Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Actual Reportage on Cruz the Man

Journalist Erica Grieder first met a certain ambitious young lawyer in 2009, and recalls the conversation.
The lawyer and I quickly fell into a lively exchange about the ongoing contrast between the Texas Miracle and the Great Recession, with reference to Dallas Fed data and the political philosopher John Rawls. I was impressed enough to make note of his name: Ted Cruz.
I know. What's not to like? So now Grieder has written a "Field Guide to Ted Cruz¨ in the Texas Monthly. It's one of those by the numbers pieces: "Ten tips to figuring out the 'Wacko Bird.'"

"Ted Cruz is not a fire-breathing extremist." But since he's "running for the Republican nomination, the perception that he is a ferocious hard-liner serves his interests, and he’s not likely to dispute it."

Nor is Cruz an unstable maniac. "He was impeccably polite and well-mannered with me, and in all the interactions I observed."

"He has nerves of steel." Nobody thought Ted could win the Senate seat against David Dewhurst in 2012. And "His presidential campaign itself has been an ongoing exercise in taking risks that would make many of his peers feel faint."

"Ted Cruz is smarter than you", meaning that when he does something crazy, it may be because he is smart. But like many smart people, he may be too smart for his own good.

Cruz is deadly serious about strategy. As in announcing his presidential bid at Liberty University. And he is very careful about words; so if you are a journalist it is probably better to read what he wrote than ask him a question.

"Cruz is a mainstream conservative from the Texas Republican establishment." Imagine!

"Cruz is really into the Constitution." In fact he memorized it while in high school with the Free Enterprise Institute, and he has studied the Federalist Papers. I'm only half way through the Federalist Papers but I can tell you that, more than an apology for the Constitution, it is an incredibly sophisticated analysis of political power.

"Cruz is in it to win." He is not running for vice-president or a gig on FoxNews.
Cruz is running for president because he wants to be president, and because, having surveyed the 2016 political landscape with his dauntingly intelligent and highly strategic mind, he concluded that he can win.
I don't know about you, but I found "The Field Guide to Ted Cruz" very helpful. Thank you, Erica Grieder, for committing journalism. 

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