Lowry’s Simplistic Analysis of Ted Cruz

Rich Lowry, the towering mediocrity who sees starbursts whenever Sarah Palin winks at him, has a column at Politico analyzing why Ted Cruz gets criticized so strongly. Mixing up his best stew of privileged frat boy persecution complex and juvenile political analysis, he decides that it’s all because he’s a “traitor to his class” because he’s a conservative who came out of elite educational institutions. Oh, and we just don’t like him because he’s so smart.

Henry Adams said that politics is the systematic organization of hatreds. For the left, over the past year it has seemed at times to be the systematic organization of hatred of Ted Cruz.

The freshman senator is not the first Texan to be so honored. In fact, the state isn’t holding up its end if, at any given moment, it isn’t throwing onto the national scene at least one Republican reviled by the other side…

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2009 H.W. Brands biography of FDR, a traitor to his class…

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an extra element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements…

One of the left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. Chris Hayes of MSNBC actually says he fears Cruz’s brilliance.

Missing entirely from this analysis is even a mention of any of Cruz’ actual positions and whether they’re justifiable. Yes, Cruz is brilliant and very well educated. No doubt about that. But that just makes his almost daily utterance of lies and falsehoods all the worse, in my view. Let’s look at just a brief list.

He actually believes, or at least says he believes, that Agenda 21 is a George Soros-funded UN plot to take over America and eliminate paved roads and freedom.

He has sung the praises of bigoted theocrat Rick Scarborough, who thinks that AIDS is God’s punishment on gay people and bluntly demands that the Bible be enforced as the law of the land.

He has claimed, with no evidence whatsoever, that Harvard Law School harbored a dozen professors who “Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.” He has never offered any evidence for that claim or retracted it. Gee, I wonder why he isn’t popular with his former classmates and professors?

He claims, bizarrely, that President Reagan reduced spending and federal debt. In reality, he did quite the opposite. Spending soared during his time in office and so did the deficit because he cut revenue while increasing spending (this is pretty elementary math — less money coming in and more money going out = deficit spending). And over his eight years in office, his proposed budgets were actually larger than the ones approved by the Democratically-controlled Congress.

He thinks Glenn Beck is going to be arrested and turned into a political prisoner.

He has claimed that the government will soon be throwing pastors in jail for refusing to perform same-sex weddings.

So is the liberal criticism of Ted Cruz just because he’s a “constitutional conservative” (a phrase that sounds a lot like “smart idiot”)? Nope. It’s because he has taken some absolutely outrageous positions and made some of the most inane claims in recent memory. And the fact that he’s so smart and well-educated is precisely why he bears full responsibility for those lies. If Rick Perry claims that Agenda 21 is going to destroy American sovereignty, there’s a good chance he’s just too stupid to know better. Not so with Cruz. Which is why I conclude that he is a liar and a demagogue who is selling fear to the far right — ZOMG! They’re going to be arresting pastors and the UN is going to steal your land and your guns! And Glenn Beck is going to be arrested! — in order to push his political career. And that’s a far worse sin than being stupid.

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  • patricksimons

    Clearly, high intelligence and education does not rule out crazy.

  • daved

    @1 — the problem is that it’s not obvious that Cruz is crazy. He’s only crazy if he believes the stuff he’s peddling. If, on the other hand, he’s merely throwing red meat to the base, then he’s a demagogue and a lair (which is what I believe is the case).

  • colnago80

    As I have stated many times on this blog, Senator Cruz is the most dangerous man in the Rethuglican party because he is highly intelligent and utterly without principals, a sociopath in fact. Quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that someone as intelligent as Cruz could possibly believe the kind of crap cited by Brayton, but, unfortunately, even highly intelligent people believe stupid things (e.g. Linus Pauling, Peter Duesberg, J. Allen Hynek, Brian Josephson, William Shockley, Lynn Margulis, etc.).

    Taking this man too lightly, as proposed by Don Williams for instance, would be a mistake of monumental proportions, every bit as bad as those who took Frankenberger and Long too lightly. And they weren’t nearly as bright as Cruz, if every bit as sociopathic.

