It appears that Ted Cruz has not changed at all since the day he arrived at Princeton as a freshman in 1988. According to an in-depth look at the young Cruz, The Daily Beast talks about his views and attitudes then, versus his views and attitudes now. In some circles, he was arrogant, abrasive, intense, crank, strident, and arrogant. He had a few close friends, but what this shows is that the Ted Cruz that entered Princeton is the same Ted Cruz we’re dealing with today.
A rigid man, incapable of adapting or changing his beliefs
Eric Leitch, who lived with Cruz at Princeton, remembers him as someone “who had nothing to learn from anyone else.” To Leitch, the only point of Cruz even coming to talk to you was solely to convince you of the rightness of his views. And Cruz’ roommate, Craig Mazin, remembers being surprised at how extreme Cruz was in his political views. Many others from Princeton view him negatively, also.
Cruz did make some friends, and some of them remained friends through Cruz’ time at Harvard Law School. They, unlike the people mentioned above, thought he was a nice guy, gentle-hearted, and a skilled debater. In fact, they believe the reason some people saw him as abrasive and argumentative is because he was such a skilled debater. He was one of the top debaters at Harvard, and in the nation, back then.
Those who admire Cruz believe he’s very consistent in his beliefs and views. No doubt they think this is what America needs; someone who doesn’t change. Others, however, see this as rigid, “calcified” thinking that is immune to facts, and oblivious to an ever-changing world. Unfortunately, the fact that he never changes his views is a dangerous problem, because the world does change.
The New York Times talks about Cruz’ “evolution” from a practical, Ivy-League educated lawyer into a Tea Party firebrand, and, according to a strategist who advised David Dewhurst during his failed Senate bid against Cruz, someone we should not underestimate. He’s got a bigger picture than people appreciate.
A picture like that can’t include inflexibility, though. A changing country, and a changing world, needs someone who’s flexible and adaptable, and who can change their views when new facts are revealed. Instead, Cruz, and the rest of the Tea Party, refuse to change and refuse to acknowledge change. It’s why he’s so anti-science, and it’s why he’s so conservative. That kind of inflexibility is not good for America, but it appeals to hardline conservatives because they fear change.
His fellow Republicans aren’t keen on him, either
Senator John Cornyn, Cruz’ co-Senator from Texas, is not going to back him as a presidential candidate, according to Politico. He said that there will probably be a lot of Texans who run for president, and so he’s remaining neutral. The decision, however, could be due to the fact that Cruz didn’t back Cornyn during his primary race last year, though Cornyn says that’s not the case.
It could also be because Cornyn and Cruz disagree on a number of tactical issues, including 2013’s government shutdown. Cruz also always has bad things to say about the Senate leadership, of which Cornyn is a part.
The New York Times article mentions the 2013 shutdown, and Cruz’ repeated efforts to use spending bills to undo Obama’s policies, have upset his Republican colleagues, because the party has taken a major beating for all of that. They still can’t figure out what he was thinking when he tried to put repealing Obama’s immigration orders into a spending bill, which failed and gave Democrats an opportunity to push through confirmations of several presidential nominees. He’s also not that great a lawmaker. Of the 113 bills he’s sponsored or co-sponsored, exactly one has become law.
The number of Republicans in the general public who say they can’t back Cruz is similar to those who won’t back Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, or Rand Paul. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, who posted this dismal look at Cruz’ early chances, wondered why Cruz doesn’t look stronger out of the gate. Perhaps it’s because people see Cruz as too conservative, too extreme, too arrogant, and very bad at knowing what he should be doing.
Certainly, someone who hasn’t changed in nearly 30 years doesn’t present too well as a leader, even for Republicans.