First Straw Poll for the Jen Rubin Primary

Of all the political gabbers out there, the one whose loyalties any Republican candidate probably most ought to covet is WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin. It’s not that she’s all that influential, though she does have a good platform. It’s that once she’s joined your crew, you are the ship and all else is the sea. Just ask Mitt Romney.

So it’s with interest that I read her statement today that she’s going to do (apparently over some stretch of time) an evaluation of the 2016 Republican presidential field. She began with Scott Walker, basing her discussion on the “argument” he made in a recent interview with Sean Hannity.

Rubin listed ten talking points in favor of Walker, and adjudged all of them as solid. That’s ten out of ten.

Here was the one to which I would pay the most attention:

On foreign policy, he is as fluent at this point in the campaign on national security as any first-time nominee in recent memory (with the exception of Sen. John McCain in 2008) and has only begun to talk about the subject. (Did Bill Clinton know any more in 1992?) But a good deal of the issue here is about temperament. Walker is neither unpredictably explosive nor excessively excitable. That can’t be said about a number of candidates. The ability to project steely resolve certainly matters here, as does his belief in the United States’ unique role in the world.

You know, I follow this stuff pretty obsessively, and I’m not sure I could tell you the first thing about Scott Walker’s foreign policy views. But you have to figure Jen Rubin isn’t going to give him the foreign policy seal of approval unless he’s sending off some pretty strong neocon vibes.

Maybe Rubin’s strategy is to be nice to everybody before she picks the person she is going to lionize for many months. Or who knows, maybe she’s even internalized being incessantly criticized as a hack and a shill and is turning over a new leaf. But in any event, I had figured she’d be in the tank for Marco Rubio this time around. If so, she’d better reach for the thesaurus to come up with positive adjectives she didn’t already lavish onto Scott Walker.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.