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Cruz control

Ted Cruz explains “The path to victory” in the struggle to defeat Obamacare. I have a hard time following the procedural twists and turns that Cruz insists must be taken. Bryan Preston seconds Cruz here and Glenn Reynolds offers a concise explanation here, but I have a somewhat easier time following Thomas Sowell’s explanation of “The defunding distraction.”

There’s something about Senator Cruz that rubs me the wrong way. He appears to me to be unable to simulate modesty, in part because he accurately perceives his own gifts. I think the arrogance is a handicap in trying to persuade others that he has their best interests at heart. I didn’t need Jason Zengerle’s interesting GQ profile of Cruz for assistance on the matter of his arrogance.

Readers in search of a fair-minded profile won’t be able to do any better than Andrew Ferguson’s “Washington builds a bugaboo,” in the current issue of the Weekly Standard. Ferguson perfectly lays out the means deployed by the media to stigmatize Cruz and to assist his political opponents in taking him down. Spending time with him on the road, however, Ferguson had a hard time getting an unscripted sentence out of Cruz:

Later we sat together in the back seat of a car driving to another speech. Cruz spoke in personal ways about going to his alma mater, Princeton, but the word clumps from the speeches, the set pieces that he arranges in one sequence or another and seldom departs from, were always within reach. He spoke of his father again. He mentioned the great divide in America, again, and was quoting Margaret Thatcher when I realized he was giving a speech again, except this time at close quarters, only a few feet away, in the back seat of a car. I made a quick calculation of how many vertebrae I would damage if I slipped the lock, opened the door, and did a tuck and roll onto the passing pavement. The answer was: too many. So I contented myself with looking out the window at the Houston exurbs until the speech wound down and I could ask another question, after which the speech resumed and I watched the endless series of tire stores and taco stands and Jiffy Lubes roll by.

As Ferguson himself concedes, the “discipline” exhibited by Cruz is not a fault in an ambitious politician, but it demonstrates a failure of understanding on the part of Cruz to think that Ferguson would take the script at face value. Ferguson nevertheless also elicited this testimony from Cruz’s Princeton roommate:

His earliest and closest friend at Princeton, and later best man at his wedding, was a Jamaican named David Panton, admitted as a freshman at the age of 16.

“I had a tough time at Princeton,” Panton said. “I was very young. I wasn’t social. Really I was a geek. Ted, though, was very social, and his mentorship made me a better person.

“That’s the message I would like to get out about Ted: his compassion.

“He was never arrogant, he was always kind and patient with me, and with others, no matter how much success he had.

It’s a long profile, but the whole thing is worth reading.

UPDATE: The bad links I had in the first paragraph are now fixed.

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