Jennifer Rubin and Rachel Maddow: Guardians of the establishment

Anne Wernikoff

As you enter into the realm, two angels hover above the crypt, one from the left and one from the right. They are gatekeepers, guardians of the land of the dead, there to ensure nothing will disturb the departed souls and those still breathing. They are late for dinner, the last to arrive at the feast, come even in the eleventh hour, maybe even too late.

They warn of dangers approaching, hidden things, insidious in intent, that others among the living can’t see, things subtle and unconscious, presenting existential challenges to the establishment: challenges like Emmanuel Goldstein brought to the prophetic world of Nineteen Eighty-Four. But this time it is not fictional. This time, they tell them, it is no mysterious fabrication of the Ministry of Truth. This time it is real, and the Enemy of the People is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R).

Paul must be thrilled. Not since Jerry Lee Lewis shook the rafters of a previous establishment has the shire felt such tremors. He shakes their nerves and rattles their brains. Can Elvis be far behind?

Paul should never, ever, be commander in chief, says Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. Paul angers Jewish and Christian Republicans, Rubn says. Paul leads to isolationism, Rubin says. Paul is no legislator, Rubin says. Paul is clueless about the 9/11 attackers' motives. And that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R)? Don’t get her started!

But MSNBC host Rachel Maddow brought screeching first warnings on the day Paul was first elected senator, insinuating he was a racist because of classic libertarian positions on private property. (Rubin implied that Paul was an anti-Semite because he used the phrase “neocon.”) Today, Maddow says Paul plagiarized sections of a speech — irrelevant lines from Wikipedia entry about the movie “Gattaca” — although the Drudge Report notes she has been accused of plagiarism herself.

Both Rubin and Maddow certainly agree. Paul is a bad one. Like the Grinch who stole Christmas.

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It is in its way kind of wonderful, as the presence of these two, one on the far edge of the establishment right, the other on the far edge of the establishment left, reveals the symmetry of the ages. Students of William Strauss and Neil Howe’s generational history theory please take note. Rubin and Maddow mark the end of the age and hover around the final portal.

The “Kennedy Half-Century” enters final descent with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Rubin and Maddow are younger than the others — Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Hillary Clinton might be considered archetypal flag bearers of the passing generations — and hope to join in, to be allowed in, to bring it to the next step and the next generation. And they are welcomed by the old to defend incoming advances against the past. They hope to bring what has come before to an orthodoxy.

But there is no next step and no next generation. Nothing follows then — nothing that is, which resembles the last. And the century then, the millennium, is suddenly upon us.