Rich Lowry has a very interesting piece up at NRO on why the Left really really really hates Ted Cruz, the Republican Senator from Texas, former Solicitor General of Texas, Harvard Law high honors grad, former Supreme Court clerk, Princeton grad, etc. Here's the gist:
Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an extra element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.
It almost is. Princeton and Harvard aren’t quite the École Nationale d’Administration, the French school that trains that country’s political class, but they are close.
In a Washington Post column a year ago, Dana Milbank noted Cruz’s schooling and concluded almost entirely on that basis that his tea party politics must be a put-on, that he is, underneath it all, an “intellectually curious, liberal-arts conservative.” Note the insulting assumption that an interest in books and ideas automatically immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics.
One of the left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. Chris Hayes of MSNBC actually says he fears Cruz’s brilliance. So should congressional witnesses. At hearings, Cruz has the prosecutorial instincts of a … Harvard-trained lawyer. Watching Attorney General Eric Holder try to fend off Cruz’s questioning on the administration’s drone policy a few months ago was like seeing a mouse cornered by a very large cat.
Exactly so. The Left is very scared of Ted Cruz. He disrupts the shape of their universe, challenges the structure of reality they've come to accept as given. He's a really really really smart, intellectual conservative. So they can't follow their usual game plan -- Eisenhower is stupid, Ford is stupid, Reagan is stupid, Bush I was stupid, Bush II was really stupid, etc. So they have to switch to the alternate strategy... Nixon was evil. Expect the vilification of Cruz to continue.
Oh, and he's also Hispanic. Can't have that. Hispanics have to get back on the liberal plantation, er... hacienda.
By the way, the assumption that "an interest in books... immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics" attributed via paraphrase to Dana Milbank at the Washington Post and, by implication, to liberals generally, is truly part of the mindset of liberalism, but also truly bizarre. You'd have to try really hard to ignore how much books, big thick hard-to-read books, have impacted conservatism over the past forty years. If you ask nearly any conservative why they are conservative, they'd be very likely to rattle off the titles of a series of heavyweight books: Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder, Free to Choose by Milton Friedman, Losing Ground and Coming Apart by Charles Murray, Evangelical Catholicism by George Weigel, not to mention the giants, Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind), Friedrich Hayek (The Road to Serfdom), George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm), etc., etc., etc. I'm sure I'm leaving some out... but ask yourself this:
If you went up to a young liberal at a "Occupy Wall Street" rally, do you really think he could rattle off a list of liberal books that affected his development as a liberal as easily as young conservatives could?