Jennifer Rubin's takedown of the GOP's growing "crackpotism" on Monday indicates one of two things: Either Rubin is finally making sense, or she just hasn't decided who to vote for yet.
The Washington Post columnist and former Romney media shill has offered up a shockingly rational and, well, accurate assessment of the roster of Republican candidates so far, criticizing not only the lunacy that has become common throughout the party, but also the tolerance for it.
Unlike potential GOP contender Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rubin doesn't just suggest the GOP stop being so stupid -- she also suggests conservative media and voters stop standing for it. In addition to highlighting a few troubling examples of the typically insane views held by Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Rubin also adds an important contention as the kicker: The fact that their opinions are routinely unsound is unacceptable.
It's a little unclear who she distrusts most. Carson, whose belief that there remains a question whether we must accept Supreme Court rulings "should disqualify him from office"; Huckabee, who is "both a constitutional and dietary charlatan" ("Either one should disqualify him"); Cruz, "who cynically chooses to pander to the conspiracy-mongers" and looks worse than Rick Perry for doing so; or Paul, who "gave support to the anti-vaccine hooey" and should, in Rubin's view, make the American people think, "That's not the mindset or character of someone who we’d want as president."
The fun thing is, that is a totally fair response to candidates who want to reject the actions of one branch of government because they don't like them (and who believe that prisons turn people gay, that gun laws are worse than gunshots to the head, that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery, so on and so forth). It is sensible to wonder if we should elect someone who peddles "diabetes-curing" dietary supplements, or who displays less sense than Rick Perry, or who disregards medical training that he has actually received in favor of unfounded skepticism about the efficacy of vaccines (oh, and who "isn't sexist"). Rubin's suggestion that we question these people's qualifications makes sense!
And she closes the whole argument out well, too:
Anyone can run for president, but pundits and voters don’t have to indulge loony conspiracy theories or consider candidates who don’t accept the basic premise of our constitutional government. Responsible conservatives should follow [National Review editor Rich] Lowry’s lead — name and shame — lest the GOP be seen as a haven for the unhinged. It is only when they are repeatedly and consistently called out that pols will stop fanning the flames of paranoia and ignorance.
It could be important to note that there are a few candidates, declared or otherwise, missing from Rubin's critique. Perhaps the exclusion of Sen. Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and (ehem) Jeb Bush tells us something about who the pundit is actually stumping for by knocking the current loony tune front-runners. For the moment, though, Rubin's assessment actually just reads as practical.