The Washington Post's resident conservative blogger has remarkably little ground to stand on as an actual conservative.
Jennifer Rubin, the prolific blogger at the Post's "Right Turn," has been on a tear lately, but not for making conservative policy points.
Instead, Rubin has argued against repeal of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare; stated she is no longer a Republican; and crowed about how happy she is that "social conservatives" are dying off.
Rubin cannot claim social conservatism has turned her into a libertarian, because she is actually not a fiscal conservative either. Recent Rubin blog posts include such gems as: "Republicans' tax-cut myth is about to crumble," and "Can the GOP break its addiction to tax cuts for the rich?"
Tax reform appears to have triggered Rubin especially. Rubin has been fond of bashing President Donald Trump and Republicans' plans on health care and tax reform by citing the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank dedicated to the advancement of progressive policies and federal spending.
On other issues, Rubin has also drifted left. Rubin appeared on her favorite network, MSNBC, to bash Trump and defend two liberal hallmarks, Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (amnesty for illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children), and Obamacare.
"Obamacare, DACA, they've never been more popular," said Rubin, on Chris Hayes' show. "They've got people like me defending them because this administration has been so inhumane, so haphazard in the way they go about it. You can't treat people like they don't exist. People rely on these things. They have been told that they can benefit from these things."
To some media observers, Rubin's slow-motion conversion to big-government liberalism isn't too surprising. Rubin never liked Trump, and has called him "evil incarnate."
But part of the problem is the media itself, they said. Conservatives told LifeZette that when conservative pundits are hired by liberal outlets, the pressure begins immediately for the conservatives to ape the viewpoints of the liberal-leaning newsroom and the editorial pages.
"It's a little bizarre that a so-called conservative would be saying she's happy social conservatives are 'dying off,' and the Trump-era GOP 'deserves extinction,'" said Tim Graham, research director of the right-leaning Media Research Center. "She knows who's paying her bills."
The pressure on a conservative journalist was a theme Rubin's critics often came back to.
"Like so many supposedly right-leaning journalists who go to work for liberal publications, she's drifted left to the point she should change the name of her blog," said a conservative former congressional aide.
But even so, there is question if Rubin was ever a conservative. The former Capitol Hill staffer said Rubin started off at "Right Turn" not as a conservative, but as a mouthpiece for Republican establishment types such as Mitt Romney, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The former Capitol Hill staffer said he was surprised Rubin's "conservative" blog at the Washington Post clung so tightly to the GOP establishment in 2012 and 2013.
"For years Rubin was an anti-intellectual pawn of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the GOP establishment," he told LifeZette. "If Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan woke up one day and said, 'The world is flat,' Rubin would immediately get to work on her next blog post defending them."
Fred Hiatt, the Post's opinion editor, did not return a message seeking comment. Rubin could not be reached for comment.
Rubin's blog has roots in a decade-old effort by the Washington Post to diversify its newsroom by adding a conservative blogger. The resulting decisions in personnel since 2006 have been one misfire after another, proving the predominantly liberal news media not only do not understand the conservative hemisphere, but don't even know how to recruit someone from its ranks.
In March 2006, the editors hired Ben Domenech, now the founder and publisher of The Federalist. Domenech had to resign a few days later when it turned out some of his previous work had not attributed sources properly.
The Post then committed an even bigger faux pas when it hired David Weigel in March 2010. Weigel still works for the Post, but most people who knew him knew that his conservative bona fides were suspect. In fact, Weigel had been recommended for the blog by Ezra Klein, then a liberal blogger for the Post.
Weigel, much like Rubin, did not seem to like conservatives, nor did he hide his disdain very well. Emails soon leaked to the Daily Caller, in June 2010, in which Weigel wished Matt Drudge would "set himself on fire." Weigel also mocked former Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas congressman, by referring to the "Paultard Tea Party," according to the Post. Weigel resigned from the blog.
Rubin was hired not long afterward, and for a time, she irritated supporters of President Barack Obama. She was also a diehard Mitt Romney supporter.
It's unclear where Rubin stood before her work at the Post and Commentary magazine. Media Matters, the liberal media watchdog, looked into the matter, and discovered one acquaintance from her days in California as a Dreamworks attorney, more than a decade ago. The man said Rubin struck him as a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
Now Rubin appears adrift, a "Right Turn" columnist who has no ideological direction.