Jennifer Rubin’s Rand Paul obsession

In February, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) was asked during a panel what he thought about Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin saying negative things about him. Amash dismissed it and suggested people should go look at how often Rubin criticizes Rand Paul instead.

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So I did.

Jennifer Rubin mentioned Senator Rand Paul’s name 143 times in the first three weeks of March (March 1-21) on her Right Turn blog. The only other political figure mentioned more often than Paul was President Obama at 206 times (not including “Obamacare,” but just President Obama specifically).

The most frequently mentioned named after Sen. Paul was Russian President Vladimir Putin at 87 times and then Senator Ted Cruz at 59 times. Senator Marco Rubio was mentioned 40 times, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 31 times, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 26 times and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was mentioned 8 times.

Rubin also wrote more headlines specifically about Paul (9 headlines) than other figure except President Obama (10 headlines).

Every headline Rubin wrote about Paul was negative in tone: “Rand Paul’s Shape Shifting” (March 21), “Rand Paul panders at Berkeley” (March 20), “Ted Cruz 2, Rand Paul 0” (March 19), “Rand Paul under fire” (March 14), “Rand Paul seems confused” (March 12), “Where are all those Rand Paul voters?” (March 11), “Rand Paul’s fake foreign policy” (March 10), “Paul the Younger: Libertarian vs. the GOP” (March 7) and “Rand Paul is the odd man out of the GOP on foreign policy” (March 4).

The overwhelming majority of Rubin’s scorn for Paul focused on the issues of foreign policy and civil liberties. In March alone, Rubin has…

  • Denounced Paul’s “poppycock about the National Security Agency…”
  • Accused Paul of “running to Obama’s left and stoking paranoia about national security…”
  • Hoped that “a failed primary run may once and for all rid the GOP of the scourge of the conspiracy-minded Paul family’s presidential ambitions.”
  • Dismissed his speech at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is insistent he can spread the appeal of the GOP to young people with a foreign policy that sounds like President Obama on steroids (no drones without warrants, close Gitmo, contain Iran, laud Edward Snowden), drug reform/legalization and use of a bunch of pop culture references.”
  • Tried to redefine and marginalize Paul: “He is after all a libertarian, not a mainstream conservative, and his disinclination to speak about anything but his paranoid vision of the government leaves little room for reform or problem-solving.”
  • And accused him of being a supporter of Vladimir Putin, “There is no contingent other than the Paul family for a pro-Putin foreign policy.”

Jennifer Rubin is a neoconservative who consistently supports American intervention abroad and has vigorously defended the National Security Agency’s controversial metadata collection program.

Libertarian-leaning Rand Paul has called for a more restrained foreign policy and has been an outspoken critic of the NSA.

In June, Reason’s Mike Riggs posted a story titled “Neocons Are Quietly Freaking Out Over Rand Paul’s Increasing Popularity,” citing National Review’s Robert Costa, who wrote, “Paul’s positions and rapid ascent have alarmed many Republican hawks. Behind the scenes, they’re worried that he has a shot at the nomination.”

In February, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar called Paul the 2016 Republican presidential frontrunner. This month, Rand Paul won the CPAC presidential straw poll for the second year in a row.

In 2011, Red State’s Erick Erickson said Rubin “has nothing in common with conservatives other than hating terrorists.” In August, The Washington Post’s former ombudsman Patrick Pexton called for Jennifer Rubin to be fired, “Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad,” describing her work as “political pornography.”

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