Jennifer Rubin and the ‘Managed Opposition’ to Antifa
Anyone following Rubin’s writing closely would rightfully find the claim that she is “conservative” laughable.
Two weeks ago I was honored. A group of conservative leaders asked me to sign an appeal. It was aimed at the Washington Post. I’ll paste it below. Why was the cause important? I will explain.
To the Washington Post Editorial Board:
The Washington Post has a credibility problem that has only been exacerbated under President Trump. As the media struggles to regain the trust of the vast majority of Americans, we offer a suggestion for the Post specifically.
As one of the most influential media institutions in the country, the Post’s opinion pages are looked to by many Americans for an accurate representation of the wide range of views regarding our nation’s politics. However, intellectual diversity has been severely lacking at the Post, a phenomenon best exemplified by the dishonest identification of opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin as a “conservative” or a member of the “Right.”
In truth, it is nearly impossible to discern any conservatism in Rubin’s contemporary writing. Since the election of President Donald Trump, she has sided against conservatives on a dizzying array of issues, including:
- Climate change (see, “Paris pullout threat isn’t about the environment or the economy” 5/31/17).
- Gun control (see, “We object to Republicans’ hypocrisy on guns, not ‘thoughts and prayers’” 11/7/17).
- Middle East foreign policy (see, “Trump’s Jerusalem decision is a foreign policy move without purpose” 12/11/17).
- Tax cuts (see, “Repetitively cutting taxes for the rich isn’t the answer” 5/31/18).
- Immigration (see, “Trump is losing the country on immigration” 6/29/18).
- Abortion (see, “Questions every politician will have to answer the day after Roe v. Wade is overturned” 6/29/18).
Most recently, Rubin came out strongly against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, writing that “Kavanaugh simply isn’t the personality type to entrust with our most daunting constitutional issues,” all because he’s been too extensive in denying all the allegations against him (September 25).
The Claim that She is Conservative is Laughable
Anyone following Rubin’s writing closely at this point would rightfully find the claim that she is “conservative” laughable. And yet, she is still regularly touted in the media as a conservative voice — and by your own paper as “reporting from a center-right perspective.”
This issue exemplifies why so many Americans — particularly conservatives — hold a high distrust of the media. How can an average reader take the Post’s opinion section seriously when, of its numerous regular columnists, none can be found which defend the policies of our nation’s elected president?
We, of course, respect the right of The Washington Post to employ whatever writers it pleases — even Jennifer Rubin. However, we ask for the sake of intellectual honesty that the Post cease to identify her as in any way “conservative.” Given the Post’s standing as an important platform for political opinion in our nation’s capital, we also respectfully request that you consider hiring a voice who can eloquently and effectively defend the positions held by our President, his party, and the millions of voters who elected him. We would be happy to provide recommendations.
Given the importance of a free and fair press to our nation and its citizenry, we hope we will soon be able to look to The Washington Post again as a leader in providing a thoughtful and diverse commentary on American politics.
Who Signed This Thing?
The signatories weren’t disgruntled bloggers. They were mostly movers and shakers. And a few common scribblers, like me. Here are the names:
Francis P. Cannon, President, American Principles Project.
Terry Schilling, Executive Director, American Principles Project.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List.
The Honorable Jim DeMint, Chairman, Conservative Partnership Institute.
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.), Executive Vice President, Family Research Council.
Matt Schlapp, Chairman, American Conservative Union.
Brent Bozell III, Founder and President, Media Research Center.
Cleta Mitchell, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP.
Alfred S. Regnery Chairman, Chairman, Conservative Action Project.
Michelle Malkin, Investigative Journalist.
Ginni Thomas, President, Liberty Consulting.
Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman, Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund.
The Honorable Gary L. Bauer, President, American Values.
The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli, President, Senate Conservatives Fund.
Tom McClusky, President, March for Life Action.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks.
Ron Robinson, President, Young America’s Foundation.
Ian Walters, Communications Director, American Conservative Union.
The Honorable Bob McEwen, Former Member, House of Representatives.
Wesley Denton, Former Communications Director, Senator Jim DeMint.
Diana Banister, President and Managing Partner, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs.
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Center for Security Policy.
Still More Luminaries
Ellen Barrosse, Committeewoman, Republican National Committee.
Carolyn McClarty, Committeewoman, Republican National Committee.
George K. Rasley Jr., Managing Editor, ConservativeHQ.com.
Diana West, Journalist and Author.
Eileen J. O’Connor, Former Assistant Attorney General, President George W. Bush.
David Bozell, President, ForAmerica.
Austin Ruse, President, Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam).
Richard Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government.
Alfonso Aguilar, President, Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.
James Simpson, Freelance Investigative Journalist.
George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom.
Allen Roth President Secure America Now.
Craig Shirley, Presidential Historian, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs.
Eunie Smith, President Eagle Forum.
John Zmirak, Senior Editor, The Stream.
Why Raise a Ruckus?
Now why was this topic so important? What got so many prominent figures on board? It’s simple. The left doesn’t want to legitimize real conservative viewpoints. The Antifa wing of the Democratic Party sits in the saddle. It drives the “center” of political discourse. The direction? Ever further to the left. The left’s media allies want to make that stick. But how? It’s simple. They keep moving the goalposts. To smear those of us who don’t keep chasing them. And to label us as “fringe” hacks. Or “extremists.” For what? For holding the same views as Ronald Reagan. They need to mask the leftward lurch. So they must portray us as hurtling toward some deadly radicalism. But we’re just defending the same beliefs we always did.
A Managed Opposition
They can’t face a genuine, thinking, principled “right.” Instead, leftists want a “managed opposition.” Don’t know the term? Soviet bloc governments allowed a few apparently non-Communist parties to exist. To linger, as subjugated junior partners. That gave the fig leaf of pluralism. It let the authorities quash, jail, or institutionalize any genuine critics. Frequently, the leaders of these “opposition” parties were the loudest in damning the real opposition. In Poland, the United People’s Party and the “Democratic Party” did that job. That seems to be the role which Jennifer Rubin has chosen for herself. So have some other Never-Trumpers, like Max Boot and William Kristol. Nice work if you can get it.
But the rest of us stand under no obligation to play along.