That's Their Problem

The Importance of the Rubio Statement

11.19.12 6:03 PM ET

By now perhaps you've seen these embarrassing comments Marco Rubio made to GQ:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

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.

Now, this is another sign that the GOP isn’t maybe quite as ready for change as some of its members are saying it is. If it were, he'd have simply said, "About four and a half billion years." Or if he didn't know that, as many people don't, I guess, something like: "I don't know, but in the billions, I think." But you cannot say that if you are a Republican who aspires to higher office. (Imagine!).

One thing this election changed is that the rest of us can now just tee off on this kind of troglodytism without feeling the least bit tentative. Back in the Bush days, a part of you thought, "Well, maybe that's the real America, the people who believe that stuff, and I'm the outlier."

But now it's my America! It's our America! They are the outliers! They helped make Mitt Romney unelectable, or more unelectable than he was anyway. And they are a problem their party needs to figure out how to solve. Hallelujiah.