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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Jennifer Rubin, worst pundit of 2015

In awarding Scott Adams pundit of the year for 2015, I cited his insight into the surprising rise of Donald Trump.

So who was the worst?

Jennifer Rubin.

Not because I disagree with her, or because she trashed Trump (let he who has not taken a poke at The Donald's pompadour cast the first water balloon) but because Jennifer Rubin attacked his supporters for not following her carefully written script. Nope, nope, nope. Attack the man, not his fans. As Carl Perkins wrote, and Elvis sang:
You can burn my house
Steal my car
Drink my liquor
From an old fruit jar
Do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh, honey
Lay off of my shoes
And don't you
Step on my blue suede shoes
Well, you can do anything
But stay off of my blue suede shoes
Trump supporters are his blue suede shoes.

Of course, Miss Rubin is not alone in being wrong about Trump, or sneering at his supporters. I want to tell her fellow Beltway Boys and Girls just because you are paid to write a column or talk your head off on TV does not mean you are wiser, morally superior, or cooler than Trump's supporters. A college diploma no more makes you no better than the person without one. It simply means you spent four years trying to figure out what you were going to do with the rest of your life. Trump supporters are your customers. Don't dump on them. Believe it or not, people don't like being called stupid.

The temptation to think she is smarter than the total sum of humanity -- or at least Trump supporters -- is greater for her than the rest of us, for Jennifer Rubin graduated first in her class at law school at the University of California-Berkeley. She divulged this tidbit when Trump said she had a "low IQ" -- after she trashed Trump. Fine. Trade trash talk. But she keeps letting the food fight spill over to Trump's supporters. And fighting his fans keeps her from seeing what is going on.

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post trashed Trump's supporters today:
It's this faction that brought us to the era of Donald Trump, the utter debasement of politics and the celebration of impulsive, aggressive sentiments in place of reasoned political debate. It's not much of a leap from Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" to Trump's misogynistic tirades. While the subject matter may be different, the sophomoric escapade to shut down the government or calls to defy the Supreme Court's rulings are just one step away from Trump's stupid scheme to charge Mexico for each illegal immigrant. It's all of a piece — high-testosterone rhetoric percolating in a toxic brew of xenophobia and willful ignorance. It's not surprising that the predecessors of Trumpism in the GOP presidential race — e.g., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas — are not only afraid to take him on but also have been eclipsed by him.
Testosterone? Really? Being male is evil in Rubinland? Maybe she was tripping out on estrogen when she went there. There, how's that feel? It is pretty difficult to complain about "the utter debasement of politics" and then go after a person's manhood.

And she also wrote in today's column:
Serious conservatives who dabbled in Trumpism now see its full flowering. Less serious conservative racketeers (e.g., the groups who cheered the shutdown) see the limitations of its appeal and its embarrassing attributes.
Conservative racketeers? Oh how dare they make a racket and embarrass Rubin in front of all her Washington Post colleagues by actually standing up for a balanced budget. I guess Newt Gingrich isn't a "serious conservative" either. Maybe she can publish a list of serious conservatives for future reference. That way I will know who to avoid at a party.

Rubin is a tad frustrated. On July 22, 2015, she wrote:
Donald Trump’s self-destruction will soon manifest itself in his drop in the polls. The problem remains for those GOP voters still seeking a candidate who is a viable alternative to Jeb Bush. It is not likely to be Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has been outshone by more credible candidates and again showed bad judgment in trying to ingratiate himself with Trump. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. seems practically irrelevant to the race, and his preference to let the Obama administration negotiate with Iran rather than press for sanctions may be the death knell of his effort.
Who benefits? Marco Rubio, for one, but also:
In the aftermath of the Trump train wreck, former Texas governor Rick Perry may also grab a large share of disaffected Republicans. He has avoided pandering on the Confederate battle flag, has been critical but sober on the gay marriage decision and has stood up to Trump well before the latter attacked a war hero. He smacked him down when he called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” and on “Meet the Press” he gave no quarter: “I don’t think he has the character or the temperament to hold the highest position in this country.” Key to his campaign will be showing how his long and successful governorship make him a better contestant than younger, less experienced and less accomplished contenders.
Governor Perry was the first of the 17 candidates to drop out.

On August 31, 2015, she again wrote Trump and his supporters off:
Everyone would be advised to take a deep breath. Check the calendar (it’s still August). Remember who Trump supporters are. As Ramesh Ponnuru noted: “Take away the celebrity-besotted, the non-voters, and the single-issue opponents of immigration, and you’re left with a group of conservatives who deeply dislike what they see as a spineless Republican establishment. These voters never determine the nominee, because too many of them waste their passion on hopeless candidates, such as Ben Carson, Michele Bachmann ... Donald Trump.”
Already in the Des Moines Register poll, the most reliable Iowa poll available, Trump lead is down to a mere five points over Carson. Considering how Trump has dominated the airwaves, it’s not an impressive poll for him.
His lead is down to five points. See? He's a loser. Two months after he announced in a field of 17, he leads the pack only by 5 in Iowa. Great expert political insights are a specialty in D.C.

Her hope for America in that column?
While the media delight in taking whacks at Jeb Bush, he has only just begun to sharpen his rhetoric. He has the resources to use paid media to tell his own story and change the race’s dynamic, provided he avoids bobbles, steers clear of further staff bickering and focuses attacks on areas where others are weak. His super PAC has gobs of money to begin telling his story. (And truth be told, he’d rather Trump be taking up the oxygen than see a more viable alternatives gain traction.)
On October 8, 2015, Rubin wrote Trump off. Polls showed his lead is slipping:
The polling trend is unmistakable. Henry Olsen yesterday explained: “Donald Trump’s support has declined nationally since my last post about ten days ago. Since then (September 28), four national polls and thirteen (!) new state polls have been released. … Trump’s national average has dropped five points from 24 percent to 19 percent. Moreover, only one of the four polls released recently has him above the 24 percent average he carried into October.” He is not an acquired taste. Whoever does not like him by now likely is not going to wake up, learn the reality TV star is in the race and decide he’s the guy. (“He does better among men and moderates, worse among women and conservatives. He is most popular, however, among Tea Partiers and very-conservative voters and least popular among moderates, the same pattern we saw previously. Moderates either love him or hate him: There’s not much in between.”)
You understand the dilemma. Trump needs fanatical voters who don’t care about consistent conservative principles. That’s a very narrow group, since high-intensity voters usually care about ideology. There is a market for this, however. It’s the talk radio audience — populist, xenophobic and anti-government. It turns out — no surprise to Right Turn readers — that this is a small fragment of the GOP.
A small fragment that is twice the size of anyone else's small fragments.

She ended that column:
We suggested that Trump’s standing in the polls was artificially high during the silly summer season for politics, boosted by 24/7 coverage and the result of many unserious, non-GOP primary voters looking up briefly to see an angry man act. For Trump, however, the drop in the polls is more dangerous than for another candidate whose polls might sag at some point. The entire ethos of Trump is that he’s a winner and everyone else is a loser. As soon as he isn’t the leader in some polls (about which he constantly brags these days), the air rushes out of the Trump balloon. And if he actually loses a primary or caucus, well, fuggedaboudit.
And yet, he flourishes while Jeb flounders, and seems on his way to foundering.

On October 27, 2015, Jennifer Rubin wrote:
Last week was not a good week for Donald Trump. His 9/11 story evoked significant criticism not just from other candidates but also from the wider conservative audience, which is angry he is blaming President George W. Bush for the al-Qaida attack that was allowed to develop during the Clinton years.
Then (whether there is causality is unknowable) there are two near-identical Iowa polls showing Ben Carson at 28 percent, crushing Trump (who falls to 20 and 19, respectively, in the Quinnipiac poll and the highly reliable Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll.) That is the first significant sign that the Trump balloon is losing air.
When after the San Bernardino massacre, The Donald called for halting Muslim immigration until we could screen them better, Jennifer Rubin leaped into action to condemn him:
No one should have been surprised by Trump's spasm of hatred. On Monday afternoon, a Monmouth poll showing him slipping to second place in Iowa came out. Trump's narcissism, one can imagine, prompted him to wrench back the limelight, as he has done in the past when falling off the media radar screen. His favorite technique is appealing to anger, fear and bigotry. So we get the Muslim ban. But we should not be surprised for another reason. This past summer, as soon as he went after Hispanic immigrants as criminals — and many in the party were mute or defensive — we knew he'd play the bigotry card whenever convenient. If he was willing to go after Hispanics, then POWs and women, surely he would have no problem directing his venom toward Muslims.
Those in talk radio, micro-blogs and even mainstream conservative publications who showed interest in him and even admiration for him share some of the responsibility for creating the Trump phenomenon. And even if they are not conservatives or even voting Republicans, the people who turn out at his events have built up a dangerous demagogue who sullies the reputation of his party and his country.
Like I said, fine, he's fair game. But she ended the piece with a swipe at Trump's supporters:
Mainstream Republicans need to assert themselves, wrest back control of the party and elect a respectable nominee. Cruz does not want to ruffle the feathers of the mob, but more responsible and principled Republicans should call on voters to be better, wiser and kinder than Trump. Otherwise, the 2016 election will be lost and (deservedly) the GOP will be on the brink of collapse.
The mob?


And people get angry when we call them elitist snobs.

Now nobody is perfect. We all screw up. But her losing streak this year is highlighted by a seething loathing of Trump supporters that borders on irrationality. Frankly, it blinded her to what was going on.

She should try this in 2016: Save the vitriol for liberals. Leave the stereotyping of conservatives as bigoted in-bred hillbillies to the rest of the staff at the Washington Post. If she must vent her spleen, she should try something new, say, taking a swipe at people who still believe anyone named Clinton.


  1. I believe that her womandate at the WaPo is to present and comment on conservatives and the conservative point of view. Doing a poor job of that, though not surprising, wearing those inside-the-beltway goggles. At the WaPo.

    1. Womandate! Ha Ha! Took me a minute

    2. Not trademarked nor copyrighted. It just struck me as the best word to make up and use. FEEL FREE to use it as you wish.

    3. "Inside the Beltway"? No. Her husband gets transferred to Atlanta, she' still be writing this crap. Whose a fine example of a Vichy conservative (which Jennifer Rubin, though wrong, is not)? Kathleen Parker, who has spent pretty much her entire life in central Florida and South Carolina.

  2. Good job of fisking her, Don. You should write an annual end-of-the-year Hall of Shame post. She is the first inductee.

    1. Jennifer who? Still, these fringy voices need to be fisked occasionally!

  3. She should take a swipe at the politiclowns whose antics ignoring the concerns of the middle and working class voters provide Trump with his support.

    -Mikey NTH

  4. JR is embarrassed wearing the conservative tiara given her by WaPo but it is shiney and sets her apart so she won't take it off. Trump is dear to his supporters because he is the implacable unrepentant enemy of their enemies. They love him for it. He reminds me of a Roman politican of the first century BC, friendly but ruthless. He is too much for Jen and her crowd, just too much.

    1. No, the woman is who she is and who she has always been: a business Republican with the tastes and preferences of the educated bi-coastal bourgeoisie, with some riffs that you'd expect of a secular Jew. Trump's unacceptable because he appeals to a vernacular sensibility and he's against open borders; Huckabee's out because he is simply a stranger to people like Rubin in his interests, emphases, and idiom, as is Santorum in large measure. Cruz and Paul are unacceptable for ideological and programmatic reasons.

  5. Reading of such elitist pseudo-intellectual fools as this woman makes one wish all the more to see Trump win. Can you imagine the stunned reaction? "But nobody I know believes in him..."

  6. Reads like Trump was right about her IQ. The real problem is these people - the clerisy class, sit around and talk to each other, nodding agreement about how bright, insightful and knowledgeable they are and the actual fear they have should they ever have a contrary thought or idea. The clerisy class consists of most of the politicians, academics and the reportage/commentate in America today. These people have no concept of how America really works.

