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DoubleQuoting Rubio and Obama

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — one fault-line in current American political tectonics runs through the age of the planet ]

I thought Daniel Engber‘s piece in Slate doublequoted Rubio and Obama very nicely the other day:

The top quote is from Sen. Rubio, the second from then-Sen. Obama, and indeed, they both hedge their bets, as Engber goes on to suggest:

1) Both senators refuse to give an honest answer to the question. Neither deigns to mention that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old.

2) They both go so far as to disqualify themselves from even pronouncing an opinion. I’m not a scientist, says Rubio. I don’t presume to know, says Obama.

3) That’s because they both agree that the question is a tough one, and subject to vigorous debate. I think there are multiple theories out there on how this universe was created, says Rubio. I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part, says Obama.

4) Finally they both profess confusion over whether the Bible should be taken literally. Maybe the “days” in Genesis were actual eras, says Rubio. They might not have been standard 24-hour days, says Obama.

In light of these concordances, to call Rubio a liar or a fool would be to call our nation’s president the same …


I don’t however think Engber is right in saying of Sen. Rubio — and by implication of Pres. Obama too:

By arguing that every viewpoint has a claim to truth — that the geologists and theologians are each entitled to their own opinions — the senator gave up on dealing with reality at all.

This runs deeper than the “age of the earth” question, it seems to me, and the two sides currently facing off on a whole slate of issues seem to articulate, respectively, these two questions

  • Doesn’t anyone recognize the truth of Revelation when they see it?
  • Doesn’t anyone recognize the truth of Science when they see it?
  • My own question — which I think has the capacity to reconcile the two — would be along the lines of:

  • Doesn’t anyone recognize the truth of Poetry when they see it?
  • **

    An afterthought:

    Current American political tectonics: an issue of homeland security?

    New Article at Pragati: Beyond the Affair

    Friday, November 23rd, 2012

    I have a short piece up at Pragati – The Indian National Interest that attempts to put the latest scandal in context for their audience:

    Beyond the affair: Why the Petraeus Affair really matters 

    ….It was not to be. Instead of quieting down, the Petraeus scandal blossomed like a fireball, engulfing General John Allen, USMC, the commander of NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, subsequently merging with the already rancorous dispute between the Obama administration and Congress over the investigation of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The administration, which had hoped the resignation would preclude Petraeus from testifying, saw Senators and Congressmen, angry that the FBI had failed to properly inform them, compel the former CIA director to come before closed door hearings of the intelligence committees. In secret testimony, Petraeus revealed, contrary to the administration’s position, that UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial Benghazi talking points from the CIA had later been “edited”, leaving Republican senators furious and determined to block any nomination of Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

    If the reaction to the Petraeus scandal, which did not appear to involve any official misconduct, were merely another symptom of the normal partisan political dysfunction in Washington, the matter would have already faded. Unfortunately, the timing of the scandal in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election and symbolic nature of General Petraeus himself, having been lionised for his leadership role in two still-controversial wars, has served as a catalyst, inflaming existing divisions and pointing to the potential of long term effects upon the conduct of American policy, unfolding for some time to come and likely for the worse.

    Here is a brief survey of the fault lines…. 

    Read the rest here.


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