In defense of Jennifer Rubin — and thinking outside the box


Politico’s Ben Smith has a nuanced and engaging profile up of Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s conservative blogger.

Its crux is that Rubin is of a new generation of Republican, more than willing to break Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment (do not slam fellow Republicans).

Rubin has little time for solidarity when it means that candidates inadequate to the job of defeating President Obama are allowed to emerge unscathed. Her particular bete noir is Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Almost any other reporter, or even partisan blogger, might have pulled a punch on the man who seemed, for a moment, likely to be her party’s presidential nominee, and perhaps the next president. But Rubin, 49, who published her first piece of journalism in 2007 after a career doing legal work for Hollywood studios, makes no pretense of either formal neutrality or party loyalty.

“I don’t have a loyalty in the same way that many conservative writers do that they feel hesitant or constrained about criticizing conservatives,” she said.

Smith quotes conservatives who are frustrated with this approach, and frankly, the heat gets a little personal — the lipstick reference by Dan Riehl is ugly on multiple levels.

That’s true also of the follow up to Smith’s piece, for instance, this retort by Big Journalism’s John Nolte, who accuses Rubin of deviating from dogma because she is a narcissist.

Rubin isn’t a conservative and she’s not even a liberal, she’s a Rubin-ite. She’s all about herself. Everything is always about Jennifer Rubin and to hell with the bigger moral world she inhabits that demands we realize there actually are some things more important than showing off how “independent” and “intellectually honest” we are.

Joel Pollak (who has been a friend of this blog) politely rebuts his Big Journalism colleague, and makes the keen point that free markets are about winnowing the quality from the not so quality.

There are plenty of conservatives who are, like Rubin, critical of some of the social or foreign policy views that have emerged among the Republican presidential candidates.

I don’t think a single one of them wants to see Barack Obama re-elected. On the contrary, they want to see the best possible challenger emerge from the pack.

At this stage, I don’t think conservative writers should feel obliged to hold back about the candidates–or each other–when we disagree.


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