Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dershowitz on Cruz

After 50 years with the same employer, Alan Dershowitz is nearing retirement. By his count, he's had 10,000 students, and they include some of the leaders of the world, although not one who, despite becoming editor of the law review, was denied access to his enrollment. Dershowitz told me recently he will always remember fondly using the Socratic method in criminal law classes, where, in any given 90-minute lecture, he'd call on about 40 students out of 150 assembled.
"No answer is right," he said. "I'd go from student to student. I knew my students very well and knew what their positions essentially would be so I knew who to call on to get a good, provocative discussion going."
Judging from those whom he's instructed over the years, he had a wealth of choices. Recently, I asked him for a sound bite on some of the better known.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas): "Off-the-charts brilliant. And you know, liberals make the terrible mistake, including some of my friends and colleagues, of thinking that all conservatives are dumb. And I think one of the reasons that conservatives have been beating liberals in the courts and in public debates is because we underestimate them. Never underestimate Ted Cruz. He is off-the-charts brilliant. I don't agree with his politics."


  1. This is namely because he has an audiographic memory. One can witness this by youtubing committee meetings where Cruz cross-examines his opponent citing verbatim his opponents words from years ago.

  2. I don't remember where I heard him say this but he describes his memory process as he sees his brain containing audio "files."

    1. I heard it from Glenn Beck.

      Also, Ted Cruz has said Reagan is his hero. (I may be wrong, but I believe Cruz has even said the only person he admires more is his own father.) However, at least as far as I'm aware, Reagan wasn't the brightest guy. Yet, according to Cruz (among many others), Reagan was a great president.

      At the same time, Bill Clinton is known for being very intelligent. Likewise some say the same about Obama. Yet I wouldn't say they were great presidents at all.

      Perhaps Clinton and Obama are too recent to be objective about. If so, then let's look at Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was said to be a man of high intelligence. I believe the only president with a PhD. Yet he had at best a mixed presidency.

      Likewise, I personally don't agree with a lot of what FDR did as a president, but apparently many rate him as a great president. Yet, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said FDR had "a second-class intellect but a first-class temperament."

      Anyway, I respect people with a high intelligence, but I wouldn't say there's necessarily any correlation between intelligence and being a great president. At the very least, I wouldn't say intelligence is the best criterion for selecting a president.

    2. That said, I'd vote for Cruz over any of the other current frontrunners. I'd also vote for Rubio.