Marco Rubio and GQ’s “Gotcha” Question
We probably shouldn’t be shocked that the lefty media is already working on destroying Republicans who are being looked at for potential 2016 runs. Marco Rubio was a first round draft pick even before the election results on the 6th, and GQ landed an interview with him. Apparently, the “reporter” asked him a question about how old the earth was and his answer caused a bit of a commotion.
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.
Admittedly, I would have preferred a Rubio response wherein he looks at the “reporter” and does this:
But you have to be a sports star (or Newt Gingrich) to get away with something like that these days.
Instead, Rubio gave an answer that I am virtually certain any Democrat – weird, how none is ever asked, right? – politician, who happens to be hispanic and is seeking higher office would give.
I know there are dozens of theories and post-election analyses going on, and all the lessons haven’t been learned yet, but one thing is clear: The Republican Party, and the conservative movement as a whole, needs to figure out how to speak to the ever-growing hispanic population. Fast.
This reality has caused a broad debate within the movement. How do we do this without pandering, or without sacrificing conservative principles? Well, one way to do that would be to speak to hispanics about things they believe which are wheelhouse conservative ideals. One of those ideals is faith.
Hispanics are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. I’m not a theologian, but I am Catholic, and hispanic, and I’m pretty sure what (and how) Rubio answered the “gotcha” question fits right in line with what the vast majority of us believe. His answer IS an example of how we as a movement can speak to core hispanic constituencies without pandering.
But what do we see happening? Well, the left is obviously going all “ZOMG! He’s anti-science!!” which is clearly not the case if you actually read the answer. Some on the right are going “DUDE! Don’t you know the media is going to… (lots of stuff which boils down to ‘do what they always do to Republicans’)” and some are already saying Rubio is not ready for prime time.
Oh, and then it gets better. When I point out that Rubio is speaking to hispanics and that – GASP! – white guys might not get all the nuance in the answer that hispanics like me will get, I’m playing the race card. I always thought that playing the race card was the ploy used by Democrats to make something that isn’t racist look racist in order to end discussion of the issue which wasn’t “racial” to begin with. But maybe I was wrong about that.
Anyway, the point here is two-fold. First, Rubio’s answer is one that most hispanics who aren’t raging leftists and / or atheists would agree with. If they’re not politically attuned, the answer isn’t controversial. It’s what they would say. In other words “You know, I’m not sure! Schools said this and my church kinda says that… Who cares? I need a job.”
The second point – which I haven’t gotten to until now – is that the media is going to try and destroy any and all challengers to whoever is the Democrat running in 2016 and we have to learn some political jujitsu. GQ didn’t ask that question to erode lefty support for Rubio. There is no lefty support for Rubio. They asked that question to get people on OUR side – still reeling over the Akin / Mourdoch stuff – afraid of Rubio. And the only way this works is to listen to the media narrative and refuse to try and find ways to speak to voters in ways that don’t sound like pandering. We could have killed this mini-controversy within minutes (and eventually prevent future ones) by simply refusing to play defense and switch to offense instead.
Recap: Rubio’s answer was music to hispanic ears. Yet, his answer wasn’t necessarily directed at them – if he did this as a direct statement to hispanics, I’d be shocked at how politically savvy he is. I don’t think it ever crossed his mind. His answer was a smart answer as long as you don’t buy into the anti-GOP media narrative. The left immediately pounced.
The right’s response, and one that would have spoken to hispanics without outwardly having to spell it out, should have been to embrace the response. “Well, yeah, you Godless Leftists. It was a stupid question, but his answer is in line with what any politician of faith would and should say. It speaks to a very wide swath of the America public. The left is out of the mainstream on this. They’re acting like they’re anti-religion… even a little anti-average-Catholic person.” Obviously that was the sarcastic Cliff Notes version, but you get the picture. Jujitsu. Instead of cowering at the potential Akin-ization of Rubio, you hit back and paint the left as anti-stuff-that-most-people-and-specifically-catholic-hispanics-believe.
It’s not really hard to appeal to core conservative constituencies out there who didn’t vote for Romney this time around. It just takes a little more thought and less “Oh crap! The media did it again!” and a lot more discipline. Don’t cower before the media narrative. Don’t let it define who we are and who we promote as leaders. No one is ever going to be good enough to replace a Democrat in the media’s eyes.
And for pete’s sake, don’t toss out rock stars like Rubio over stuff that is actually a plus instead of a negative. After years of Democrats pounding away at the “Republicans are anti-minority” drum, the Republican brand is damaged among minority groups. We repair that damage by aggressively supporting guys like Rubio when they say things that other hispanics believe – and in this case, it’s something that almost anyone of faith, regardless of race, can get on board with, no?
That’s how you appeal to minority groups without pandering. Or at least a very easy way, in my opinion.