  • Trebuchet

    I’ve long held to “Trebuchet’s theory of the Intelligent Fool”, which states that high intelligence not only does not prevent being an utter idiot, but may actually enhance the probability. For proof I’ve needed look no further than some of my engineer co-workers, who tended to be very sharp in their fields but frequently hold weird beliefs.

    @ #2: Being crazy and throwing red meat to the base are not mutually exclusive, of course!

  • daved

    @4 — Oh, agreed, You can be crazy and a demagogue at the same time. However, I see Cruz as more of another Huey Long, who might easily have become president had he not been assassinated. (And by the way, I misspelled “liar” in my previous reply.)

    @3 — Cruz may well be as dangerous as you say. He scares me far more than a Palin, who may get the crowds whipped up, but who most people can spot as an idiot.

  • magistramarla

    colnago80 @3

    I agree that Cruz is dangerous.

    He’s a very smooth talker – calm and collected. It’s easy for him to convince the rubes of anything he wants them to believe. He is scary, and I really don’t want to see him get any further than representing the kookiest kooks in Texas.

  • matty1

    Glenn Beck is going to be arrested!

    So it’s not all bad then.

  • Chiroptera

    So is the liberal criticism of Ted Cruz just because he’s a “constitutional conservative” (a phrase that sounds a lot like “smart idiot”)? Nope. It’s because he has taken some absolutely outrageous positions and made some of the most inane claims in recent memory.

    Actually, the meaning of “constitutional conservative” pretty much is someone who takes on those absolutely outrageous positions and makes those inane claims.

  • Don Williams

    Re SLC at 3:

    1) The problem is not Cruz– the problem is that the Democratic Leadership is even more of a lightweight than Cruz. You can argue the pros and cons of Agenda 21 but you can’t argue that it is a grassroots movement arising from the masses.

    How many Americans have ever heard of it? Which will let the Koch Republican demagogues cut it off at the knees by depicting it as a malign conspiracy — because the Democratic Caucus will take about as much time to discuss the issue with the rank and file Democrats as they took when they shoved globalization, trade liberalization with China and NAFTA down our throats.

    2) The people who make the strongest argument against giving a benign government the power to do good are the Democratic Leaders themselves. Look around you –how much has the real median household income of the black community — the Democratic Party’s most loyal supporters — risen since 1970?

    3) The Democratic environmental movement is a fraud. I piss on the Sierra Club — and I say that as a former member. They are a rich man’s special interest group lobbying for recreational areas for the wealthy purchased at taxpayer expense which the rabble can’t visit during 5 days out of the week. In the case of the large buffer zones for wealthy estates in Montana, the rabble can visit at all only infrequently and at great travel expense. They care nothing for the environment — if they did they would not be supporting massive immigration and tolerating factory farms.

    4) The main problem with sustainable development is the massive population explosion in Asia and Africa — fed by enormous destruction of wildlife habitat in the USA to support the export of grains.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_population

    Agenda 21 Is not going to fix that — my guess is it will be nukes or mass famine. The Ogallala Aquifer took millions of years to develop — and in just a few a decades we have drained it like a suburban swimming pool. When it is exhausted, the Midwest breadbasket goes back to Dust Bowl days.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_aquifer

    A minor hiccup — a one year drought in the Midwest — and we got the mass rioting and collapse of governments in Northern Africa known as the Arab spring.

    5) If the Democrats really wanted to sell Agenda 21 to the Republicans they would cast it as a plot to keep the emerging economies barefoot and pregnant. Joe Stalin didn’t give a hairy rat’s ass about sustainable development when he was trying to pull his feudal peasants up into a nuclear armed superpower.

  • Enkidum

    “Yes, Cruz is brilliant”

    Evidence? Citation? Anything?

    Not a total knuckle-dragger, sure. But brilliant?

  • Don Williams

    Cruz is a butt-kissing lawyer and a humanities major — how “brilliant” could he be? He has never served in the military, been a medical worker who saved lives, or built a business and met a payroll. He is an over-entitled immature Texan with no record of accomplishment who has some Rich friends who need him as a front man.

