Senator Marco Rubio, check! Senator Rand Paul, check! So, let’s do Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) today. Why Senator Cruz? Two reasons: First, he rounds out the field of first-term senators; Second, I’ve been in a bit of a funk for a couple of days, and the opportunity to expose this puerile personification of pestilence will surely lift up my spirits.
Senator Cruz has been a United States Senator for 841 days. For eight-plus years he served as the Texas Solicitor General. In earlier years he clerked for a Fourth Circuit judge, and for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, before he worked for a firm known for its advocacy for conservative causes
Cruz fans claim he’s smart. “He went to Princeton and Harvard,” they say. What do you think those folks might say if he was a liberal Democrat, with his surname? Read Discriminations for the likely answer. (I’m sparing you a string of similar citations.)
I’m sure Senator Cruz has plenty of neurons firing away upstairs, but to what end. When he was in college he was a debater, and a pretty good one, apparently. Jason Horowitz wrote Ted Cruz Showed Eloquence, and Limits, as a Debater at Princeton for the New York Times on April 22. Mr. Horowitz shared this anecdote at the beginning of the article:
… when he reached the quarterfinals and of the national championships at MIT, with the title that had eluded him so far now in sight, he decided to try to knock his Harvard opponents off balance of one of his favorite tricks.
Instead of the regular practice of defending his proposed topic … Mr. Cruz let his adversaries choose which side to argue. … As he waited for them to decide, the two Harvard students conspicuously dithered, eating up Mr. Cruz’s allotted speaking time as they whispered and searched their pockets for a coin to flip.
The audience, now onto the stalling tactic, chuckled as Mr. Cruz snapped: ‘Gentlemen! You must have decided by now.’
Mr. Cruz and his partner lost.
I know some people who must be related to Senator Cruz. Smart, but pompous, arrogant, and totally self-absorbed. And often unsuccessful precisely on account of their traits!
Now, a college debate experience should not define anyone who is 45-years-old. So what has Senator Cruz accomplished in 841 days in office? Well, he shut down the government for 13 days in October 2013, after being in office for less than nine months. Later, he claimed the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shut down the government, because they refused to defund Obamacare, the price of poker for Senator Cruz and his allies. Even Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) offered a “Yep” in response to Jay Leno’s question about GOP responsibility for the government shutdown.
Other accomplishments? I googled Ted Cruz accomplishments and found no links which suggest that he has accomplished anything. At. all. I did, however, run across Govtrack.us, a site which analyzes the performance of Senators and representatives. Here’s the page for Senator Cruz. The chart—which looks at ideology and leadership—interested me. Surprisingly, Senator Cruz is a moderate among Republican senators. Not surprisingly, he’s not a leader.
So maybe Senator Cruz is a quiet hard-working back bencher, learning how to be a senator. Or not.
I went to a fair and balanced source, Fox News, for answers. I read Absentee ballot: Ted Cruz a no-show at most committee meetings, floor votes.* So, not so much on that front either.
(For readers who want a more complete picture of the man who’s never there, read Ted Cruz the Senator: Heard But not Seen by Austin Wright for Politico on April 21. The piece includes a proud comment by the senator, when he was running for office, about how he would not get along with his fellow senators.)
So what are we left with? Perhaps, what we really have is a 45-year-old man whose actions on the stage at the debate 25 or so years ago do define him. Vainglorious, vapid, and vexatious. And, now, wrong in every way for this country.
And about my funk? Feeling better even as I write this last sentence, thank you very much!
*Actually, the piece was written for Fox News Latino. Fox News may have a different set of facts.