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Ted Cruz's College Years: Portrait Of A Young A**hole
Cuban-Canadian Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Daddy Issues) has always been a smug prick. Who knew? Everyone, that's who! (It's his schtick.)
We were already aware of Cruz's refusal, while at Hahhhvahhhd Law School, to dirty his elbows with anyone who'd attended the minor Ivies, as any son of a poor alcoholic immigrant father with WASPy aspirations to grow up to be president would. And that as a child, he was a member of the Constitutional Corroborators, a group of snot-nosed brats who mooch off their parents and travel around Texas, lecturing people about the virtues of the free market, which sounds so perfectly Ted Cruz, you'd think we were making it up. But we are not.
Turns out Cruz was an insufferable jerk when he was a wee undergrad at Princeton University too. Surprise! Because Ted's deadbeat-until-Jesus-saved-him dad had told him his whole life how good he is at words and brain-thinking, he joined Princeton's American Whig-Cliosophic Society when he arrived at its Major Ivy campus. (That's the nation's oldest and most prestigious debating society, which we did not know because we went to UC Santa Cruz, which has neither whigs nor societies, just lots of stoned drum circles.) It was at Princeton where Cruz established himself as a master debater and a rhetorician so brilliant, he could later stage a fake filibuster all by himself (almost) without even breaking a sweat. Beware, Democrats who dare challenge Cruz to a battle of wits, for ye shall surely lose!
In one debate, he proposed a method to detect infidelity, in which God should “give women a hymen that grows back every time she has intercourse with a different guy, because that will be a ‘visible sign’ of the breach of trust,” according to a recollection by David Kennedy published in a Harvard debate team reunion booklet in 2001.
Mr. Kennedy’s debate partner mocked Mr. Cruz’s knowledge of the subject matter by contorting herself to see how the anatomy in question could be “visible,” according to the booklet.
But when his Big Honkin' Thought Muscle ran out of innovative ideas, he always had OUTRAGE! fall back on:
[Former Obama economic adviser Austan D.] Goolsbee and other top debaters on the circuit who frequently beat Mr. Cruz discovered it was easy to get under his skin, especially with humor. “It would unravel him,” Mr. Goolsbee said.
In one round, Mr. Goolsbee pointed out that the story of Mr. Cruz’s father coming to America, as compelling as it sounded, was not entirely relevant to, say, the federal deficit.
“How dare you insult my father!” Mr. Cruz replied.
"Prepare to die!" we assume he added before drawing his sword. That was not his only trick, though:
Letting opponents choose which side to take was one of his patented pieces of debate brinkmanship. His “flourish,” according to Scott Angstreich, a former teammate, would be to crumple up a piece of paper of the side not taken. In reality, the page remaining in his other hand had both the pro and con arguments written on opposite sides.
Clever! We look forward to watching Cruz pull that one off in the GOP primary debates. And of course he loved invoking his father's heart-wrenching life story, which clearly made Cruz an expert on Cuba:
For emotional resonance, Mr. Cruz often invoked his father’s coming to America from Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear. When an Amherst team argued at a tournament in 1989 that Ricky Ricardo should have let Lucy work, Mr. Cruz said, in an incensed voice: “Well, guess what, I’m Cuban! And no self-respecting Cuban man of the era would let his wife work.”
Plus, there's Cruz's renowned sense of humor:
During a break in a tournament at Yale, Mr. Marks recalled, debaters watched as Mr. Cruz argued at a pizza counter over his order before stomping out in a huff. Back at the tournament, the final-round speakers used their speeches to mock Mr. Cruz’s lunchtime antics. But rising from the audience, in his best Nixon impersonation, he declared, “I’m not a crook.”
Hahahahahaha Nixon jokes. So good. Also, being a jerk to a pizza place? If only GoFundMe had existed back then.
Before we hoist the white flag and collectively quit and just inaugurate Ted Cruz as the next president because his ginormous brain is clearly unbeatable, one final note, per fellow debate team member Stephen Wunker:
“He was an extreme fan of the Les Misérables soundtrack,” Mr. Wunker said.
But that was before his "music tastes changed on 9/11," when he realized he loved country even more than rock 'n roll because of how patriotic it is. And definitely presumably more than a light opera based on a French novel about an ex-con raising a prostitute's out-of-wedlock daughter.
[ NYT ]