Ted Cruz: An Extremist with an Impressive Education

Many on the left, including myself, have a certain disdain for Senator Ted Cruz, an extreme conservative from Texas who is largely credited with being responsible for the government shutdown. Many liberals I know have referred to him as an ‘idiot’ or ‘utter moron’, and as a somewhat biased liberal myself I assumed that these characterizations were correct. However, tonight I learned from a friend of mine that some of these biased prejudices are not wholly accurate.

Unbeknownst to me, he is a highly educated individual. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University, specializing in international affairs. A skilled debater, he came in first place at a national debating championship. Following his undergraduate career, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude while also serving as an editor of Harvard Law Review.

It is undoubtedly easy to view opposing points of view as irrational. Likewise, it is not uncommon for liberals to view extreme Republicans as either uninformed or evil. Whether or not this is a false dichotomy remains to be seen. However, in the case of Ted Cruz it seems incorrect to label him as unintelligent. His academic successes and oratory skills are certainly that of an astute individual.

At the same time liberals and conservatives alike may question the rationale behind his extremist views. While everyone is entitled to their beliefs, some of his dogmas seem arbitrary. In this week’s Economist they discuss how Cruz’s, “revulsion for subsidies is selective: he has little to say about the unsustainably soaring cost of taxpayer-funded health care for the elderly,” yet he fights tooth and nail other entitlements and policies of government financing. Perhaps this has something to do with his dependence on elderly constituents for votes.

His impressive academic transcript and extremist views aside, Ted Cruz remains the man holding our government hostage for repeal of Obamacare, a piece of legislation passed by Congress, and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. It may be that Ted Cruz skipped out on his constitutional law classes back at Harvard, or perhaps he simply believes that a law is only constitutional if he says it is. Either way we will soon find out how steady his resolve is. Given that every week the government is shutdown economists have predicted a drop of 0.1-0.2% in quarterly growth rates, one can only hope that this whole debacle ends quickly.

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7 Responses to Ted Cruz: An Extremist with an Impressive Education

  1. Similarly, I too was surprised to hear of Ted Cruz’s impressive pedigree. Put simply, to have achieved as much as he has – both academically and politically – requires a superior intellect, it is just unfortunate that it went towards a 21 hour reading of “Green Eggs and Ham,” among other things. I agree with your point that Ted Cruz should not be labeled as unintelligent. It’s a bad idea for three reasons: (1) it’s factually incorrect, (2) the last thing Congress needs is more name-calling, and (3) calling someone stupid is juvenile. I’m left wondering how Senator Cruz can be “brought onboard” when his Democratic colleagues unveil a bi-partisan that he vows to oppose from day 1. What appears to be the insurmountable challenge with Cruz is that he just won’t play ball with the Democrats – I can elaborate further but it doesn’t seem necessary. Then again, that’s Cruz’s constitutional right. In thinking of Cruz, I often come back to President Andrew Shepherd’s (played by Michael Douglas) speech at the end of The American President:

    America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’

    President Shepherd is correct – America isn’t easy.
    —Hapless Blogger

  2. Greg London says:

    I think the politics around the shutdown is ridiculous, but Americans might begin to realize that the Federal government isn’t as necessary as we think it is. There are so many bureaucracies that are either inefficient, useless, or corrupt. I don’t think the shutdown is really hurting our economy or the private sector, just the families that have been temporarily unemployed. That being said, who is to say that many of these unemployed could do better things with their career outside the confines of these government jobs. By the way, has anyone signed up for Obamacare Yet?

    • I agree with your comment about that not all of the Federal government’s duties are essential, but I do take issue with your comment that the shutdown is not hurting our economy. Regardless of whether or not it SHOULD affect the economy, it does. A lack of confidence in our government’s future will always change investor’s perception of economic prospects which will cause a drop in market prices and a drop in private sector investments. The Economist reports that every week the shutdown continues there will be between 0.1% and 0.2% drops in our quarterly growth rate, which is nothing to scoff at over something that is ENTIRELY unnecessary. That equates to more than a couple of billion dollars a week. By no means a small sum of money. Just think of that two billion dollars being invested in education or technology or set aside for veterans’ benefits. There is also an unquantifiable loss with this shutdown in that, worldwide and domestically, people’s faith in our government’s ability to govern is diminishing. Not a trend we want to continue.

    • odelossantos says:

      I think your comment ought to be nuanced quite a bit. To say that the federal government isn’t as necessary as we think is a bold claim. Perhaps a more fitting claim is that federal agencies that aren’t running during the shutdown don’t immediately have a direct impact on the daily lives of average Americans, and thus can be perceived (rightly or wrongly) as unnecessary. Among other important things, the federal government provides for the nation’s defense, social security and medicare benefits, food stamps and WIC, makes sure the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe is (mostly) safe– functions that I would hope you agree are critical.

  3. Sam Dorn says:

    The confidence issue being what it is, maybe we should broadcast the fact that there are incredibly smart people shutting down our government? At least it’s not idiots running us to the ground… Oh wait… We just have smart idiots.

  4. I, too, was a bit surprised to hear about Ted Cruz’s impressive resume. But to consider anyone in Congress as unintelligent is ignorance in itself. In essence, our political system is the one causing Congress to act in ways that we perceive as ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb,’ which subsequently leads to dissatisfaction among the public. At the foundation of this situation, it is not Ted Cruz who shut down the federal government, but rather our own political system itself. With that said, however, it is troubling to see how “one faction of one party in one branch of government” was able to shut down the entire federal government. Though the bickering is part of our constitution, efforts must be geared toward bipartisanship, especially in a system where gridlock is inevitable. Congress, and especially those extremists, should take note that ‘sharing is caring.’

  5. jordangary says:

    Ted Cruz’ education is impressive, but it is not redemptive. Just because someone is intelligent, or “book smart”, does not make them “street smart”. Just because someone is educated does not make them a good person. Perhaps I am just as biased as you, but I would venture to say that Ted Cruz is neither “street smart” nor a good person. Maybe he realizes what he is doing is wrong and does not care. Or maybe he thinks what he is doing is perfectly acceptable and in no way harmful to the citizens of the United States as a whole. Either way, he is a horrible person and his education is not very helpful to him or to us.

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