Skip to comments.The “Ted Cruz is smart” trap: Why this garbage is false — and dangerous (Preemptive Palin on him?)
Posted on 07/28/2014 10:40:10 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The Texas senator convinces all of his enemies to praise his intellect. Here's why they're wrong -- and should stop.
Even Ted Cruzs critics seem to concur on one point: whatever else you might say about him, the man is very smart. Mother Jones magazine has called him the thinking mans tea partier. Josh Marshall, in a mostly withering assessment, made the same obligatory concession to his being an incredibly bright guy. Jeffrey Toobins recent, ostensibly critical New Yorker profile of Cruz is full of quotes about his being the smartest guy in the room, his sophisticated constitutional views, and the extraordinary erudition of his senior thesis.
Cruz likely finds all of this very pleasing indeed. In his interview with Toobin, Cruz quotes Sun Tzu, saying that every battle is won before its fought. Its won by choosing the terrain on which it will be fought. In getting those who despise him to genuflect to his intelligence, Ted Cruz has already won one battle. Jeffrey Toobin may lace his piece with dismissive sneers, yet somehow he still contributes to the ever-growing heap of liberal respect for Cruzs mental acuity.
But theres no reason to keep this up. For one thing, it doesnt seem especially true. It cant really be that we think Cruz has a sophisticated mind, given that the only thoughts he produces are angry pants-on-fire platitudinous drivel. Even those who lavish praise on his oratory seem to agree that his heat-to-light ratio nears the infinite, and that thoughtfulness and Ted Cruz cannot exist in the same room. His only memorable quotes appear to be cheap jokes, and the most notable speech of his entire career is not his own, but Dr. Seuss. Nobody who has witnessed a few minutes of Cruzs piece of senatorial performance art would have thought to label him a thinker, were it not for the preexisting consensus that he is one.
Cruz has become notorious for using distortive, misleading rhetoric that no sober-minded individual could apply. Cruz says Obamacares intent is to destroy the private insurance business, despite the fact that the whole progressive complaint about Obamacare is that it is a massive windfall to insurers. He says a campaign finance amendment attempting to rein in spending literally repeals the First Amendment. But even more alarming are the straightforward factual errors. He has mistakenly claimed that most premiums have risen under the Affordable Care Act and that states with gun control have the highest murder rates, among other elementary blunders that earned him a rating on PolitiFact of 10 falsehoods for every one truth.
One may respond that Cruz is shrewd and knows better, that these are calculated political lies by a devious plotter. But for a savant merely playing an imbecile on television, Cruz is strangely inept when it comes to policymaking. He has alienated all of his colleagues, and wants to revive the gay marriage fight at a time when it couldnt be more unwise. His major act of strategic maneuvering over the government shutdown proved a colossal high-profile failure, the result of which was that as his name recognition improves, his favorability ratings actually drop. Even the Wall Street Journal has labeled him part of a kamikaze caucus that is dooming conservatives prospects. If Ted Cruzs misstatements are deft politicking rather than idiocy, then where, one might ask, are the successes?
Ultimately, though, the most damning evidence against Cruzs intelligence may actually come from his law school roommate and college debating partner, David Panton. Teds views today politically are almost identical to when I met him, Panton said. Theres nothing he says today that I didnt hear in college. That assessment, spoken about anybody, should be convincing enough evidence for shallowness of mind. Can there be such thing as a learned person who has discovered nothing new since freshman year?
In fact, the stories about Cruzs younger days show the marks of someone profoundly insecure about his intelligence. Quizzing others as to their SAT scores, wanting to limit his law-school study group to graduates of the H-Y-P schools (a charge Cruz has denied), an unrelenting and discomforting argumentative aggression: Hes missing only a Mensa application to complete the full package of desperate IQ-dork self-affirmations.
Of course, a chorus of people from Cruzs student years has vouched for his brilliance. No less a heavyweight than Alan Dershowitz has commented on Cruzs precocity at Harvard. Now, one could somewhat unkindly argue that Dershowitz, too, has in his career relied on peoples confusion of credentials and bluster for depth of intellect. More to the point, though, is that the evidence put forth doesnt support the claim. Nobody doubts that Cruz has the gift of gab, and can be formidable in an argument. But sophistry is not philosophy, and being the loudest, most driven, and most shameless guy in the room does not necessarily make one the brightest.
Any definition of intelligence is destined to be highly contestable. Yet it is hard to imagine a plausible one that does not include large measures of critical thinking and self-scrutiny. As Bertrand Russell put it, its always a central problem that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Intelligence necessitates doubt, for doubt is the origin of wisdom. One whose mind is clamped shut cannot be intelligent, and yet Ted Cruz does not in his life ever seem to have taken on board a single challenge to his worldview.
