Just when many Republicans thought that the long nightmare of divisive social issues that so plagued their presidential primaries and damaged their nominee was over, Tennessee Republicans have thrown a monkey wrench into plans to sweep it all under the rug.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has allowed the Republican legislature's creationism bill — also known as the "monkey bill," after the famous 1925 Scopes Trial, also in Tennessee — to become law.  The new law allows schools to teach creationism and to point out "flaws" in  such a  widely held scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and is man-made.

This fundamentalist, anti-science stain in American politics has ebbed and flowed — these issues were not settled  by the Scopes Trial but went underground for a period. Lately, they have come roaring back.  With similar legislation in Louisiana and Texas on creationism, the Tennessee law is part of a broader assault on science and reason. Global warming? Junk science or a hoax, many conservatives argue.

One wonders how Mitt Romney will respond to the new Tennessee law. Presumably, he will want to remain silent.  It will be a shame if he gets away with ignoring this ignorance.