Separated at Birth

Ted Cruz, the new senator from Texas, is worth keeping an eye on.

You will see why if you take a look at the clip below, from yesterday's Senate Armed Services Committee vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense. Scroll past the one-hour mark (though just before that you can hear an interesting presentation by Joe Manchin of West Virginia) and start listening to Cruz at time 01:02:00 for about two minutes. 

If you want, you can check the contemptuous response of the committee's chairman, Carl Levin, to Cruz's line of questioning, starting at about time 01:13:30. Or that of Bill Nelson, about three minutes later.

Now, please listen to the first minute or so of the clip below. This is a loaded comparison, but I have a reason for making it.

Ted Cruz can't help it that his voice, his intonation, his posture at the microphone, and his overall style of speaking are so strongly reminiscent of Joe McCarthy's, who died long before Cruz was born. 

He can help it that his insinuations, without any evidence, that Chuck Hagel could be taking money -- from North Korea (!), from Saudi Arabia or Iran -- so clearly follow the McCarthyite model. (Recall that Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, Robert Gates, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George Schultz, Madeleine Albright, Anthony Zinni, John Warner, Sam Nunn, etc., have considered Hagel "loyal" enough by their standards.) This is a man to watch.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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