In fact, the consistent overgenerous assessment of Cruzs brains may stem from a deeper problem with the values of the elite legal community. If Newt Gingrich is a stupid persons idea of what a smart person looks like, Ted Cruz is a lawyers idea of what a smart person looks like. Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post puzzled that someone she had been assured has a sharp legal mind could be so blisteringly lacking in common sense. But success in the legal world does not depend on common sense. Ambition and confidence can more than make up for it. Law schools pose as Socratic institutions, where preconceptions are left in tatters on the lecture-room floor, but in practice they reward sparring ability far more than reflection and careful scholarliness (the haphazard, un-peer-reviewed world of law journals can attest to the legal academys prioritization of argumentative formalism over a sober-minded quest for enlightenment). A person with one or two core principles, and a ruthless willingness to bend any truth that gets in the way, can do very well for himself at law school. Certainly, this requires skill. But it would be a sad day for the progress of human knowledge if we called it intelligence.
Cruzs outsize ambition means that this narrative makes a difference. So long as those who oppose him nevertheless dutifully incant praises to his intellect, Cruz has them right where he wants them. Josh Marshall summed up the opinion surrounding Cruz as Arrogant ***hole, Super Smart. But who cares about being called an arrogant ***hole, so long as they admit youre super smart? ***holes finish first, dont they? That kind of consensus makes the haters seem petty and lets Cruz keep playing the scholar. The key is to admit what is obvious from a few minutes of listening to him. The man is arrogant, but he doesnt actually seem very smart.
If the loveliest trick of the devil is to convince you he doesnt exist, the most incontestably brilliant trick of Ted Cruz is to convince you of his incontestable brilliance. Theres no need to keep falling for it.
Nathan’s a piece of work, Vet. He doesn’t think Cruz is smart.
He could have said that in one sentence. He writes like he’s getting paid by the word.
It looks as if Yale grads are envious of Harvard grads!
Which I'm sure he is. What college student already thinks he knows so much that he must write a book? I have a bad feeling we're going to be hearing his name in the future. I wonder if he's part Native American? LOL
Just another young leftist diatribe.
Did Nathan just admit he has ED?
It did sound like he may have decided to bail on law and was thinking of using his degree as a ticket to Weinerville.
Yeah, he could be a Weiner or Wasserman. He’s shrill, verbose, into tautology and ideology, says all the right things (’goodthinkful’), brimming with lefty cant, win at any price zeal, but not in a courtroom apparently.
I’ve never understood why so many, usually Democrats for some reason, get these high dollar Ivy league educations, then they go into politics where you’re qualified when you learn to count.
George Orwell described the perfect Oceana party member in his 1984 book: short, fat, beetle-browed men who scurried about like bugs, always squirming.
He’ll do well in politics.
Nathan looks like he’s about 20 and finally managed to get a girl down to her panties last night before she sobered up and ran away.
The dork is strong in that one!
His first hooker took his money after kicking his ass, and it was his cousin, the family tranny.
Of course, a chorus of people from Cruzs student years has vouched for his brilliance. No less a heavyweight than Alan Dershowitz has commented on Cruzs precocity at Harvard. Now, one could somewhat unkindly argue that Dershowitz, too, has in his career relied on peoples confusion of credentials and bluster for depth of intellect. More to the point, though, is that the evidence put forth doesnt support the claim. Nobody doubts that Cruz has the gift of gab, and can be formidable in an argument. But sophistry is not philosophy, and being the loudest, most driven, and most shameless guy in the room does not necessarily make one the brightest. <<
A nationally renowned legal scholar says Cruz was precocious at Harvard...then the “author” forgot to illustrate why this was untrue. Indeed he gives that Cruz has the gift of gab, and is formidable in an argument. Two very large elements in anyone’s assessment of IQ...except the “author”. The author must have missed the class on logical fallacies, as most of “writing” is not to any journalistic standard I am aware of...oh, it is a Salon Story, can you still get 10,000 shares for a buck?
“and yet Ted Cruz does not in his life ever seem to have taken on board a single challenge to his worldview”
With this comment Nathan Robinson loses all credibility, as well as any chance of appearing to have an intelligence worth mentioning.
Here’s his first article at Huffpo from ‘08. No wonder they love him.
How to Perform a Citizen’s Arrest of A Bush Administration Official
Upon inspection, I would say young Nathan is long on opinion, but short on fact.
Yes, they are called people of conviction and do not fall for the Marxist agenda of the Ivy League schools.
