Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The unguided Cruz missile

Ever since the voters of Texas in their infinite wisdom foisted Ted Cruz onto the national politics stage of America, we have read and listened to innumerable stories about the man that tell us that, whatever else he may be, he is very, very smart. And ever since he arrived on the scene and I've been reading those stories, I've been saying "Show me the evidence!"

Just ask my husband. We've had this discussion several times, because he tends to think that Cruz is very intelligent and that he just "plays stupid" for his tea party supporters. I maintain that he isn't playing.

But you won't convince any Beltway pundits of that. The "Cruz is brilliant" meme, which I suspect was started by Cruz himself, is now accepted wisdom with the Beltway crowd, and every time anyone mentions the name Ted Cruz, it is mandatory that they mention how smart he is.

So, mine has been a lonely voice indeed, which is why I was elated to see this headline on Salon.com yesterday: "The 'Ted Cruz is smart' trap: Why this garbage is false - and dangerous." 

"Yes!" I cried. Vindication at last! Someone agrees with me.

Nathan Robinson, the author of the piece, writes, "It can't 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."

Well said, Nathan. To those who take the opposite view, I challenge them to name one original thought expressed by the man since he has been a senator or one positive and forward-thinking act taken in that period. He is a smarmy, egotistical, bomb-throwing, arrogant, destructive force, who cheerfully lies in support of his agenda in the certain belief that no one will call him on it because everyone is so intimidated by his vast intelligence. 

Moreover, Cruz seems to be thoroughly lacking in people skills and has completely alienated his fellow senators, which is apparently not all that easy to do in the clubby atmosphere of that body. He makes enemies every time he opens his mouth. Which is often. Like some other senators - John McCain comes to mind - he lives for the spotlight and, unfortunately, the mainstream media cooperates with him by shining it on him pretty much 24-7.

Nathan Robinson again:
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, it’s 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.
We can be pretty sure that Ted Cruz is never troubled by doubt. Glib and loquacious, ambitious and confident he may be; a deep thinker he is not. The description once applied to Newt Gingrich - “a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person looks like” - seems to fit Ted Cruz perfectly. And since there are apparently plenty of stupid people around, especially among the media, we probably will continue hearing about how smart he is.

2 comments: