Jennifer Rubin (columnist)
Jennifer Rubin in 2018
|Born||1961/1962 (age 58–59)|
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley (BA, JD)|
|Occupation||Political commentator, lawyer|
|Known for||"Right Turn" blog at The Washington Post|
Jennifer Rubin (born 1961/1962) is an American political commentator who writes opinion columns for The Washington Post. Previously she worked at Commentary, PJ Media, Human Events, and The Weekly Standard. Her work has been published in media outlets including Politico, New York Post, New York Daily News, National Review, and The Jerusalem Post. In September 2020, Rubin announced that she no longer identified as a conservative.
Early life and education
Labor and employment law
Before moving into opinion writing, Rubin was a labor and employment lawyer in Los Angeles, working for Hollywood studios, for 20 years. She now describes herself as a "recovering lawyer". Commenting on working with her from 2000–05, Hollywood animator and trade union leader Steve Hulett described her to Media Matters as "always funny, with sharp observations. I never got the impression she was anything but a Democrat ... she was mildly critical of some of Kerry's campaign moves during the '04 campaign, but she wasn't in the Bush camp .
In 2005, she moved to Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. She offered a column to The Weekly Standard about Mitt Romney, and continued doing freelance work for two years before joining Commentary.
Rubin's move to The Washington Post in November 2010 became a national news story and was discussed by the media on all sides of the political spectrum, ranging from The American Conservative and The Weekly Standard, to Salon and Slate. In welcoming remarks, The Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote, "her provocative writing has become 'must read' material for news and policy makers and avid political watchers." In 2011, she was included on the list of "50 Most Influential American Jews" by The Jewish Daily Forward. Slate blogger David Weigel called Rubin "one of the right's most prolific online political writers". The Commentary editor John Podhoretz writes of Rubin, "She is a phenomenon, especially considering that for the first two decades of her working life, she was not a writer or a journalist but a lawyer specializing in labor issues."
In August 2013, former Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton criticized Rubin in an open letter from his new desk at the Washington City Paper, saying that he received more complaint emails about Rubin than any other Post employee. Writing that her columns were "at best ... political pornography", he said "Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she's conservative, but because she's just plain bad." Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for the Post, responded in a statement to Politico, "I appreciate Patrick's perspective but I think he is quite wrong about Jennifer Rubin. Regular readers of her blog know that she is an indefatigable reporter who is as hard on politicians on the right when she thinks they get things wrong as on the other side."
Political views and commentaries
Rubin was a conservative, but has also stated that the term has been "ruined" by pro-Trump conservatives and that she would "prefer to be a 19th century liberal or a wet Tory". She has described herself as "a Pat Moynihan Democrat, a Scoop Jackson Democrat, an Andrew Cuomo Democrat. I’m not a Bernie Sanders Democrat." Some conservatives (both pro- and anti-Trump) have disputed whether she can be considered a conservative, in part because of her willingness to criticize Donald Trump. The journal Democracy has described her as "seem[ing] to have come closest to giving up on the whole enterprise" of conservatism in comparison to other well-known figures who have been called anti-Trump conservatives. Charles C. W. Cooke has noted that Rubin has reversed many of her previous positions on economic, social and foreign policy during the Trump administration.
In November 2011, Rubin retweeted an anti-Hamas blog post that Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton called "reprehensible". Rubin later told Pexton that she endorsed and shared the views in the Post that "expressed an understandable desire for righteous vengeance against the kidnappers and human rights abusers of Gilad Shalit". Pexton said, "in agreeing with the sentiment, and in spreading it to her 7,000 Twitter followers who know her as a Washington Post blogger, Rubin did damage to the Post and the credibility that keeps it afloat." Andrew Sullivan wrote, "we have a blogger at the WaPo endorsing throwing Arab prisoners into the sea to meet righteous divine punishment." Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt defended Rubin, saying, "As a general matter I think it isn't wise for me to comment on the work of the ombudsman, who is entitled to his views, and over whom I do not have editorial control. However, I will say this: I think Jennifer is an excellent journalist and a relentless reporter. I think because she has strong views, and because she is as willing to take on her home team, as it were, as the visitors, she comes under more scrutiny than many and is often the target of unjustified criticism. I think she brings enormous value to the Post."
In 2011, Rubin wrote a blog post suggesting that the 2011 Norway attacks were carried out by Islamic jihadists. Columnist James Fallows of The Atlantic criticized the piece as "rushed" and noted the subsequent discovery that the attack was carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, a native Norwegian who was not a Muslim. Another Atlantic columnist, former Israeli soldier Jeffrey Goldberg, responded that the criticism was unwarranted, noting that other publications such as Wired and even The Atlantic itself had printed similar speculation; Goldberg concluded: "It is not perverse or absurd for normal people to think of al Qaeda when they hear of acts of mass terrorism. It is logical, in fact, to suspect al Qaeda." In a follow-up column, Rubin acknowledged that early suspicions of a jihadist attack had proven to be mistaken.
Criticism of Donald Trump
Rubin has been one of the most vocal conservative-leaning writers to frequently criticize Donald Trump, as well as the overall behavior of the Republican Party during Trump's term in office.
Rubin denounced Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement as "a dog whistle to the far right" and designed to please his "climate change denial, right-wing base that revels in scientific illiteracy." Previously, after Barack Obama had approved the agreement, Rubin characterized it as "nonsense" and argued that it would not achieve anything. Rubin characterized Trump's 2017 decision to not implement parts of the Iran nuclear deal as the "emotional temper tantrum of an unhinged president." She had previously said that "if you examine the Iran deal in any detail, you will be horrified as to what is in there." Rubin had vocally supported the United States officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Early in his presidency, she criticized Trump for not doing so, saying that it was indicative of his tendency to "never keep his word." She concluded that Trump "looks buffoonish in his hasty retreat." In December 2017, after Trump announced that he would move the embassy, she characterized it as "a foreign policy move without purpose."
In a tweet referenced by CNN Media, Mike Huckabee questioned Rubin, writing "Jen Rubin is WAPO's excuse for conservative," and adding that Rubin's "contempt for all things Trump exposes her and WAPO as Fake News."
Domestic policy views
Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic argued that after the 2012 presidential election, Rubin criticized aspects of the Mitt Romney campaign that she had previously praised, with Friedersdorf insisting that she had acted as "a disingenuous mouthpiece for her favored candidate".
- Smith, Ben (October 25, 2011). "Perry's nightmare: WaPo's Rubin". Politico.
- Rubin, Jennifer (September 17, 2020). "Why I dropped 'conservative' from my Twitter profile". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
- Eshman, Rob (October 19, 2016). "Five heroes of 2016". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
- Alterman, Eric (June 27, 2012). "The Washington Post's Problem. The paper had a problem: it needed a blogger to cover conservatives. It wound up with a bigger problem". The Nation.
But Rubin has a good defense. She is Jewish. She generally observes the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday; she doesn’t blog, doesn’t tweet, doesn’t respond to reader e-mails.
- Rubin, Jennifer (October 2010). "California, There It Went". Commentary. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
- Weingarten, Gene (December 18, 2015). "Gene Weingarten: When Trump plays the Trump card". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- Gharib, Ali (December 7, 2010). "Jennifer Rubin Joins the Mainstream Media". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- Zaitchik, Alexander (February 7, 2013). "The Wash. Post's Jennifer Rubin Divide And The Iraq War". Media Matters. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Jaffe, Harry (April 2011). "Jennifer Rubin Is Whacking the Lefties". Washingtonian.
- Irvine, Don (November 24, 2010). "WaPo Tilts Right, Hires Conservative Blogger". Accuracy in Media. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
- "Forward's 50 Most Influential American Jews". Jewish Virtual Library. November 11, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2011.[failed verification]
- Wiegel, David (January 13, 2009). "Punditin' Ain't Easy". The Washington Independent. Archived from the original on September 28, 2012.
