Our View: Much ado . . .

Posted: November 26, 2012

It has started, ooh has it ever. Mere days after aiding and abetting the successful re-election of President Obama, the mainstream media have already commenced preparing for the 2016 electoral cycle. And by that we mean it’s already working overtime deconstructing conservative hopefuls for the next presidential run.

Clear case in point: the recent attempted ambush of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by, of all media outlets, Gentleman’s Quarterly. (Why Mr. Rubio would consent to an interview with this mag is beyond us, but that’s not what this editorial is all about.)

The back story is this: In his standard stump speech, Mr. Rubio routinely says that socialism “hasn't worked in 6,000 years of recorded history.” Now, the message to be taken from this remark is that socialism doesn’t work — end of story. But — wouldn’t you know it? — GQ did not seize upon that salient observation, but rather the tangential comment about “6,000 years of recorded history.” Thus, at some point in their interview, the magazine sprung its “gotcha,” asking Mr. Rubio this question: “How old do you think the Earth is?”

To his credit, Mr. Rubio seemed to acknowledge what was afoot, as he quickly noted that “I think it [the line of questioning] has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.” But, while doing so, he also tried to answer the question, stating, in essence, that he wasn’t a scientist but that the age and origin of the universe are “great mysteries.” He also said that parents in this country should be free to instruct their children on such matters in accordance with their beliefs, whether grounded in science or religion.

For daring to answer the question as posed, Mr. Rubio has come under withering rhetorical fire, from both the outright left and the alleged right. We’ll not join this chorus, though we will note that pretty much the same question was posed of Barack Obama in 2008, and he gave what amounted to the same answer. And, of course, was given a free pass.

But even that is neither here nor there. Our main point is this: Marco Rubio could have pegged the age of recorded history — a far different number, by the way, than the age of the Earth — at 10,000 years or 10 million years and his essential point would have remained valid, namely that socialism has never been a panacea for any or all of society’s ills.

That was his main point; everything else was tangential, though 6,000 years does seem a reasonable assessment.