Jennifer Rubin, John Bolton, and Tribalism: Liner Notes

ICYMI, I had a new column post on The Federalist on Friday afternoon, “Jennifer Rubin’s Flip-Flop On John Bolton Is Worthy Of Monty Python.”  The hook is that Rubin is hyping the idea that National Security Advisor appointee John Bolton is rash and unwise, after having touted him as recently as Dec. 2016 for a plum State Department job precisely to position him for the NSA job.  Indeed, for years she treated him as a serious presidential prospect  Whatever one thinks of Bolton, he hasn’t changed; she has — into a reflexive critic of all of Pres. Trump’s decisions.

As regular readers know, I generally try to avoid writing about people as such.  But the mass audience likes those sorts of pieces, so I often will use someone’s faults to make a larger piece about ideas — about which the mass audience sadly tends to be less interested.  (And unsurprisingly to me, the column spent almost all weekend as the most popular item on the site.)

This column adopts that tactic is a particularly meta way.  Ultimately, the larger lesson to be learned from Rubin is about the danger of abandoning one’s long-held positions in favor of tribal opposition to a particular politician — the danger of caring more about a person and his or her faults than about ideas.

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