    Sound familiar? How did that work out in 2001-2008?

    Of course, if he had half-way competent opposition he would never have made it out of Texas. As Shakespeare said , the fault lies in ourselves, not in the stars, that we are Republicans’ bitches.

  • Don Williams

    PS And before some pedant notes that Public Affairs is a social science, not humanities, please note that

    dishonest political philosophy is neither Science nor sociable. It is malign sophistry that has had to change it’s name/take several aliases in its 5500 year existence.

    They recently tacked on “science” out of envy over the exceptionally large penises possessed by science majors and engineers.

  • colnago80

    Re Enkidem @ #10

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/01/3536409/ted-cruz-wacko-like-a-fox.html

    Money quote: Will he succeed? If not, it won’t be for lack of brains. At Harvard Law School, he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review (like Barack Obama), and constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who taught Cruz, told me this week that the senator was “among the smartest students I’ve ever had.

    Re Don Williams @ #9

    I have never been a member of the Sierra Club, taking the position that I would never join an organization that would have me as a member.

    Re Don Williams @ #11

    Gee, ole Donaldo’s favorite entrepreneur, Haim Saban, “built a business” and “met a payroll”. Doesn’t seem to engender respect for him from ole Donaldo. As did ole Donaldo’s favorite computer mogul, Michael Dell.

    Actually, Cruz defeated an opponent in the Rethuglican primary who was heavily favored by the Rethuglican Texas establishment.

    Re Don Williams @ #12

    Gee, ole Donaldo’s low opinion of humanities majors matches the low opinion I had of engineering majors as an undergraduate. As we used to quote engineering majors as saying, “6 months I couldn’t even spell inguneer and now I are one”.

  • garnetstar

    If Cruz were so smart, he would have avoided making himself completely un-electable in a nationwide race. Yet, three years before 2016, he’s already done that so thoroughly that he’ll never recover from it, and so will never be elected president.

    Dangerous, yes, but not so intelligent.

  • colnago80

    Re gametstar @ 314

    Cruz first has to win the Rethuglican nomination which requires that he cater to the lowest common denominator amongst the tea party folks and the born agains who dominate Rethuglican primaries. The fact that Cruz is of high intelligence means he is able to make the most extreme statements sound plausible, which is why I consider him so dangerous. See comment #6.

  • Don Williams

    Re 15:

    1) Interesting idea, SLC. Kinda like Adolf playing kissy-kissy with Ernest Rohm and the Brownshirts –then having Ernest and the other SA leaders exterminated during the Night of the Long Knives after Adolf’s wealthy patrons complained about the ..er… nature of the street fighters.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Rohm

    2) Doesn’t always work though — look at Bill Clinton and David Geffen.

    3) Re engineers and physics majors, we always considered hiring physics majors to be Plan D on the programs I worked on. In spite of your shortcomings, you physics guys understood calculus and so were family. Kinda like hiring someone’s half-wit brother — not an optimal solution but workable with enough supervision.

  • colnago80

    Re Don Williams @ #16

    You mean like the Navy had to hire Einstein in 1942 to figure out why so many of their torpedoes were duds. None of their engineers could figure it out.

    As for Cruz dumping his tea party supporters after being elected president like Frankenberger dumped Roehm and his fellow thugs, not going to happen. Cruz won’t want to get primaried in 2020 and will need the support of the teabaggers in Congress to get his agenda through. Adolf didn’t have to worry about getting primaried as he cancelled all future elections or getting his agenda passed.

  • Don Williams

    SLC at 17;

    1) Having argued cases before the Supreme Court, Cruz is probably aware that the US Constitution does not actually give anyone the RIGHT to Vote.

    And if he pointed that out , I can think of at least 4 Supreme Court judges who would nod approvingly and follow with a comment on the wisdom of the Foundering Fathers. Original intent in 1789 can be argued in so many interesting ways.

