I have long thought that Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioTop Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Rubio defends Trump: 'This whole flip-flop thing is a political thing' Rubio: Shutdown would have 'catastrophic impact' on global affairs MORE (R-Fla.) could well be the next Republican star waiting to emerge. Rubio certainly has the presidential bug. Unfortunately for Republicans, he also has the Republican bug of being so beholden to or afraid of the far right that he cannot even accept basic notions of modern science. My advice to Rubio would be to spend more time getting his facts and issues straight and less time traveling to Iowa before he is ready. Al GoreAl GoreOvernight Energy: Greens sue Trump over Keystone XL | House passes EPA science bill Overnight Tech: Trump's tech budget - Cyber gets boost; cuts for NASA climate programs | FTC faces changes under Trump | Trump to meet with Bill Gates Trump's NASA budget cuts earth, climate science programs MORE is right. Science matters. Rubio is wrong. Science matters. Chris Christie is right. Common sense and political civility matter.

Rubio's nascent presidential campaign is off to a bad start. Many thoughtful Republicans were hoping he would offer an alternative to the far-right denial faction, but he has done the opposite. He is paying homage to it. This is a formula for Republicans being a minority party for a long time. Many of these same thoughtful Republicans are privately turning their attention to another Floridian, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and to the increasingly popular Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who understands the dangers of extreme ideology and the appeal of political civility.

Al Gore has made an enormous contribution to our national discourse on matters ranging from climate change to new technologies. It is amazing that any Republican could still deny climate change with new scientific proof emerging daily and events unfolding before our eyes. It is equally amazing that Republicans still don't get it. A party of birthers, climate-change deniers and science deniers is a party that will keep losing and never lead.

Either Rubio will offer a clear alternative to the ideologues who drag Republicans down or he will contribute to another defeat like Republicans suffered in 2006, 2008 and 2012.