Friday, December 11, 2015

Machiavelli, American style

The Ted Cruz Establishment

David Brooks
DEC. 11, 2015, NYT

There are two types of Machiavellians in politics, Selfish Machiavellians and Kind Machiavellians. The Selfish ones are the ones we usually think of — the nakedly ambitious people who are always strategizing, sometimes ruthlessly, for their own personal advantage. The Kind Machiavellians realize that it’s smart to get along with people, so they pick their friendships strategically, feigning affection toward those who might be useful.

In Washington and maybe in life, there are many more Kind Machiavellians than Selfish ones. But Ted Cruz has always stood out for being nakedly ambitious for himself.

He was always drawn to establishment institutions: Princeton, Harvard Law. His personal drive to gain elite posts was noted, even by the standards of such places. He learned tennis to get a clerkship with Justice William Rehnquist. According to The Boston Globe, a female law student who was giving him a ride was shocked when he quickly asked her about her I.Q. and SAT scores.

He joined the Republican establishment while young, working for George W. Bush, though he was marginalized when administration jobs were handed out, reportedly because his ambition was off-putting. Yet Cruz is intelligent, and knows that sometimes you have to switch tactics in order to climb. Over the past few years, Cruz has become a team player. In fact, he’s become a central member of the conservative establishment.

(More here.)

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