The Ballad of Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin sent a strong message today.  She wants Mitt Romney to know that she’s got his back every bit as much as Ann Coulter.

Rubin makes a lot of hay over the fact that Rick Santorum never visited Afghanistan, and has not said that he would go to Afghanistan were he the nominee, a promise that Mitt Romney made a few days ago.  Santorum made a pretty compelling case as to why:

And I’m not too sure making the trip Afghanistan is necessarily anything other than what it looks like: a show. And what I’m looking at is trying to, you know, make sure that we successfully win this nomination

Sounds right to me.  There is nothing to be gained for anyone by the candidates flying to Afghanistan for some pr stunt.  But that’s not how Rubin sees it.

A couple points. First, this interview suggests he may never go to Afghanistan (it’s only a “show”?!).

No, he said he would not likely go as a presidential nominee.  This suggests nothing about his behavior as Commander-in-Chief.  So right off the bat Rubin is reading into Santorum’s comments something that was not said or even implied.

Also, really, what kind of third-rate writer uses an exclamation point and a question mark to make a rhetorical point?

Rubin continues:

It’s virtually inexcusable that a man running for commander in chief and expressing his views on the war would never have bothered to go there. His “well, I was on a committee” is a terrible excuse, confirming that he has a legislative mentality and no real executive leadership experience. In his world, it seems, only what you did inside the Beltway matters.

Yeah, what a negative that actual legislative experience is.  Only a Romney supporter could un-ironically suggest that actual time spent on a Congressional committee, researching the issues and being privy to secret intelligence, is not really quite as sufficient as having made a token appearance in the country.  Oh, and for what it’s worth, Mitt Romney has never traveled to Afghanistan either, and he certainly has the funds to make such a trip.  Sure, he promises to go at a later date, but based on Jennifer Rubin’s own criteria he ought not to express his views on the war until he hops on a plane.

This kind of revelation tends to underscore how limited Santorum’s life experience is. He’s lived most of his professional life inside the Beltway bubble, seeking no counsel and no wider view of politics than his own convictions. He is in this regard a typical legislator (maybe less well traveled than his peers).

Speaking of irony, listen to what Jennifer Rubin is saying.  She claims that Rick Santorum, father of seven, has limited life experience.  In the eyes of Jennifer Rubin, jetting across the world on taxpayer-funded excursions that offer rather limited actual insight is  “life experience.”   And she accuses him of living in a Beltway bubble?

She then complains that Santorum doesn’t have a pack of advisers at his beck and call.  Again, is this really supposed to be a negative?  First of all, I don’t think that Santorum has much of an option.  He’s spent most of the campaign as a drastically under-funded candidate.  Even now that he is making some headway financially in this race, he’s still way behind Romney.  So he doesn’t have the ability to spend a lot of precious money on advisers.  Meanwhile, Mr. Moneybags himself has run far from a flawless campaign, regularly stepping in it with some tin-eared quote that is as bad or even worse than what Rubin is talking about here.

Again, it’s a little rich for Rubin to accuse Santorum of being an egg-headed Beltway insider while offering up advice that sounds like an infomercial for a K-Street firm.

She continues:

Remarking on Santorum’s latest diversion — stepping up the war against pornography

Maybe Jennifer Rubin should shell out a few bucks for some researchers of her own.  If she bothered to reach beyond her own isolated bubble she would have learned that Santorum did no such thing.  As Stacy McCain documented, it was the Daily Caller that decided to run an article on an item appearing on Santorum’s website.  The other two major candidates said almost the exact same thing about pornography as Santorum, but it’s Santorum that’s made to look like the one obsessing over porno.   Furthermore, what is exactly so egregious about his comments anyway?

James Poulos writes in Forbes: “Santorum’s remarkable ability to transform relatively irrelevant issues into politically relevant controversies might keep him under the media spotlight, but actual voters are showing signs of losing interest — fast.

Except for the ones in Tennessee, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and (in all probability) Louisiana.  Evidently it’s not damaging him in such minor outposts as Pennsylvania and Texas, either.

No, I suspect that Santorum’s willingness to tackle serious social issues makes people like James Poulos lose interest.  Actual Republican primary voters?  Not so much.

He observes, “It turns out his porn attack isn’t really about the folly of social-issue campaigning after all. It’s part of an even more regrettable and avoidable pattern of conduct: picking and choosing campaign messages, then failing to weave them into an effective, coherent whole.” And we can add, this pattern is hard to alter without professional advisers and high-quality policy hands.

Except, of course, for the fact that he didn’t choose that particular message as a point of emphasis – the media did.  But don’t let stubborn facts get in the way of a hit piece.

The adviser-less, script-less and focus-less candidate, not surprisingly, is faltering.

If he were truly faltering, you wouldn’t be writing this column, Jennifer.  Your precious Mittens would have sewn the nomination up by now.  Instead, he’s running scared and is leaving it up to sycophants such as yourself to derail his lone remaining credible challenger.  Methinks you protest too much.

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Dante alighieri


  1. Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s tame conservative, is precisely the ideal conservative for the Post. She spends most of her time attacking real conservatives like Santorum on behalf of fake conservative Romney, and her columns are often vacuous and fact allergic. The powers that be at the Washington Post got a real bargain when they hired her: a token conservative who attacks conservatives!

  2. Who is this Jessica Rubin of whom you speak?

    Is this Washington Post something to which to tie your horse and buggie?

  3. a token conservative who attacks conservatives!

    You’ve confounded her with Kathleen Parker.

    I believe her principal employment is with Commentary, who are a fairly trenchant crew. I think the problem here is not the striking of poses but an excess of intramural factionalism and the stupidities you find in commentary about the day’s political ephemera (which is why one should not comment much about what one reads in the newspapers).

  4. Nah Art, I am very clear on who she is, and she isn’t a conservative:

    “As for his comments on prosecuting abortion doctors, this would, I assume, concern the death penalty in states that impose capital punishment for murder. After all, it would be contrary to his views (that unborn children are people under the Constitution) to decide for criminal law purposes that an unborn child is any less a person, and deserving of less protection, than any other person.

    Moreover, if Santorum is going to prosecute doctors for murder there is no logical reason to exempt women from prosecution for conspiracy to murder, right? If she conspired with a doctor to kill a live child, she would not be spared (“otherwise if there’s a law when there’s not an enforcement of the law”). So what exactly is the rationale — that it would be too outrageous to articulate this legal predicament? Well, that’s where his reasoning leads us.”


  5. She is part of the Commentary crew. For the most part, they are concerned with questions of foreign affairs, aspects of the eduction system, and the doings of the media. Some of the folks from that stable are very uncongenial to social conservatives, and some are not.

    Of course, she is not discussing issues abstracted from political competition. Which is to say she expects the red-headed step-children to vote for her boy in November while submitting to serial displays of disrespect from her (among others). You’re right. Flip her the bird.

  6. “if Santorum is going to prosecute doctors for murder there is no logical reason to exempt women from prosecution for conspiracy to murder, right?”

    If I’m not mistaken that WAS the common practice when abortion was illegal prior to Roe — it was the doctor, not the woman, who was prosecuted, and who was subject to losing his license to practice medicine. The woman was seen more or less as a second victim of the crime and the doctor as someone willing to exploit her desperation for his own gain.

    But, it’s also my understanding — and someone with more knowledge can correct me if I’m wrong — that abortionists in the pre-Roe era were NOT prosecuted for murder. An illegal abortionist might be prosecuted for manslaughter or negligent homicide or something similar if the WOMAN died as a result of a botched procedure, but performing an illegal abortion was a stand-alone crime in a class by itself. It was not legally a form of murder or homicide.

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