The illustrations are endless. In two years, Rubin has gone from arguing that the “ludicrous,” “absurd” Iran deal “has to go” — and, indeed, that John Kasich was a fool for contending otherwise – to praising those who believe it must remain in place as “reasonable” “experts,” and predicting that even to decertify would put “American credibility” at “risk.” In 2015, she wrote that “if you examine the Iran deal in any detail, you will be horrified as to what is in there.” In 2017, she characterizes this position as the “emotional” “temper tantrum” of an “unhinged president.” A similar metamorphosis has sullied her views on tax cuts, welfare, energy, and gun control (before, after), as well as her attitude toward Jews and anti-intellectuals, which once led her to defend Sarah Palin, but which now leads her to condemn Trump on almost all of the grounds she once dismissed.
The descriptions above Rubin’s byline have come to seem tragically misleading. Contrary to popular myth, she is not in fact writing from a “conservative perspective,” but as just one more voice among a host of Trump-obsessed zealots who add nothing to our discourse. In so doing, she does conservatism a sincere disservice. Whatever its shortcomings—and they are many—the American Right is too complicated and too interesting a force to be ruined or consumed by a single preposterous president. Conservatism in this country long predated Trump; for now, it is tied up with Trump; soon, it will have survived Trump. Rubin’s Jacobin willingness to throw the baby out with the bathwater suggests that she, like so many others in the conservative-nay-resistance does not much understand the philosophy at all. What, one might ask, separates her from possessed apologists such as Tomi Lahren? We deserve better critics than this.