SmartyPants in Winter

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, arrives to speak at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 16, 2013.
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

This quote from Harry Reid (D-NV) bears repeating …

“Ted Cruz is smart. He has always been able to talk down to people. He is now in the Senate. People are as smart as he is. He can’t talk down to anyone anymore. But he has still not accepted that in his own head. He still thinks he’s smarter than everybody else. He might be able to work a calculus problem better than I can. But he can’t legislate better than I can.”

This is some expert trolling by Reid and deserved stomping on Cruz after Reid turned his gambit down to a crushing defeat. But it also captures some of what’s happening to Cruz.

As I mentioned before, back when he showed up at Harvard Law School in 1992, he stunned his fellow classmates by putting up flyers around campus for an ‘elite study group’ with the instructions ‘only magnas from top Ivys need apply.’ In other words, at a place where arrogance is like air and self-awareness a precious commodity, Cruz managed to stand out on day one as a triple-ply arrogant ass.

Cruz never seems to have grasped that there are people every bit as sharp as him who didn’t go to an Ivy League School (even a ‘top Ivy’). My read on Cruz, from talking to people who knew him very well in college and law school, is that he’s so confirmed in his belief in his own rectitude and genius that he’s likely impervious to what most of us would interpret as rejection or failure. This didn’t work? Well, too many stupid people or cowards who didn’t flock to my banner. That seemed to be the gist of his speech before the vote. And my guess it wasn’t just puffing but represented his genuine belief.

Remember, this is a man who by all accounts is 100% focused on being the 2016 Republican presidential nominee who has quickly racked up a cosmically abysmal level of popularity nationwide. According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, he has a 14% approval rating nationwide, with 28% disapproving of him. Now he’s back to saying that he can’t rule out shutting down the government again.

He won’t turn back. He’s impervious to negative feedback. The only question now is what do other power players in the GOP do with him.

Latest Editors' Blog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: