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Jennifer Rubin column hits power-loving Trump where it hurts

In the old days (meaning pre-Trump), the op-ed pages of the New York Times and Washington Post were dominated by liberals but always included brilliant conservative columnists (for example, William Safire in the Times and George Will in the Post) as part of the mix. Safire has died, but been replaced by Times conservatives like Ross Douthat and David Brooks. But it’s awkward, if that’s the word I want, that none of the designated conservatives will defend Donald Trump. In fact, they pretty much detest him. Will, for example, referred to Trump as “our child president” in a 2018 post-Helsinki-summit column headlined “This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.”

The other leading righty (her column is titled “Right Turn”) among the Post’s regulars is Jennifer Rubin who, likewise, can’t stand Trump and now goes on MSNBC, for example, to denounce Trump and often Republicans in general.

I long since got over my shock at Rubin’s willingness to slam Trump, but sometimes she hits him harder than the lefties do, as in Tuesday’s column, headlined: “Trump’s pitiful powerlessness,” hitting the power-loving Trump where it hurt, with lines like this (Rubin’s full first paragraph):

The full impact of divided government, improved media coverage, the departure of any competent staff and President Trump’s fecklessness have transformed him into a floundering lame duck. His Oval Office address, immediately fact-checked, persuaded no one. Without a Republican-majority House or a visible Senate majority leader (we’ll need one of those bloodhounds to track down Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), Trump flails against reality. The lies (terrorists are coming over the border!) are harder to sustain, a useful target is not readily available (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tied him up in knots), and he has done something so stupid and harmful to his own voters (who are among those not getting paid and not getting government services) that even the illusion of “winning” cannot be sustained.

Rubin’s second paragraph ends with three words. Well actually one word, three times:

“Weak, weak, weak.”

I won’t say I felt sorry for the guy, but it’s pertnear the closest I’ve come to it.

The full “Right Turn” “pitiful powerlessness” Rubin column is here.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/16/2019 - 10:23 am.

    There are elements of the conservative GOP movement that want to survive after Trump.

    Mitt Romney trying to be the moral voice of the party.

    The newly fostered repudiation of Steve King.

    And I really believe that William Barr is being sent in by the GOP to keep the lid on that which is specifically damaging to the GOP. What else to make that craven opinion application specifically designed to appeal to Trump, which was so unlikely given his legal background, but which brought him the AG nomination. As a person who has given almost $800,000 to Republican candidate and supported Jeb, the pairing with Trump seemed unlikely. But in the preservation of the party from the coming deluge, his motivation for the post becomes more understandable.

    Of course, what will we know of that which is deemed secret?

    William Barr speaking of Mueller team…“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party,”

    Pot & Kettle

  2. Submitted by John Webster on 01/16/2019 - 10:46 am.

    Jennifer Rubin is no longer in any way a conservative. She was asked recently on which issues she is conservative, and she refused to answer the question. I admit that there are few genuinely conservative pundits who approve of Trump’s personal behavior and the way he generally conducts himself; I myself find him deeply off-putting. But there are thoughtful conservatives who support many of his policies: judicial appointments, tax cuts, abortion, immigration, etc. The NYT, WP, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and almost all other media outlets would do well to publish an actual diversity of opinion rather than the near total one-sided spectrum that they currently allow their readers to see.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/16/2019 - 11:14 am.

      Have you ever stopped to think that, perhaps, it is you who are ‘no longer in any way’ a conservative? If you both describe yourself as conservative and each say the other isn’t, clearly you are both operating from a different perspective. The problem with your “thoughtful conservatives” argument is that none of the blatant racism, misogyny, criminality, mendacity, self-dealing and graft, and outright authoritarianism, were seen as deal-breakers… all issues that I would consider to be anti-conservative (little ‘c’ conservative), right? I mean, you find him “off-putting” but will accept equivocation on american Nazis (very fine people on both sides!) and his supplication to Vladimir Putin in every possible circumstance. No, like so many Republicans, you made a faustian bargain for short-term gain, and were willing to sacrifice the ideals of American integrity, honor, and decency in order to pack the courts.

      Rubin has a history of articles and opinions that can be reviewed to determine their ideological drift over time. She is just attempting to conserve whatever will there ever was in Republican circles to actually safeguard a democracy.

      • Submitted by Roy Everson on 01/16/2019 - 12:06 pm.

        Like many words over a period of time the meaning changes. We don’t use the word “reactionary” unfortunately, even though the Republican party has been taken over by them. Because erstwhile conservatives gladly welcomed reactionaries (also known as “deplorables”) into their tent to boost their numbers the reactionaries thought they were part of a “movement.” Now they all think they are “conservatives.” They despise the 20th century types who still cling to the bygone definition. A modern conservative may not be a reactionary but is happy to make political bedfellows with them. Any other type of “conservative” is out of luck because there is no political home for them.

      • Submitted by Gary Fredrickson on 01/16/2019 - 08:54 pm.

        A rating of Rubin by AllSides which uses a broad spectrum of Americans blindly rating articles says she leans left. Big deal. someone who leans left hates Trump.

        • Submitted by Gary Fredrickson on 01/16/2019 - 09:03 pm.

          The real question should probably be, “Why is someone who leans left considered to lean right by the Washington Post.”

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/17/2019 - 09:03 am.

            The real question is why is it so important to keep score? Can’t we just read what someone writes and judge the quality of their arguments, without first knowing what their “leanings” are?

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/17/2019 - 09:36 am.

              First we’ve got to know what tribe they’re in.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/17/2019 - 09:52 am.

                I recall someone on the radio who, for some reason, exercises a great deal of influence within the Republican Party, mocking Michele Bachmann for her idea to partition Iraq. When someone in the studio reminded the bloviator that Rep. Bachmann was a Republican, he stopped short and decided the idea might not be so ridiculous after all.

                The Tribe decides if you’re right or wrong.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/16/2019 - 12:05 pm.

      What has happened to traditional conservatives is that today, they must choose between supporting the toddler in the White House at every turn of his whims or concluding that their intellectual and ethical integrity demands that they become that toddler’s strongest critics. From the right.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/16/2019 - 12:14 pm.

      I find the quickness to declare who is a RINO or who is or is not a conservative a strange concept.

      To quote a song…Who died and made you king?

      Such immediate casting out of any doubter and rejecting all doubt of your favored one is a prime characteristic of authoritarianism.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 01/16/2019 - 01:09 pm.

      I’m so tired of conservatives whining about media bias. Conservatism has morphed into complete paranoia. The GOP has concluded that facts are far too damaging to their ideology and instead, have embarked on a crusade to replace them with outright lies “Alternative facts” or this gem from Giuliani ” the truth isn’t the truth.”
      No, Mr. Webster, you’re angry that the “mainstream media” doesn’t buy into your version of events. You’re angry that every rant from some conservative talking head turned out to be a bust.

  3. Submitted by Bill Mantis on 01/16/2019 - 04:40 pm.

    I’m a frequent viewer of MSNBC and it’s heartening to see so many “former conservatives” turn against what has now become the Trumpublican Party: Jennifer Rubin, Nicole Wallace, David Frum, George Will, Max Boot, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, Michael Steele, Bill Kristol , to name a few. I’ve put former conservatives in quotes, since they’ve all been quite consistent in their ideology. It’s the Trumpublicans who have left the conservative movement. “Conservative” is no longer an appropriate term. “Crazy” would be better.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/21/2019 - 08:35 am.

    It’a all a matter of perspective. No one who would support Trump could possibly be “brilliant” in any possible way, although they may be partisan. Even the “smart” conservatives like the one’s Eric points to always have significant intellectual deficits and or integrity deficits. For instance when they REALLY want to pretend to have some academic integrity they point to guys like Charles Murray (the “Bell Curve”) guy and they’re associated think tanks. Anyone with real intellectual integrity knows that this is garbage academic that start with conclusions and work backwards. Whatever.

    The expectation that Liberals would support Democrats and Conservatives would support Republicans is kind of goofy to begin with since the Democrats abandoned liberalism in favor of centrism (until recently) and Republican’s abandoned conservatives in favor of Fascism. Parties may be partisan, but human being are not, Parties are artificial constructs, not existential realities.

    It’s nice to see conservative writers critical of Trump, but what’s REALLY nice is the possibility that the new crop of conservative writers like Rubin might have some intellectual integrity. Perhaps Rubin understands the basic fact that debate games wherein conservatives argue for Republicans can produce little more than intellectual garbage?

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