The Slatest

Harvard-Educated Lawyer Who’s Worked for Every Branch of Government Runs for President as Outsider

Ted Cruz at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz tweeted this morning about how the Establishment is out to get him:

This was a theme that Cruz was also heard developing in a recording of a Wednesday fundraising meeting that was leaked Thursday: That he, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson appeal to potential 2016 voters who are sick and tired of Washington, D.C., business as usual. Cruz is, he says over and over and over and over, an outsider—and his theory is that Carson and Trump will flame out, leaving him as the only true outsider in the race, consolidating the outsider vote into outsider victory.

While Cruz may be an outsider in the superlimited sense that the chairman of the Republican National Committee might not prefer that Cruz become the party’s presidential nominee vis-à-vis Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, his tweet this morning is a good occasion to review the many ways in which Cruz is, in fact, an utter and complete “Establishment” lifer who has been plugged into the country’s main institutions of political power for going on three decades:

  • In 1989 Cruz enrolled at Princeton University, graduating with a degree from its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
  • Then he got a law degree from Harvard University, which you may be familiar with as a generally accepted synonym for “elite blue-blood institution.”
  • He subsequently clerked at the Supreme Court for conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
  • Then he worked at a lobbying/legal firm in D.C. now known as Cooper & Kirk LLC.
  • Then he worked for George W. Bush. (Cruz claims to have brought current Chief Justice John Roberts onto the 2000 Bush v. Gore case. Hooking a future chief justice up with a president whose father was also president—classic outsider move.)
  • Then he became Texas’ solicitor general, after which he worked for a lobbying/legal firm called Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Then he ran for Senate.

I mean, is it possible that Ted Cruz’s life on the fringes of society was the inspiration for the character of “Max” in Mad Max?

The son of an immigrant who brags about having transported weapons on behalf of one of the United States’ most notorious enemies, Cruz is running on a platform of anti-immigrant suspicion; a graduate of the country’s blue-bloodiest universities and a veteran of its white-shoe-iest law firms who worked for a chief justice and a president, he is running as an enemy of the “Establishment.”


Correction, Jan. 28, 2016: The headline of this post originally misidentified Cruz as a lobbyist; while he was employed by firms that also do lobbying, he worked for them representing clients as an appellate attorney.