You have to say this in a 1948 movie accent:
“Why Mr Nathan, I’m so confused, Mr Cruz is smart, now he isn’t smart ... I may just have to use my own mind.”
I know a Harvard law grad who is so conceited he wrote not one, but two autobiographies about himself after getting out of law school. Although the rumor is that he may have gotten someone else to write the books for him and then pretended he wrote them.
Cruz Filibustered for how many hours and NEVER ONCE resorted to reading out of the phone book????? And the whole time was engaging and pleasant to listen to...
Yet the “Genius” Obama loses his teleprompter and sound like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omHUsRTYFAU
Did Obama EVER Filibuster in the Senate Chamber when he was a senator from Ill-Noise? Or did he just vote present and go on a Speedo “Man panty” raid at the DC bathhouse?
Ummm no to the book. Nathan must not be doing well in class if he has enough time to write drivel
“He” looks like Rachael Maddow with a different set of glasses..... Maybe this is what Rachel Maddow wears for his night job....
Mr. Robinson has a point there.
In fact before he went to college, Nathan has NO idea how to "felch" or how to properly give a "blumpkin"...
Now he can! And does with regularity!
Haters gotta hate.
I was solemnly assured of this reality as a young child in two election campaigns by supporters of Adlai Stevenson who was regarded by every liberal who drew breath to be light-years smarter than poor bumbling "Ike," the general who could seldom contrive to put together an intelligible English sentence.
Why do liberals persist in arguing that all Republican candidates for the presidency are stupid (with the exception of Richard Nixon who was evil) while all Democrat candidates border on genius? Are you old enough to remember that John F. Kennedy was a speed reader who could read a book in an hour? I remember that, I also know that it was false. Nixon, actually, was a man possessed of a much higher IQ than John F. Kennedy. We were told that Presidents Ford, Reagan and both Bushs were really not very bright, in fact quite stupid. But Barack Obama is a near genius who dazzles his staff and administration with his brilliance and in fact is so intelligent that the presidency bores him. Likewise, Bill Clinton knew the details of matters better than his briefers. So the man who was stunningly intelligent was stupid enough to endanger his presidency and his country by being fellated under the Presidential Desk and masturbating into the oval office Annex sink.
Why liberals behave this way is obvious from Bill Clinton, liberals put little or no value in a candidate's character, they cannot after all if one looks at the characters of their elected presidents post-World War II:
John F. Kennedy: pathological womanizer, cynic, drug abuser;
Lyndon B. Johnson: indiscriminate womanizer, corrupt, demagogue;
William Jefferson Clinton: pathological womanizer, rapist, serial abuser of women, proven by his own DNA to be a perjurer, corrupt, demagogue;
Barack Obama: Liar, communist, race baiter, hater of America.
Unable to present candidates who can run on their character, the left resorts to fantasies about their candidates' intellects and to traducing the intelligence of their opponents such as we see in this article concerning Ted Cruz.
But there is a deeper more visceral need in leftists to exaggerate the quotient of intelligence one way or another depending on the political affiliation of a candidate and it has to do with a whole series of psychological needs of liberals.
First, Dennis Prager is right, our politics are influenced by our judgment whether man is essentially good or not. That decision, usually quite unconsciously made, comes as a direct result of whether we believe in God or not, especially the Judeo-Christian concept of God. Liberals overwhelmingly do not believe in God and they substitute a fixation on pseudoscience which they proclaim to be actual science. In a world without God, man is God and character, as defined to be alignment with God's Order, is irrelevant and certainly inconvenient.
Second, the the saying is quite correct, the man who does not believe in God will not believe in nothing, he will believe in anything. This vacuum has to be filled and the leftists' psyche invariably fills it with a superhero. That is why failed socialism is never blamed on the inherent fallacies of the doctrine but on the wrong socialists being in charge. This time our candidate is the right socialist and socialism at last will be properly managed. Hail Caesar!
Third, the nonbeliever is a nonbeliever because he is a God player and to believe in God inconveniently gets in the way of this lust for infinite power. The left ceaselessly whores after the new Messiah who will play God on a grand scale. To leftists bent on social engineering, society is nothing more than a giant Skinner box and the man in control of the levers in that box controls society. They want a godlike player to play God.
In the service of this soul sickness, leftists have no regard for matters of character and are quite free to lie and slander in order to elect their Messiah who will finally bring us utopia. We see this phenomenon egregiously at play in this article by this puerile author.
It was a huge mistake to outlaw spanking in schools.
Longtime Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz has said that Cruz was one of the smartest students he ever taught. I guess the dipsh*t who wrote this article knows more than Alan does.
