It was disappointing that Dr Ben Carson, 64, had to drop out of the Republican (GOP) presidential race at the weekend.
(Photo credit: Blue Nation Review)
In October, despite his being a Seventh Day Adventist (sect), I was hopeful for his campaign. Polls showed that only he had a chance of beating Hillary Clinton: early in December, he was ahead by one point and early in February 2016, she was ahead by just 1.3 points.
However, the endless focus on race in the West, particularly in the United States, makes it difficult for a black to declare himself (or herself) as a conservative. An offended Left — including the MSM — would have to take Carson down.
Before that happened, however, Carson revealed vulnerability in the GOP (Grand Old Party) debates, particularly on foreign policy.
Another thing people remember from his participation in the debates was his statement that the pyramids were grain silos. Before I go into that, however, leftists commenting online seized on it and called him all sorts of names, including ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’ and ‘fool’. They were frothing at the mouth. These comments continued until Carson dropped out of the race.
Early in November, Politico tried to make Carson out to be a liar. Mollie Hemingway, writing for The Federalist, explains the story and subsequent retraction. In short, Politico‘s Kyle Cheney accused Carson of fabricating receiving a West Point scholarship. Cheney had to retract this shortly afterwards.
Ben Carson’s campaign did not “admit” that a central point in his story “was fabricated.” Quite the opposite. The central point of the story is falsely described by Cheney/Politico as being that he applied and was accepted at West Point. Carson, in fact, has repeatedly claimed not to have applied. So any claim regarding the absence of West Point records of such an application would not debunk Carson’s point. And, again, Carson’s campaign never “conceded” the story was false at least in part because the story, as characterized by Politico, is not one he told. Further, Cheney is unable to substantiate his claim that Carson told this story. Nowhere in the article does he even explain, with facts, where he came up with the idea that Carson has ever made this claim.
What happened was that, in 1969, as a 17-year-old, Carson had the exceptional opportunity to meet General William Westmoreland, recently retired from service in Vietnam, for dinner. Westmoreland offered him a full scholarship to West Point, but Carson politely declined. Politico said there was no record of Carson’s application to West Point. Again, he never applied.
Politico changed the headline of their story to:
Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied
Hardly an improvement.
Carson had been in the cadets in high school in Detroit. Furthermore, as one would expect of a future brain surgeon, his academic performance was excellent. It’s no wonder the general asked him to apply to West Point, offering a full scholarship.
By December 19, GOP polls had changed. Fox News reported:
Donald Trump, a candidate even Republicans once considered a side show, increases his lead yet again in the nomination race, according to the latest Fox News national poll.
The poll also finds Ted Cruz ticking up, Marco Rubio slipping, and Ben Carson dropping.
At that point, he was in fourth place on
9 percent. He was at 18 percent last month and had a high of 23 percent support earlier this fall.
Yet, he still had more approval points than Jeb Bush, who had 3%!
On December 26, Real Clear Politics had a go at Carson about his paid speaking engagements and book tour during his candidacy. This ‘concern’ piece wondered if there was enough separation between his revenue generating interests and his campaign. Carson’s campaign spokesman Doug Watts said:
We segregate as much as feasible.
The Atlantic had similar ‘concerns’.
Most of this would have gone under the radar of Republican voters. However, as with the grain silos, Carson’s book tour became a running theme of online leftists. That also continued until he dropped out at the weekend.
Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz’s cheating at the Iowa caucus — saying Carson had dropped out of the race — cost the good doctor dearly. Donald Trump still talks about it, and rightly so, because Cruz’s team’s intimidation of Carson voters created a win for the Christian constitutional expert from Texas, pushing Trump into second place — and leaving Carson in fourth with 9% of the vote.
Cruz and his team seized their opportunity when Carson said that he was going home to Florida the weekend before the Iowa caucus for a change of clothes. Cruz’s people said they got the information from CNN.
I feel badly for Carson. He assumed Cruz was a nice guy and that the media would play fair ball. At a press conference held after the Iowa caucus, Carson rightly took issue with both.
However, I wonder why Carson didn’t just say that he was going home to regroup before going to Washington DC for the annual National Prayer Breakfast, after which he would go on to campaign in New Hampshire. Donald Trump is always clear about where he is going next, probably to avoid similar speculation.
So, as much as the Left wanted Carson to fail because, in their eyes, blacks have no business being conservatives, the true kisses of death came from two of his fellow candidates — avowed Christians, let’s remember — and their people. In addition to Cruz’s was Marco Rubio’s team. The Politistick has the full story about a tweet from a Rubio supporter, since deleted, which said that Rubio’s campaign was spreading the narrative that Carson was dropping out of the race.
Whilst there were also internal issues in Carson’s campaign, such as spending, the Iowa rumours dogged him in New Hampshire. His party after the primary there was a damp squib, sadly.
In mid-February, he said he would be open to discussing running with Trump as the Vice Presidential nominee and would stay on through the South Carolina primary to help the billionaire. Having a lot of primary candidates is good; they help split the vote, thereby preventing an immediate overall dominant front-runner.
Super Tuesday — March 1 — was the decider. The next day, Fox News reported that it was ‘game over’ for Cruz, Rubio, Kasich — and Carson. (Since then Cruz is proving to be Trump’s main rival.)
He suspended his campaign on March 4, which also made the news in France.
How Carson’s campaign came about
The Washington Post (WaPo) report was the only one I saw that actually explained how Carson came to run for president in the first place.
In 2013, he addressed the National Prayer Breakfast where:
he spoke about the dangers of political correctness, put forward the idea of a flat tax and criticized President Obama’s health-care law. What stood out was that he did so right beside a steely-faced Obama.
The Wall St Journal thought so, too, and they carried an editorial to that effect days later, entitled:
“Ben Carson for President.” By August of that year, there was a “National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.” Before he launched his presidential bid last May, the group had raised close to $16 million, gotten a half-million signatures encouraging Carson to run and had 30,000 active volunteers across the country, according to organizers.
WaPo‘s article goes on to say that, at age 33, Carson was the youngest major division director in the history of Johns Hopkins Hospital and:
he was the first pediatric neurosurgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. He wrote a best-selling book, “Gifted Hands,” about his life, which later became a television movie.
He got a lot of flak for his blunt opposition to Obamacare, his comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany and his denunciation of same-sex marriage.
It was hard for him to not speak about morality in uncertain terms and, paradoxically, be more assertive against other GOP candidates, such as Trump. If he knew something to be immoral, he would say so. Yet, he did not want to be seen to go on the attack against a candidate just for a show of strength.
Of politics, WaPo quotes him as saying:
“Many people told me that this business is corrupt, that it’s evil, that it’s how it’ll always be,” Carson said in a phone interview Monday. “But I don’t believe that we have to accept that. We should rail against that, fight against it, and get something that’s decent and inspirational.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is one of the reasons I read a lot about politics. I continue to look for the ‘decent and inspirational’. Hmm. Like digging for gold.
One thing Dr Ben Carson can be proud of in his campaign: he outlasted Jeb!
Tomorrow: Ben Carson and the grain silo theory