What is a ridiculous question?
When a "journalist" engages in a non-sequitur with the sole purpose of tripping up a Republican politician.
By now you've probably read plenty about Senator Marco Rubio's GQ interview in which, out of nowhere, the interviewer asks Rubio how old he thinks the earth is.
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.
Not the most elegant answer to an unexpected question but his fumbling for words is understandable. I mean, it's hard to imagine that Senator Rubio thought he was auditioning for a quiz show.
Now here's the thing, and it's obvious to most, the question was a trap intended to make Republicans look like religious zealots and anti-science boobs. But there's an irony here that I don't even know if I can express.
When I first heard about this question as it was posed to Rubio the number that popped into my head was 5 billion years. Scientists estimate the earth is 4.54 billion years old.
I believe Rubio knows that scientists put the age of the earth into the billions of years but not knowing the exact number he hemmed and hawed fearing that he would miss the mark wildly. After all, these bits of trivia are often filed away in the dark recesses of our memory banks after we memorize them for high school science tests.
And here's the ironic part. If Rubio had simply answered, "about five billion years" (as was my initial thought) he would have been off the mark by 600 million years but would have been close enough to where libs couldn't ridicule him. Hell, he could have said 6 billion years and missed by 1 billion and half years and it still wouldn't have been a story. I'd venture to guess that he could have missed by a couple of billion either way and the libs would have just moved on to their next attempt. In other words, it had nothing to do with accuracy.
This is the new environment we're living in folks. The one where the Democratic president says escapes scrutiny on all manner of issues of national importance but where a popular Republican Senator had better be take a Kaplan test prep class in order to answer questions from the media.
The question we should be asking all Democrat politicians is, "Do you know the size of the national debt?"