Monday, February 25, 2013

Does Ted Cruz Know What he is Talking About?

This is not  rhetorical question, but first some context.   Achieving some sort of land-speed record, the new senator from Texas appears to have established himself already among his Senate colleagues as an industrial-strength prick jerk, by the standards of any civilized community except perhaps Texas.  People seem to be falling all over themselves to compare him to Joe McCarthy but as I've said elsewhere, I think this is wrong: McCarthy was an undisciplined thug who finally self-immolated in an alcoholic haze (dragging, ironically, the cause of anti-communism down with him).  I have said I think the better comparison might be Pat McCarren of Nevada, far more disciplined than McCarthy, with more focused nastiness--the last senator, I believe, who could castrate a baby lamb with his teeth.

Cruz, that is, appears to be both disciplined and smart but the question remains: does he know what he is talking about?  I refer in particular to the kerfuffle over the Harvard Law faculty.  Cruz now-famously said that in his day "there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government" (link).  

Now this is pretty clearly flapdoodle.  Many others have laid out the case in some detail and I can't improve on it except to note: he's pretty clearly talking about Duncan Kennedy and Roberto Unger and their ilk.  For bona fides,l let me concede that I have never really known either of those guys;  but I've had opportunities to observe Kennedy off and on since the spring of 1969, and I actually undertook to read (oh quit giggling) a fair amount of Unger in the 1970s, and take it from one who has been there: the chances of building  revolution around Kennedy and Unger are about the same of getting one out of Wayne and Garth (I almost said Beavis and Butthead but I will grant that that's a stretch).  Woolly headed: confrontational in a middle-class adolescent sort of way (Kennedy); big dreamers (Unger)--but revolutionary?  It is to laugh.

Still, back to the question: does Cruz know this?   Does he really understand that they are just a couple of duffers or does he really think he is gazing into the abyss? Is he just playing to the crowd--or, by chance, is he really so flat-footed ignorant that he might really believe it to be true?

Deflationary response: I really can't make up my mind.  Maybe yes, maybe no. But here's the thing: almost all of the blowback seems to take it for granted that the bum is just lying like a sheepskin rug--after all, he can't be that smart and that wrong by accident.  I wouldn't be so sure.   He does seem to have spent a lot of time inside the bubble, reading his own press releases and drinking his own Kool-ade--more harmful on the whole, I suspect, than drinking his own urine.   I'm open to the possibility that the reason he can hang on through all the guffawing is that he really genuinely, honest and truly,  believes this stuff to be truly true.  Oh, Ted, Ted.  Oh Wayne and Garth.  Oh Ted.  Oh humanity.

1 comment:

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

Well, Kennedy and Unger think that they are revolutionaries. At least Unger. Although his notion of revolution seems more cultural than martial. I could never figure out if Kennedy took himself seriously, although he is certainly overawed by his intellect.