There’s a joke told in the old days by British infantry officers about cavalry officers, whom they considered aristocratic but dim. (It was also told by Naval officers about Marine officers, by Englishmen in general about Irishmen, and by Irishmen about Kerrymen.)
“Have you heard about the cavalry officer who was so stupid that the others started to notice?”
How crazy is Never Trumper neocon pundit Jennifer Rubin? So crazy that even Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review is beginning to notice.
Cooke doesn’t care much for the President, and has contempt for his conservative supporters, saying that
“Since the summer of 2015, the many acolytes of “MAGA!” have agreed to subordinate their true views to whatever expediency is required to sustain Donald Trump’s ego. Out has gone their judgement, and in has come their fealty; where once there were thriving minds, now there are just frayed red hats. ” [Jennifer Rubin Is Everything She Hates about Trump Worshippers, NRO, December 18, 2017 ]
However Jennifer Rubin [email her]is example of the reverse—something Cooke partly blames on Trump, calling it the result of the “president’s remarkable talent for corrupting his detractors as well as his devotees”.
During the same period, Jennifer Rubin has done much the same thing. If Trump likes something, Rubin doesn’t. If he does something, she opposes it. If his agenda flits into alignment with hers—as anyone’s is wont to do from time to time—she either ignores it, or finds a way to downplay it. The result is farcical and sad; a comprehensive and self-inflicted airbrushing of the mind. How, I have long wondered, could Trump’s unprincipled acolytes do what they do and still sleep at night? How can Jen Rubin?
If Trump is indeed a tyrant, he is a tyrant of the mind. And how potent is the control he exerts over Rubin’s. So sharp and so sudden are her reversals as to make effective parody impossible. When President Obama agreed to the Paris Climate Accord, Rubin left her readers under no illusions as to the scale of her disapproval. The deal, she proposed, was “ephemeral,” “a piece of paper,” “a group wish,” a “nonsense” that would achieve “nothing.” That the U.S. had been made a party to a covenant so “devoid of substance,” she added, illustrated the “fantasy world” in which the Obama administration lived, and was reflective of Obama’s preference for “phony accomplishments,” his tendency to distract, and his base’s craven willingness to eat up any “bill of goods” they were served. At least it did until President Trump took America out of it, at which point adhering to the position she had theretofore held became a “senseless act,” a “political act,” “a dog whistle to the far right,” and “a snub to ‘elites’” that had been calibrated to please the “climate-change denial, right-wing base that revels in scientific illiteracy” (a base that presumably enjoyed Rubin’s blog until January 20th, 2017). To abandon the “ephemeral” “piece of paper,” Rubin submitted, would “materially damage our credibility and our persuasiveness” and represent conduct unbecoming of “the leader of the free world.” One is left wondering how, exactly, any president is supposed to please her.
By not being Donald Trump, apparently. That’s nothing to the head-spinning craziness of her position on Trump and Jerusalem.
Or, rather, one is left concluding that Rubin doesn’t have policy positions so much as she has protean cheerleading instructions, the details of which are set by whoever happens at that moment to be her coach. Take Jerusalem, a subject on which Rubin has rather run the gamut. In 2010, she praised Marco Rubio for arguing that “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, as the U.S. Congress has repeatedly recognized” and lauded the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 as the concrete on which Republicans should walk. Two years later, in the midst of her self-appointed tenure as the president of Mitt Romney’s fan club, she reversed herself, hitting Newt Gingrich for holding precisely the view she had previously recommended, while endorsing Romney for his relative “judgment, restraint and . . . good sense” in opposing her. “It really is time,” she submitted, “to stop promising something that the U.S. can’t and shouldn’t deliver unilaterally.” A few weeks later, when Romney began to sound more hawkish, she endorsed his new position, too, holding it up as “a blow to the Obama campaign’s frantic efforts to defend the president’s hostile stance toward the Jewish state,” and insisting that,
Of course, Jerusalem is the capital. It was declared so in 1948. The Knesset is there. The disposition of its borders is a matter for final status negotiation, but only an uninformed or virulently insensitive administration would be unable to distinguish the two.This stance lasted into the Trump era. In June, Rubin complained angrily that the White House was “delaying its move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” a delay, Rubin wrote, that was not only pointless—“presidents come to believe that the move would somehow prejudice peace talks (of which there are none presently) or inflame Palestinians, perhaps causing an increase in violence,” she caviled—but that was indicative of Trump’s tendency never “to keep his word.” “The world,” Rubin advised, “is learning to disregard everything this president does and says” — a habit that “will adversely affect everything from the war against Islamist extremists to trade opportunities.” Trump, she concluded, “looks buffoonish in his hasty retreat.”
Last week, Trump announced that the United States would finally be recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and, in time, moving its embassy there. And what did Rubin say? That it was “a foreign policy move without purpose,“ “indicative of a non-policy-based foreign policy.”
John Derbyshire, discussing Rubin's hate for Trump, put it this way:
A subset of American Jews—a subset, a minority—suffer from a kind of psychological deformation that keeps them trapped in a particular, strangely atavistic type of paranoia, of victim mentality.
In this mentality, it’s always 1881 and we’re still in Russia. The Jews are cowering behind their doors in fear as the Cossacks rampage through the town, or Christian peasants with pitchforks and flaming brands march on the Jewish quarter.
One side effect of this mentality: an unblinking vigilance, a hyper-sensitivity, towards the slightest tendency of the Gentile majority to drift Cossack-wards. This easily and often slops over into—and I am speaking of a subset of a subset of American Jews—into a generalized dislike, a prejudice, against white Christians.
As Lion Of The Blogosphere pointed out long ago, the idea that Trump is an anti-Semite is loony:
If Trump becomes president he will be the most culturally Jewish president in American history. His daughter is Jewish, and probably a plurality of his top employees are Jewish. …
Also, Trump once served as the grand marshal of the Salute to Israel Parade.
Irony Of Trump And White Nationalists, December 14, 2015
This may explain his decision to keep the promise almost all Republican presidential candidates made—and none kept—of recognizing the fait accompli of Israel's possession of Jerusalem.
But the neocon hatred won't go away—David Frum is defending Rubin's craziness, and attacking Charles C. W. Cooke, in the pages of the Atlantic. See Cooke's David Frum Proves My Point, in NRO's Corner.