    2) After all, Bull Connor would have gaped in awe and admiration at how many in the black community have been stripped of the right to vote 5 years after a black President entered the White House and Democrats took control of both houses of Congress.

    http://www.yourblackworld.net/2013/01/black-news/in-alabama-34-of-black-men-have-permanently-lost-the-right-to-vote/

  • Don Williams

    I’m trying to figure out who would be the Ernest Rohm of the Tea Party. Jim Demint?

  • http://rationaldreaming.com tacitus

    If Cruz were so smart, he would have avoided making himself completely un-electable in a nationwide race. Yet, three years before 2016, he’s already done that so thoroughly that he’ll never recover from it, and so will never be elected president.

    That’s my feeling too. If he was smart (as opposed to intelligent) then he would have pivoted as soon as he won the Texas Senate primary, given that he won by 16 points. Even once he was in the Senate, all he needed to do was keep throwing enough red meat around to bolster his credentials with the Republican Primary crowd, and being a thorn in the side of the “RINO” Senate leadership would probably have been enough.

    There was absolutely no need for him to go full wingnut on the list Ed made. As it is, Rand Paul appears to be more electable at this point, which is ridiculous, when you think about it.

    It’s possible that Cruz will end up behaving more like a grown-up at some stage — that’s when his gift of the gab would become dangerous — but the longer he delays it, the less likely that is to happen.

  • http://rationaldreaming.com tacitus

    Shorter Lowry analysis:

    “I love Cruz because he’s sticking it to the Democrats, fnaar, fnaar.”

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    “He is, to borrow the words of the 2009 H.W. Brands biography of FDR, a traitor to his class…”

    You mean, Cruz favors policies that help the poor at the expense of the rich? I don’t think so.

    Lowry doesn’t mean “class” in any economic sense. He means the twisted conservative perception of what constitutes cultural snobbery (e.g. $40,000 Ford F150 = Real American; $25,000 Toyota Prius = elitist).

  • exdrone

    Hey, he was full of potential when he left Canada. I don’t know what you did to him down there.

  • colnago80

    Re Area Man @ #22

    How about a $75,000 Tesla, the best car ever made if one believes CR. Hey, it’s still cheaper then a Mercedes 600 or a Rolls Royce.

  • Don Williams

    There is actually some areas of agreement between the right’s Tea Party and the post-left anarchists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-left_anarchy

    If Cruz focused on attacking the Democrats’ obvious corruption and coercion, he might be able to undermine the Democrats from the left and convince the Naderites, post-left anarchists, and Howard Dean supporters to join a jihad. He doesn’t need to convince the left to vote for him –he just needs to convince them to exterminate the Democratic leadership which has betrayed them.

  • dingojack

    Tell us oh masterful sage Donnikens – when those three or four ‘Naderites, post-left anarchists, and Howard Dean supporters ‘ have left the Democratic Party and joined in with Cruz’s Great Crusade, what then? The Revolution?

    @@

    Dingo

  • Don Williams

    @26:

    ” “State has always been the patrimony of some privileged class: a priestly class, an aristocratic class, a bourgeois class. And finally, when all the other classes have exhausted themselves, the State then becomes the patrimony of the bureaucratic class and then falls—or, if you will, rises—to the position of a machine.”

    —Mikhail Bakunin

  • Don Williams

    Re dingo @26:

    So — have they declared Al Gore President yet? Or is that Florida vote still being counted?

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    How about a $75,000 Tesla, the best car ever made if one believes CR. Hey, it’s still cheaper then a Mercedes 600 or a Rolls Royce.

    Oh, that one’s easy.

    Tesla = elitist. Mercedes or Rolls Royce = Job Creator.

  • dingojack

    I’ll take non-sequiturs for $1000, thanks Donnikens!

    @@

    Dingo

  • colnago80

    Re dingojack the chihuahua @ #26

    Don’t forget that Donaldo was a big Howard Dean supporter in 2004 who has all sorts of conspiracy theories as to why he didn’t win.

