"I'm not a scientist, man."
That was Senator and 2016 GOP Presidential super-hopeful Marco Rubio in an interview with GQ as Rubio flies out of the gate to start campaigning for Republican hearts and minds in Iowa.
Rubio was asked about the age of the planet.
For Republicans hoping that GOP candidates will move away from the flat-earthers on the right wing this is a wakeup call.
There will be no reform in the Republican Party over the next four years. There will be an attempt to soften the perception of Republicans – accepted by some, rejected by others.
But at the core of the Republican Party you can expect little more than incremental movement on a few issues out of necessity.
This should come as no surprise, though. The Republican Party is held hostage by a vocal and active minority of people that live in a world of alternate reality fostered by a right wing entertainment media that explains every event that happens through the lens of this unhinged worldview.
They do not like challenges to their belief system.
The idea that science and religion are diametrically opposed was settled years ago for the vast majority of Americans and for major religions.
But Rubio fears offending anyone on the far right. In the interview, Rubio goes to great lengths to attempt to contort his answer. He told GQ:
"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."
You don't, however, need to be a scientist to answer that question. To suggest that you have to be defies logic.
Rubio is also very, very wrong on a major point: the Republican's War on Science does affect GDP and economic growth.
In this past election, Democrats were attacked for votes that included testing the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill. If politicians believe that food safety is not a part of the economy, it is just another piece of evidence that Republicans don't understand how the economy works.
If Republicans, as a political party, continue this hostility toward science then they do not understand the driving force that science and innovation play in our economy. It also is another proof point in the case that Democrats made about Republican math not adding up.
Given the relationship between math and science, perhaps that explains Republican hostility towards explaining the numbers that support tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The fact of the matter is that you can have a strong faith and still believe in science. You can believe in God and expect your leaders to show you the math that supports their policies.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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