro-life position? Why does he not receive the same challenges to his faith as the GOP candidates?

My point is not that I think the media should start putting Barack Obama on the spot about how his faith does or doesn't match his policy positions, just that it should be more fair in their questioning of politicians. If Republicans are constantly made to answer questions relating to their faith and its effect on their political policies, why not faithful Democrats?

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.