Robinson cites Senator Ted Cruz’s assertion that “states with gun control have the highest murder rates” has “earned him a rating on PolitiFact of 10 falsehoods for every one truth.” The murder rates will occur irrespective of the amount of gun control. Even if a gun control law reduced firearm-related murders and suicides, it would mean nothing if people intent on committing murder and suicide achieved their objectives by other means. Also, the statistics report all gun violence and do not differentiate deaths due to self defense. In states with the highest gun ownership, the use of guns to commit violence is discouraged. Washington, D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. And yet again, the gun murder rate remains dramatically high, the highest in the United States in fact.
This tells us that Senator Ted Cruz has looked at the gun-control issue with a perceptive mind. It is Nathan J. Robinson who failed to look at the statistics with a perceptive mind.
Most likely beat up in school, got a lot of “Awahnee (Jr. high school) shampoos”, and the school narc (tattletale).
Looks like he constantly whines and sneers.
OMG, it’s worst than I thought, anyone want to bet he is queer as a 3 dollar bill?
Yeah, I’m gonna run right over to Amazon to buy his book.
Moe Howard calls Albert Einstein and idiot....
This mope quotes Bertrand Russell about how the stupid are cocksure about their own intelligence while the truly intelligent are filled with doubt. Reading this article by this arrogant, progressive, egotistical, cocksure, little dweeb leaves me little doubt as to who is intelligent and who is not.
It's official. Obama is a flaming idiot.
It's funny, this paragraph coming from a leftist twink who's libtard politics have changed not one iota since college. A tranny on full autoparrot denigrating the intellect of another - it's too rich.
Bwahahaha. The picture says it all. The type of guy who gets sand kicked in his face by the 98 lb weakling.
Salon where the efete meet to bleat after a few at the saloon.
Does anyone outside the leftard echo chamber even READ Salon?
What a fool. It bothers me when cocky young college grads, who know nothing of the real world, think they are qualified to judge the intelligence of someone who is older and has not only proved his worth, but has been praised by his professors for his intelligence. I believe that Cruz has even argued cases in front of the SCOTUS. What has this sniveling weasel ever done worth mentioning? His alma mater means nothing, if Obama is anything to judge by. I bet this infant believes that Obama has claim to intelligence, despite the lack of evidence to substantiate this; evidence of which Cruz has much. This is why the voting age should be raised to 25 at the very least.
Uh, oh! The liberal meme that conservatives are dumb has been disrupted! Whatever shall they do?
Uh, oh! The liberal meme that conservatives are dumb has been disrupted! Whatever shall they do?
Not known to me. Have never checked. 10,000 shares for a buck sounds overpriced considering their writers inability to not be coherent. Double negative.
Right Nathan, any idiot can graduate from an Ivy League law school - you should know. Oh, yeah, and all those lefty writers who got “duped” into thinking Cruz was so smart - they must be morons as well.
Very seldom (maybe once or twice a year) do I look at or read salon or huffington puffington. Can sense, from your provided photo, this one has never been exposed to the real world. A tour of duty would possibly do this one a world of good. Maybe am wrong though. From the looks of this one, would have to say deserter material that would offer aid and comfort to America’s enemies. Suppose I should look at salon and huffington a little more often to spot the treasonous that prefer the enemies and insane of America over the friends and sane of America.
Silly Vet, don’t you know that anyone who disagrees with a liberal/progressive/pileofsh*t only does so because they’re STUPID?
Just ask any L/P/PoS, they’ll tell you...
Me thinks he is the one with the panties.
Maybe he can write about how stupid the democraps are.
“It cant really be that we think Cruz has a sophisticated mind, given that the only thoughts he produces are angry pants-on-fire platitudinous drivel.”
Translation: “Cruz doesn’t agree with me, therefore he must be stupid.”
Salon, of course. Nothing from there makes sense. But this twit thinks he knows more than Ted Cruz. Okay. /rolleyes
I’m pretty sure he’s misquoting Bertrand Russel at least.
Not only that, he was #2 after Ted Olsen in Bush vs. Gore.
Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995 and William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States in 1996. Cruz was the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.
Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devise strategy, and draft pleadings for filing with the Supreme Court of Florida and U.S. Supreme Court, the specific case being Bush v. Gore, during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, leading to two successful decisions for the Bush team.
Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court. Cruz’s record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress. Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: “We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights.”
In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In 2004, Cruz was involved in the high-profile case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, in which Cruz wrote a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of all 50 states which argued that a non-custodial parent does not have standing in court to sue to stop a public school from requiring its students to recite of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Supreme Court upheld the position of Cruzs brief in a 9-0 decision.
Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was decided 5-4 in his favor in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.
Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt by the International Court of Justice to re-open the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row.
Now remember, Ted Cruz is only 43.