Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida, is a highly conservative man with whom I disagree on many issues. I will say this about him, though, he is incredibly charismatic. I rarely see him stumble during interviews. But, now that he appears to be testing the waters for a 2016 Presidential run (yes, it’s starting already), he needs to be even more careful as the spotlight is shining solely on him.
Senator Rubio was recently interviewed by GQ. Here’s where he got tripped up:
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.
Can you say not wanting to commit? I certainly understand the answer. He doesn’t want to alienate those who believe Earth was created in 7 actual days. He also doesn’t want to alienate those who think Earth is only a few thousand years old instead of 4.54 billion. It’s a non committal answer so as not to offend anyone. The problem is that he also doesn’t say anything.
I think this helps illustrate a bigger issue in American politics: politicians don’t necessarily say what they believe, they say what will offend the fewest numbers of voters. I know this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone. But, if Senator Rubio had a firm belief on the age of Earth and did not feel that belief would offend anyone, he would not have skirted the issue. Instead, he knows this is a hot button issue so he needs to be circuitous so as not to offend anyone. He’s trying to shape himself as a candidate who is good for all times zones. Just wait and see.