- Podhoretz, John (November 23, 2010). "To Jennifer Rubin, The Fondest of Farewells". Commentary.
- Byers, Dylan (August 15, 2013). "Ex-Washington Post ombudsman: 'Fire Jennifer Rubin'". Politico. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
- Pexton, Patrick (August 14, 2013). "Ombo Sauce: Advice for Jeff Bezos From the Post's Former In-House Critic". Washington City Paper. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
- Rubin, Jennifer (January 30, 2020). "In this regard it has been clarifying and why I think the right has been propagating a fraud that blind obedience to the executive, blood and soil nationalism and protectionism are "conservative." Since they've ruined the word I'd prefer to be a 19th century liberal or a wet Tory". @JRubinBlogger.
- Dovere, Edward-Isaac. "The GOP 'Has Become the Caricature the Left Always Said It Was'". Politico Magazine. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
- Kludt, Tom (December 19, 2016). "How Jennifer Rubin went from Romney 'shill' to Trump scourge". CNNMoney. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
- Friersdorf, Conor (November 8, 2012). "The Right's Jennifer Rubin Problem: A Case Study in Info Disadvantage". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Rubin, Jennifer. "Opinion | NeverTrump becomes NeverRepublican". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
- III, W. James Antle (May 15, 2020). "Jennifer Rubin: 'Andrew Cuomo Democrat' (Don't Act Surprised)". The National Interest.
- Douthat, Ross (October 13, 2018). "Opinion | The Different Ends of NeverTrump". The New York Times.
- Lejeune, Tristan (October 4, 2018). "Conservatives to Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin isn't one of us; hire someone new". TheHill. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- Flood, Brian (December 18, 2019). "Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin suggests GOP, Trump supporters aren't 'college educated'". Fox News. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- "What's Left of the Right?". Democracy Journal. June 11, 2018.
- "Jennifer Rubin Is Everything She Hates about Trump Worshippers". National Review. December 18, 2017.
- some, For; Uncomfortable, This Enemy-of-My-Enemy Business Is a Bit (March 8, 2018). "The Left Has a Jennifer Rubin Problem, Too". Washingtonian.
- Ben Smith (October 26, 2011). "Erickson: Post blogger is 'Likud', not GOP". Politico. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
- Patrick B. Pexton (November 7, 2011). "Post Roast: Jennifer Rubin's retweet". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
- "The WaPo's Israel Problem", Andrew Sullivan, November 14, 2011
- "Hiatt defends Rubin after ombud blast", Dylan Byers, Politico, November 8, 2011
- James Fallows (July 23, 2011). "The Washington Post Owes the World an Apology for this Item". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, "On Suspecting al Qaeda in the Norway Attacks", The Atlantic, July 23, 2011.
- Rubin, Jennifer (July 23, 2011). "Right Turn: Evil in Norway". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Daniel W. Drezner, Who belongs in the anti-Trump coalition?, Washington Post (December 12, 2017): "[Kristol] is hardly the only neoconservative to fall into this category; see, for example, Peter Wehner or Jennifer Rubin."
- Cooke, Charles C.W. (December 18, 2017). "Jennifer Rubin Is Everything She Hates about Trump Worshippers". National Review. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
- Kludt, Tom. "How Jennifer Rubin went from Romney 'shill' to Trump scourge". CNNMoney. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
- Friedersdorf, Conor. "The Right's Jennifer Rubin Problem: An Information Disadvantage Case Study". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
[F]or all the months she was acting as America's most reliable Romney sycophant, she actually thought his campaign was bumbling ... she deliberately misled her readers ... [and] is [now] widely perceived as a disingenuous mouthpiece for her favored candidate.
- Jennifer Rubin (November 21, 2013). "The Marriage Mission". The Washington Post.
- Jennifer Rubin: Right Turn (The Washington Post)