While Rafael “Ted” Cruz stomps from podium to press conference to TV shows, calling for an end to the Affordable Care Act and rousing the House GOP into its stubborn shutdown, his spouse Heidi manages portfolios, smooches with the wealthiest and maintains a low profile. They make a curious team.
Heidi Nelson Cruz is a Phi Beta Kappa who met Rafael while working as an economic advisor for the Bush 2000 campaign. While Rafael’s career was grinding away in the judicial arena, serving as law clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Heidi was already on the political fast track. She acted as a former director of the U.S. Treasury and special policy assistant to the Chief U.S. international trade negotiator before meeting Rafael.
During the Bush administration, she continued her political involvement, serving as an economic advisor for the Western Hemisphere under Condolezza Rice’s NSA.
Heidi started her career as an investment banker with JP Morgan in New York after receiving her B.A. in economics and international relations from Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in 1994. Fifteen years later, she returned to CMC to serve on its Board of Advisors for the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance. Joining her on the board is her former boss and CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank, Andrew Keiser. Top investment reps from Wells Fargo, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young also serve on the board, making this enclave a veritable Who’s Who of Wall Street investment banking.
After CDC, Heidi added to her educational credentials by earning an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a master’s of European Business from Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium. Currently, she a Vice President for Goldman Sachs in the Private Wealth Management Group, Dallas. In this capacity, she develops investment plans for high net worth people and organizations. In other words, she helps the rich get richer. In this, she and hubby Rafael are in alignment.
While Heidi serves the richest, Rafael works on hurting the poorest. His ongoing assault on the ACA, though fruitless, would deny healthcare to Americans unable to buy insurance. At the same time, a repeal of the ACA would ensure pharmaceuticals, medical supply manufacturers, healthcare conglomerates, insurance companies, and all affiliated profit-makers could continue to sock it to middle class Americans.
Rafael does have his merits. Among his proud list of credentials are a slew of debating awards at Princeton. These are impressive credentials. But they did not earn him many friends. The Carnegie touch was missing then as now.
Rafael’s undergrad associates at Princeton describe him in unflattering terms, which include “arrogant,” “strident” and “creepy.” One gave this description of Rafael in a recent article:
‘It was my distinct impression that Ted had nothing to learn from anyone else,’ said Erik Leitch, who lived in Butler College with Cruz. Leitch said he remembers Cruz as someone who wanted to argue over anything or nothing, just for the exercise of arguing. ‘The only point of Ted talking to you was to convince you of the rightness of his views.’
The curious might wonder why someone with the investment acumen of Heidi Nelson would find Rafael a desirable mate. Even curioser, would a know-it-all like Rafael subdue his debating penchant to engage in real life conversation? These are spousal matters and will remain conjectural.
What is clear can be seen on CSPAN. Now, the junior Senator Cruz antagonizes his seniors at every opportunity. He has clashed with the likes of Senator John McCain, Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Dick Durbin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in unyielding attempts to prove his point. In doing so, Rafael shows the kind of narrow-minded intensity typical of megalomania. For Rafael, every encounter becomes a talking point, every group represents an opposing team. Not even his fellow Republicans are spared. The world is his debate forum. He is a team of one against all.
The irony here is that Rafael receives his applause from groups with like-minded ideology but without like minds intellectually. Many of his Tea Party devotees are incapable of holding a civil conversation much less engaging in a fulsome debate. They cheer at sensational headlines and argue with all the merits of a juvenile who’s just discovered the juiciness of curse words.
Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress, those with functioning intelligence, now recognize that Rafael’s stubborn bludgeoning of the ACA and his demand for its repeal have led them into a political cul-de-sac.
One has to wonder what Heidi thinks of the lose/lose situation that husband Rafael has created..