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Vivek Ramaswamy was a TED Talk in human form at the GOP debate

Aug 30, 2023Aug 30, 2023

If the first GOP presidential primary debate showed us anything, it’s that 2024 is going to be a long, long campaign.

Especially if Vivek Ramaswamy sticks around.

The 38-year-old tech entrepreneur spent the evening interrupting, ridiculing and shouting over the more seasoned candidates, at least when he wasn’t demanding more time from the moderators.

He wrapped his performance in an over-caffeinated swagger and supercilious tone that clearly got on his competitors’ nerves.

If Wednesday night’s debate were a TV show, it would be called “Everybody Hates Vivek.”

This is the first time most voters have been exposed to Ramaswamy and likely found him as grating as his fellow candidates did. It was hard to tell if he wanted my vote or was trying to sell me a ’96 Buick.

Opening with a flurry of canned lines, he complained “everyone else has these canned lines.” Former Vice President Mike Pence quipped, “Is that one of yours?”

Later, Ramaswamy insisted he was “the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for.”

“No, hold on, hold on. Enough,” Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie responded. “I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT.”

It only took 15 minutes before everyone was dumping on the tech bro.

Introducing himself, Ramaswamy asked, “What’s a skinny guy with an odd last name doing up here?” Christie noted that line was plagiarized from Barack Obama in 2008.

“I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur tendencies tonight,” Christie added.

It’s no wonder Ramaswamy focused on his competition instead of himself. He has no business running for the White House.

He has admitted that the first presidential election he ever voted in was 2020.

Of course, he chose Donald Trump, a man he’s spent most of his campaign defending, though not outright endorsing. At least not yet.

In his campaign, Ramaswamy called race-based admissions “a cancer on our national soul,” yet accepted a Soros Fellowship for children of immigrants to help pay for Yale Law School.

He’s so embarrassed by this fact, he reportedly paid to have the fellowship scrubbed from his Wikipedia page.

After graduation, the candidate made his biotech fortune, investing in a business founded by his friend Martin Shkreli. Before long, Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud.

Ramaswamy’s weakest answer on Wednesday evening was during the foreign policy segment, where he insisted the United States abandon Ukraine.

Another view:Chris Christie was the debate's real winner

The normally mild-mannered Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, took him to the woodshed.

The crowd cheered the tongue-lashing, which she finished with, “You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows.”

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Vivek’s fizzle was Ron DeSantis, who’s running neck-and-neck with the neophyte. The governor let the others pile on, while he stuck to his record in Florida and what he would do in the Oval Office.

Ramaswamy is this primary’s Pete Buttigieg, if the former South Bend, Ind., mayor downed a case of Red Bulls before stepping on the debate stage.

Both are TED Talks in human form; smarmy apple polishers who only got good grades by studying to the test.

It’s likely Ramaswamy will end his campaign the same way, stepping aside for the eventual winner. No one knows this better than Vivek himself, who’s spent the primary praising Trump more than Trump does.

If somehow, against the odds and the law courts, the former president is sent back to the White House, the young upstart will be richly rewarded.

Hopefully, he’ll enjoy the next four years as secretary of transportation.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. On Twitter: @exjon.

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