There is nary a word to be said against Dr. Ben Carson. He is a soft-spoken gentleman of civilized refinement—broadly educated, highly skilled, widely accomplished, and universally respected. And he rose from a background of social adversity and economic deprivation that makes President Obama look like the lost Bush brother.
Thus Ben Carson makes us feel small. By “us” I mean the part of America filled with funk and failure. This is the America where political pundits reside.
We pundits have done our best to cut Ben Carson down to size. But we might as well be George Washington with the cherry tree if George had the body mass index of Kelly Ripa, George’s little hatchet were a butter knife, and the tree a mighty oak.
But George Washington couldn’t tell a lie, and we pundits can. Here, quoted from a recent AP political analysis piece, are two typical failed attempts to throw Ben Carson into the snark tank.
“...a gaffe-prone novice lacking a national profile and any significant political network.”
In other words Ben Carson is a person who says what he thinks, hasn’t spent decades screwing the pooch in Washington or flying his ass from the media flagpole, and he isn’t friends with the pack rats running through the sewers of democracy.
“...rough around the edges and has little experience with issues beyond healthcare and business, particularly foreign policy...”
That is to say, when Carson gets a baby thrust at him on the campaign tail he’s more likely to check its vital signs than kiss it. He knows enough to talk about things when he knows what he’s talking about. And he doesn’t have a clue what the overseas bouquet of assholes is going to do next because nobody does.
Indeed, to hear any worthwhile skepticism about Ben Carson’s presidential campaign, we have to go to the good doctor himself. He’s said, “The likelihood of someone like me getting through this process and making it to president is virtually impossible.”
Republican primary voters—a group with well-attested metal health issues—are responding to treatment by Dr. Ben. In recent polls, support for Carson has risen from 6 percent to 23 percent putting him (given political polling’s 100 percent +/- margin of error) in a dead heat with Donald Trump for GOP front-runner. True, that was before his ho-hum Sept. 16 debate performance, but Republicans go to the doctor for what ails them, not to get a good talking-to.
In Freudian terms, there is an upside to Republican schizophrenia. The Republican Id favors id-iotic Donald Trump. But the Republican Super Ego goes for superior Ben Carson.
(Dr. Carson, being a neurosurgeon, probably favors a physiological and bio-chemical model of brain dysfunction over a Freudian model. He’d probably have long ago left Donald Trump idling in the Rick Santorum polling bracket if Republicans would just stay on their meds.)
Ben Carson in brief:
Raised in inner-city Detroit by an illiterate single mother who worked as a domestic, sometimes with three jobs at once, so that Ben and his brother Curtis could (no, would—she didn’t give them a choice) go to college.
Curtis is now a senior executive with Honeywell. Ben Carson has said, only somewhat-jokingly, that his mother ought to be the woman with her face on the new $10 bill.
Ben went to Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins where he became the hospital’s youngest ever director of pediatric neurosurgery at age 33 in 1984. To put that in context, 1984 was the year when Donald Trump was laying the foundation for his first bankruptcy at Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza casino, Jeb Bush was chairing meetings of the Dade County Republican Party in a phone booth, Carly Fiorina was in the break room making coffee for AT&T executives, and Marco Rubio was in 8th grade.
Dr. Carson was the first surgeon to successfully separate Siamese twins conjoined at the head. He has 38 honorary doctorate degrees in addition to his real one. And he has received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
This is why I am asking you, Dr. Ben Carson, to please quit running for president.
Get back to work, damn it! We need you. George W. and Jeb’s heads might get conjoined. True, they’re not twins. But the Bush family is inbred, and freakish things can result from inbreeding.
Yes, you’ve retired from surgery. You feel, I gather, that the hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning to which you credit your excellence as a surgeon will decline in your sixties. Hand-eye coordination is unnecessary for a chief executive. That’s what vice president Fiorina operating the Keurig machine in the Oval Office pantry is for. And what use is three-dimensional reasoning in a job dealing with one-dimensional people?
But, Dr. Ben, you could be teaching others what you know. You’re not only a doctor, you’re a professor. You’ve taught pediatrics, oncology, neurosurgery, and plastic surgery. Right now you could be teaching some young plastic surgeon how to remove Donald Trump’s ruptured gel-filled silicone brain implant that is endangering Republicans everywhere.
Dr. Carson, you are valuable. Presidential candidates are not.
Your mother wanted you to be a doctor. Politics is the career that we Americans choose for our loser children.
Many of us have sons and daughters who will not get into medical school or start a business, join the military, learn a trade, raise a family, perform needful volunteer work, or do anything else that has even the slightest value to society. These children we send into politics.
Secondly, Dr. Carson, there is the matter of whether you’re good at politics. You are a good man. This would argue to the contrary.
You’re a good man with good values who’s good at doing good things and you have, in my opinion, good ideas. It is impossible for me to envision a place for you in Washington.
At the moment it may seem as if you’re good at politics. You’re getting quite a lot of support for being “a Washington outsider.”
But politics is not the art of being—let alone doing—good.
And every art, no matter how dark, requires skill and practice.
How good would you feel about a surgical procedure performed by “an operating room outsider”—someone who didn’t know a hemostat from a thermostat, curette from lamb cutlet, forceps from “Fore!” or a retractor from a John Deere?
If you win the Republican nomination, you’ll be running against Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or maybe Martin O’Malley or Jim Webb (not Bernie Sanders—he’s still wanted on a House Un-American Activities subpoena from 1961).
These quacks have been in the Washington political operating theater for a long time. They’re splattered with gore from the butchery they’ve committed on their hapless patient, the body politic.
Amputated limbs of liberty litter the floor. Ventricles, atria, and the aorta have been ripped out and tossed beneath the heart-lung machine of federal bureaucracy. Intestinal fortitude was disemboweled and the viscera of nationhood spills forth and hangs, dripping offal, from the arms of the nurses of liberalism while the sawbones drink the tax dollar lifeblood of America from the IV fluid drip. The mask of anesthesia has been clamped upon the electorate’s face. Vital signs have flat lined.
Dr. Carson, you’re not going in there and successfully separating any conjoined anything. In fact, one peek and you’ll be back out in the hallway of the palliative care hospice that America has become, puking your guts out.
So, Dr. Carson, it’s time to take this campaign of yours off life support. If it’s any comfort, this will make us political pundits, or at least the few of us who are still conjoined to our consciences, feel better.