Everyone on the debate stage seemed to want a piece of upstart entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. The tech entrepreneur kept emphasizing that he was not a politician; however, if he were president he would run into the same problems that former President Donald Trump ran into.
Ramaswamy gave a clear and articulate presentation; however, it was short on substance.
“I will tell you that I’m not a politician,” Ramaswamy said. “I’m an entrepreneur. My parents came to this country with no money 40 years ago. I have gone on to found multibillion-dollar companies. I did it while marrying my wife, Apoorva, raising our two sons, following our faith in God. That is the American dream.
Ramaswamy continued, “We have professional politicians in the Republican Party who have been running from something. Now it is our moment to run to something … If you have a broken car you don’t hand it over the keys to the people who broke it.”
Vivek Ramaswamy Rhetoric Meets Reality
Vivek Ramaswamy is hardly the person to fix the system. He has no idea how the system works in the first place and would consequently find himself befuddled about how to repair it if he got the top job.
Trump failed to understand the Washington system. As a result, he could not control the federal bureaucracy, nor could he manage Capitol Hill. Consequently, he found himself in the same situation that former President Jimmy Carter did. Carter lacked the Washington connections and personal relationships, which led to intraparty squabbles, not unlike those Trump faced, that made him a one-term president.
American politics is about belonging to a club. Such outsider rhetoric might appeal to Republican voters; however, as Trump and Carter found out the hard way. Ramaswamy’s rhetoric belies ignorance about the system.
Ramaswamy would better himself were he to run for Congress or a governorship to learn how government works. The government is not the private sector. You can’t fire people who don’t do what you want. You must figure out how to horse trade to get the job done.
Although Ramaswamy and Trump have similar ideologies, Ramaswamy would face the same problem of an out-of-control bureaucracy that has no loyalty to him.
By contrast, Ronald Reagan understood that personnel is policy. He put people into positions of power who shared his vision and executed that vision. He also had the benefit of having been governor of California and having had experience in government.
Ramaswamy Pushes Populist Cliches on National Security
“This is not very complicated guy; unlock American energy,” Ramaswamy said. “Drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear. Put people back to work by no longer paying them to stay at home. Reform the U.S. Fed. Stabilize the U.S. dollar.”
Ramaswamy continued, “The only war that I will declare is the war on the federal administrative state that is the source of those toxic regulations acting as a wet blanket on the economy.”
Pence shot back at Ramaswamy saying that America did not need a “rookie” who needed “on-the-job training” to get something accomplished.
Ramaswamy put a verbal flamethrower against his competitors, calling them “Super PAC puppets.”
“The real choice we face in this primary is this, ‘Do you want a Super PAC puppet’ or do you want a patriot who speaks the truth? Do you want incremental reform, which you are hearing about, or do you want revolution”? Ramaswamy asked. “We need an American revolution.”
His rhetoric might sound good to frustrated voters; however, the reality is more stark. The system protects its own, and unless someone like Ramaswamy understands how to co-opt the system like Reagan did, their ideas are dead on arrival. Ramaswamy was good at rhetoric but short on substance.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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