Standing on a stage, before an audience, the light shines brightly in her face. Grinning from ear to ear, Jennifer Rubin begins the daily act she has perfected since well before Donald Trump was even the Republican nominee.
Taking any conservative thought or idea she has come across, she invokes easy rhetoric to try to tear it down before the crowd. But the scene before her is an obscene one. She doesn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, she seems pleased that this is the crowd for which she is performing.
The crowd is a group of journalists, sycophants, and self-styled True Conservatives who have taken to insulting every other conservative who does not see eye-to-eye with their anti-Trumpism. Even those who are Trump skeptical, but not one hundred percent against all things Trump, are viewed very negatively in the eyes of this crowd. It is not the crowd itself that is obscene, but rather how they look.
They are sitting upside down in their chairs. It is an odd sight on its own, but it is the pre-show ritual they all partake in that becomes troublesome. Each and every one of them has, very carefully, very gently, placed their entire heads inside their rectums, laughing along with each and every dull quip Rubin cares to toss out.
She is not performing to persuade anyone. That act is exhausting. It requires much more effort. But this? Simply regurgitating the same, tired rhetoric over and over to a crowd who only likes you because you say what they want to hear? That is the perfect job.
This has been Rubin’s act since the Tea Party era of conservatism rose. It was easier to attack Ted Cruz and other outspoken conservatives because everyone else you follow, like, and hang out with does the same and wants to hear you do it. There is something calming about the acceptance from the crowd. The adoration you get from television spots on MSNBC, and a regular column at one of the most prestigious newspapers in the nation.
In order to justify her existence, she needs to be a conservative saying all these things. That’s why she still calls herself a “conservative columnist” on Twitter. That’s what makes her different than the otherwise dime-a-dozen commentators who exist in that world. She can claim to be on the other side of the aisle, but she isn’t. She might have been once, but years of striving to fit in with the rest of that media world have left her, at best, a shell of a commentator with no real ideology other than to regurgitate the same tired talking points the rest of them use.
To claim, for example, that Nancy Pelosi calling Donald Trump morbidly obese makes Pelosi a national treasure? Cheap. Uninspired. But it is certainly what everyone she knows wants to see her tweet out. That makes it okay, right?
The commentary class in the national press is filled with people like Rubin. Cheap vaudevillians performing for the frothing Resistance. There is no intellectual challenge from any of them, because they are so sure that they are right they don’t feel the need to actually take the other side seriously.
It is possible to forgive dishonest partisanship. They do what they can in order to win. They have something to fight for. Likewise, honest brokers on each side are a breath of fresh air, regardless of ideology. But Rubin and her ilk are not in either category. They merely act the part of a partisan and put no real effort into it.