  • Don Williams

    SLC @ 31;

    1) It was a conspiracy, not a conspiracy ” theory” when the required reports were finally submitted to the

    FEC:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0306-04.htm

    2) Note that the biggest donor –$200,000 — was submitted by Israel Lobby billionaire S Daniel Abraham after

    Dean told Joe Lieberman that the USA needed to be even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

    That made even Forward blink, since Abraham’s personal assistant Sara Ehrman was on Dean’s campaign staff.

    heh heh

    http://forward.com/articles/6347/campaign-confidential-/

    (Note: Forward is mistaken re size of Abraham’s backstabbing –it was $200,000 not $100,000.)

  • Don Williams

    Correction: in the Forward link, scroll down to the section titled “Fat Contribution”

  • colnago80

    Re Don Williams @ #32

    Of course, Dean’s deranged behavior during his concession speech after the Iowa caucuses had nothing to do with his subsequent losses. As I recall, the lame stream media had a field day with that.

  • Don Williams

    @34:

    1) The “Dean Scream” was a deliberate fraud staged by the News Media — they deliberately cut out the crowd noise that Dean was trying to shout over.

    http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/52564:edward-wasserman–dean-scream-clip-was-media-fraud

  • Don Williams
  • Don Williams

    @ 30

    Not a non-sequitur dingo –but I forgot that you are a foreigner.

    They would have been playing “Hail to the Chief” to Haim Saban …er Al Gore

    back in 2001 if Ralph Nader and the Dirty Fucking Hippies had not grabbed enough

    votes to put George W over the finish line in Florida.

    Well, George also had to get

    a little nudge from several crooks on the Supreme Court but a win’s a win.

    The Israel Lobby billionaires were not amused that Ralphie stuck out a foot and

    hooked Fat Al’s ankle going down the stairwell. Kept Joe Lieberman from

    becoming Vice President.

    Not that it mattered in the end — as Joe Lieberman had noted during the

    Vice President debate in Kentucky, there was not a sliver of daylight between

    him and Dick Cheney anyway.

  • dingojack

    Donnikens still doesn’t answer the question posed in mine #26. (The Gish Gallop – or in this case ‘the Donnikens Diarrhoea Dash’ – isn’t gonna work, Deal with it.)

    Dingo

  • scienceavenger

    Trebuchet: I’ve long held to “Trebuchet’s theory of the Intelligent Fool”, which states that high intelligence not only does not prevent being an utter idiot, but may actually enhance the probability.

    Agreed, see “Why Smart People Believe Stupid Things”. The smarter you are, the better you are at rationalizing whatever goofy beliefs you are emotionally wedded to, and fending off criticisms of them.

  • Don Williams

    @38

    1) Actually I answered it but you are not intelligent enough to understand. The Republicans and Democrats are like two sumo wrestlers locked in straining competition. So if a little radical dwarf comes over and hits the Democrat sumo on the kneecap with a ball peen hammer, the dwarf affects the outcome.

    Ralph Nader did it in the 2000 election.

    2) And ask Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel how long he kept his job after progressive Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake teamed up with the Right’s Grover Norquist:

    http://firedoglake.com/2009/12/25/cenk-uygur-are-you-concerned-now-rahm/

    3) Anybody seen Rahm talking about the “fucking retards” in the Progressive movement lately — or threatening to get their funding cut off?

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/01/26/rahm-emanuel-liberals-are-f-king-retarded/

  • Don Williams
  • dingojack

    Nope, you’re still not getting it. Re-read my original post (or have someone literate read it to you, S-L-O-W-L-Y).

    Dingo

  • colnago80

    Re Don Williams

    Let me make this perfectly clear so that there be no misunderstanding. Any suggestion that Donaldo is down on Rahm Emanuel because of his ethnic background is groundless. Perish the thought.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Shorter Dondi’s logic and rhetorical skilz:

    “I know you are, but what am I?”.

    colnago80:

    I agree that Dondi is pretty good at cut’n’paste and such but, as you also point out, he’s got a head full of angry bees of conspiracy. I would say that it’s hard to square the two*.

    In the sense that “hard” is on the same scale as “deep” is for the Marianna’s Trench.