DANIEL VAUGHAN: Will the Real Vivek Ramaswamy Please Stand Up?

August 25, 2023

There's an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data, the android, tries to learn how to tell a joke. The poor robot is hopelessly confused about how humor works and seeks the advice of everyone. At one point, he goes on the stage. He starts mimicking a standup artist and telling the jokes of other famous standup comedians. The audience laughs, but Data never understands why. And then he realizes he's telling other people's jokes in front of a fake crowd programmed to laugh.

Watching Vivek Ramaswamy attempt to join the Republican Primary Debate stage, you can sense his preparation was similar. He went through and watched all the famous moments from debates of the past and said to himself: "I'll kill it and attack everyone else to build my stature!"

Vivek Gets US History Wrong.

Thus, the uncoordinated, convoluted, incoherent mess that is Vivek Ramaswamy took the stage, flailed in every direction, and ended up smacking himself in the face. Case in point, Ramaswamy has repeatedly stated he wants the voting age raised to 25 and to force Americans to take a civics test or be forced to serve in a civic function before being able to vote. He then claimed on the debate stage. "The US Constitution, it is the strongest guarantor of freedom in human history. That is what won us the American Revolution."

If you're confused, so is any American with a passing remembrance of their history. The American Revolution had many noble aims and documents supporting it. The US Constitution wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye during the war.

You could excuse this as a simple historical blunder. But it's typical for Ramaswamy - brash lines and stolen ideas from other people - that he doesn't even understand when he's forced to defend them. Chris Christie called him ChatGPT, which is unfortunate for the AI model because it could accurately answer these questions without the level of over-confident inventions Vivek Ramaswamy uses on every topic.

Vivek Gets Foreign Policy Wrong.

Take his broadsides with former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley:

Ukraine is "not a priority for the United States of America," Mr. Ramaswamy said on Wednesday evening, with the hoary line that America should focus on its own border, not Russia's with Ukraine. Nothing about shipping Stingers abroad precludes the US government from fixing immigration chaos, and Mr. Ramaswamy knows this. He's repackaging a Bernie Sanders applause line, with the border replacing social welfare.

Bernie Sanders wasn't the only Democrat Ramaswamy channeled on the debate stage. When he wasn't busy ripping off Bernie Sanders's foreign policy lines, he was taking Barack Obama's one-liners or trying to act like Donald Trump.

Ramaswamy bizarrely claimed he'd "cut a deal with Vladimir Putin to freeze the current lines of control and vow never to admit Kyiv to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In return, Mr. Ramaswamy says, Mr. Putin would exit his alliance with China."

To call this fanciful thinking is putting it mildly. China has an active interest in how the Ukraine war ends. Ukraine is the breadbasket of the region. If Russia takes over, they can supply China with cheap food products, reducing reliance on US and Western food products. That would remove a critical economic deterrence power against powers like China.

Russia already helps China by providing cheap oil, minerals, and other raw products. China uses that to help build its products, including military equipment. The idea that any American can waltz into Moscow and break up the Russia-China alliance with a deal over Ukraine isn't just wrong; it's devoid of all common sense. China and Russia have a beneficial relationship across a multitude of areas. Russia would take Vivek Ramaswamy's offer and then continue the war.

Ramaswamy's foreign policy is telling the frog that it can safely cross the stream on the back of the scorpion. There's nothing to be concerned about, you see, because a "deal was struck." Scorpions sting because it's in their nature to do so. Vladimir Putin is a stone-cold killer who likely assassinated the head of the Wagner Group via sabotage, a bomb, or something else. He sees in Ukraine a way to rebuild old Soviet power structures.

Vivek Gets Everything Wrong.

And none of this gets into the rest of his flip-flopping insanity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he tried selling governments on using his business to build "a single national and global database for all COVID-related patient health records." And he wanted to do this "without the consent of the actual patients."

During the debate, he claimed that climate change was a hoax. But just a few months ago, he earnestly told television viewers that climate change was real and we needed to respond.

Vivek Ramaswamy is free to choose whatever views he wants to hold. I do not begrudge him if he believes in Bernie Sanders-style foreign policy, combined with centralizing all patient records without their consent, while changing his position on climate change depending on the outlet he's speaking to. He can do all that while stealing all the Obama one-liners possible.

But it does leave me asking: What does he actually believe? If you've run hedge funds, taken fellowship funds from the Soros family, and never had any of the civic jobs you demand others take, it's worth asking how much of this is fake posturing from a man pretending to be a "revolutionary" while posing in the mirror.

Vivek Ramaswamy doesn't understand the topics, the audience, or anything he's discussing. That's not youth or inexperience. It's who he is. Instead of running for President, Vivek Ramaswamy should try being a policeman, firefighter, or other civic job he demands of the rest of us. It might help him learn more about this country, and he'd develop a real message instead of stealing Democratic Party applause lines for a Republican Primary.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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