Marco Rubio is on the short list of Republican presidential contenders for 2016. Of course, that’s a long way away, so who knows if he remains on the short list.
So Rubio’s a target even more so than in the past couple of years. Every question in every interview is a potential land mine. There can be no off-the-cuff remarks.
The motus operandi will be to “crazy” him, the long-standing tactic used against Republicans and particularly people like Rubio who sprang from the Tea Party movement (something he doesn’t wear on his sleeve very much) or who occupy that most reviled place in the mainstream media, religious Christians.
I knew something was up when I saw this tweet:
RT @felixsalmon: GQ: “How old do you think the Earth is?” Marco Rubio: “I’m not a scientist, man. That’s a dispute amongst theologians.”
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) November 19, 2012
Here’s the full quote:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
It’s a fairly political answer, a nod to scientific and religious views.
Marco Rubio may be the future of the Republican Party, but his views on science appear to be stuck somewhere in the seventeenth century.
But when your party base is fundamentalism, your grip on reality is always going to be a little slippery.
Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine tweeted:
Some theologians believe the Earth was created in 1980 by Ronald Reagan.
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) November 19, 2012
Republican candidates, if they have learned nothing this cycle, need to anticipate these questions, and to be able to defend their answers.
You don’t actually need to be crazy to be crazied.
One misstep — which I think Rubio avoided — is all it takes.