Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has invested considerable energy in creating a specific political "brand": he's the young one in the Republican presidential field, offering a fresh, modern perspective, untethered to old assumptions and stale, 20th-century ideas.
It would be a far more compelling pitch if there weren't such a chasm between the message and the messenger. Consider, for example, the Republican senator's latest interview with radical TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, Rubio warned that gay marriage represents "a real and present danger" to America because gay rights advocates are bent on labeling any anti-gay messages, including those from churches, as "hate speech."
It stands to reason that when a GOP presidential candidate sits down for an interview with a televangelist's outlet, he or she is going to take some pretty hard lines in the hopes of impressing the religious right movement. But I'll admit to being a little surprised by just how far Rubio was willing to go with CBN.
"We are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech, because today we've reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater," Rubio argued with a straight face.
"So what's the next step after that? After they're done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. And that's a real and present danger."
No, actually, it's not. In fact, it's rather alarming to hear a leading candidate for national office share such paranoia out loud and on camera.