    1. She has plenty of IQ. Her problem is intellectual inbreeding and substituting wishing for analysis because of emotional commitments. Makes you wonder if she was a lousy lawyer to her clients for this reason.

  7. If they'd get out way outside the beltway and talk to people, they wouldn't be surprised by this. Amazed, yes, They might also find out in what low-to-zero esteem they and their papers/TV-networks are held in.

  8. Instapundit quit linking to her. That says it all.

    1. Prof. Reynolds is (like Thomas Sowell) a libertarian who believes that the enjoyment of liberty requires public order and vigorous law enforcement. The modal type among libertarians has a Spicoli-like hostility to law enforcement. An aspect of order maintenance for both men is immigration enforcement. Rubin and the rest of the Commentary crowd are dogmatically in favor of serial amnesties.

  9. I quit listening/reading Jennifer Rubin about 2006, when she jumped the shark on something Bush Jr. did. I know she wants Jeb to be president, but nobody outside the Beltway does. Jeb is tainted horseflesh, but no one inside the Beltway can accept this. He was never a "favorite" of anyone else.

  10. She quit practicing law some time ago.

    Jennifer Rubin is a component of the social nexus around clan Podhoretz. The clan matriarch was in her day (and still, on occasion) an insightful social critic and papa Podhoretz managed to issue an engaging if unprofitable publication. The trouble has been that that particular social nexus was not self-replicating. When papa Podhoretz retired, he turned over the editorship to an undistinguished staff editor who had been employed at the magazine since he was 23 years old. When that man retired, the publication was turned over to Podhoretz-fils, who is a capable book reviewer but has few other manifest talents. Podhoretz-fils has assembled around him a collection of contributors notable for its geriatric skew (only one of them is younger than the age median of the workforce and most are over 55), subultural particularity (pretty much all Jewish, even though the American Jewish Committee has cut the publication loose), and a habit of reflexive condescention (manifest in Jonathan Tobin in particular). Rubin cut her teeth as a pundit in this crowd (though her contract with the Post does not permit her to moonlight at Commentary. One of the axioms favored by this crew is the inevitablity of OPEN BORDERS and the foolishness of anyone who dissents. What you're looking at is the result of a generation of intellectual inbreeding. Screw 'em.

    1. I don't understand the Jewish obsession with open borders. Do they not comprehend that white American Christians are the most philosemitic people in the world? If they ruin America, there is nowhere left for them to go but Israel, where they will all conveniently be in one place for all their many enemies.

  11. You're bound to fail more often than not if you're foolish enough to make categorical predictions. Still, the stubborn and repetitive failure here stupefies. Seven candidates remaining in the race have enlarged their observable body of supporters since July and four have lost support. The four imploding are Sen. Santorum (who had precious little to begin with), Sen. Paul, Gov. Huckabee, and Gov. Bush (JR's choice). In the case of Gov. Huckabee and Gov. Bush, 2/3 of those declaring a preference for them have decamped elsewhere. Given his fundraising and brand, that's not merely a loss, it's a humiliation.

    About 42% of the polled respondents have shifted their preference to one of the seven improving candidates. The distribution of these is as follows:

    40% to Trump
    30% to Cruz
    20% to Rubio or Carson
    10% to Christie, Kasich, or Fiorina.

    The two she made a point of trashing have improved their absolute and relative position in the last 5 months more than any other. You really have to put some sweat and ingenuity into it to be this wrong. Good show, JR.

  12. She is no conservative quite like Weigel the original JournOlister the WAPO only hires lefties to pose as conservatives and they do a bad acting job.

    1. No no no. There is no reason to believe that Jennifer Rubin is anything but what she appears to be: an haut bourgeois, secular business Republican. She has a mess of issues with other occupants of the Republican omnibus and is quite plain about that.

      The problem with Weigel is that he was hired as a supposedly sympathetic reporter for a conservatives-in-the-mist column and the Journ-O-List posts revealed that he actually despised the people on his beat and held quite crude and stupid opinions about him.