In my Morning Briefing recap of the first GOP primary debate, I mentioned that I didn’t know much about Vivek Ramaswamy going into it and regretted having found out more.
Very early on in the debate, it was apparent that Vivek wanted to gloss over the fact that he’s vapid by talking faster and louder than everyone else on the stage.
Full disclosure: I was prepared to focus the bulk of my negative energy on Chris Christie, who long ago wore out his Republican welcome with me. After about fifteen minutes, I was already so irritated by Ramaswamy’s boisterous nothingburger shtick that I stopped making fat jokes about Christie.
I had a sense going into the night that Vivek was the only one in the group who was angling to be Trump’s pick as his running mate. He more than validated that assumption. It’s my firm opinion that Kari Lake still has the inside track for that gig, but Captain Adderall positioned himself well should she not want it. He didn’t criticize Trump at all. Then again, he didn’t have anything bad to say about Joe Biden either.
Vivek’s political history is suspect. He’s 38 years old and has only voted in two presidential elections. He voted libertarian in 2004, took a 16-year break, then voted for Trump in 2020. After being a political non-participant for most of his adult life, he decided he wanted to be President of the United States. I’m not saying that people need to be career politicians to run for president, but some regular exercise of the constitutional right to vote would be nice.
Because of his lengthy non-interest in politics, I’m not at all sold on his conservative credentials. A VIP column that my friend Stephen Green wrote a few hours before I began this one has reinforced my skepticism:
Energetic tech bro and GOP presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy once made the government an offer that, shockingly, it absolutely refused: a “universal covid patient records surveillance database,” according to a Jordan Schachtel report from June that I just stumbled across.
“Before rebranding as a warrior for free speech and a passionate crusader for privacy rights,” Schachtel wrote, “newly announced presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy was pitching the U.S. and world governments on his efforts to install a broad, centralized database of private medical records.”
One of Ramaswamy’s subsidiary companies is a data-mining firm called Datavant. In April of 2020, Datavant proposed “the establishment of a single national and global database for all covid-related patient health records.” Yep, all of them. Get the Wuhan Bat Flu, get your records shared with Washington, Beijing, the UN, wherever.
Recapping: Ramaswamy claims to be a conservative who has libertarian roots but was pimping a national database. That’s like mixing oil, water, and protein powder.
This comment I made during the debate seems even more valid now:
As I said to my colleagues on Slack: Vivek reminds me of those teen “conservatives” who people fall in love with at CPAC who then become liberals in a few years. #GOPDebate
— SFK (@stephenkruiser) August 24, 2023
If he isn’t Trump’s VP pick, good money has Vivek heading to an MSNBC gig.
The modern media era too often places a premium on style over substance, so I’m sure some people were swayed by Ramaswamy’s snake oil pitch. All I have to say to them is this: Don’t be the CPAC attendee who gets conned by the young kid.