David Frum has responded to Charles Cooke’s take down of Jennifer Rubin. Missing from Frum’s response is any refutation of Cooke’s argument — that Rubin is intellectually dishonest because her positions on policy questions oscillate depending on whether she likes the person advocating a given position at a particular moment.
The closest Frum can come to a response is this :”politics is dynamic. . .new facts call forth new responses.” Frum spares himself the task of citing the “new facts” that caused Rubin to take four positions in five years on whether the U.S. should recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The new facts were nothing more than who was advocating recognition or non-recognition and whether Rubin favored the advocate.
That’s intellectual dishonesty, pure and simple.
Unable to defend Rubin on this crucially important indictment, Frum changes the subject. Mostly, he attacks Cooke, others at National Review, and pretty much any conservative writer who hasn’t joined the resistance to President Trump.
The folks at National Review can defend themselves. Cooke does here (see also this post by Michael Brendan Dougherty). Cooke notes, correctly, that Frum’s attack on him is based on cynical distortions of what Cooke wrote.
In fact, Frum’s distortions begin in his very first sentence: “On Monday morning the conservative-media world woke up to a savagely personal attack in National Review on the Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin.” (Emphasis added) But Cooke’s take down of Rubin isn’t personal. As Kevin Williamson says:
[C]riticizing what has been said and written by someone in the saying-and-writing business is entirely fair. Inevitable, in fact. I do not think that criticizing a writer’s writing is “personal” in any meaningful sense.
I agree with Dougherty who says that, in the case of Cooke’s article, “savagely personal attack” is “a melodramatic euphemism for. . . effectiveness, a quality established entirely by the quotations from Rubin herself” and that Frum, for all of his talents, can’t come to grips with.