Carson crashing? Seems likely, and it’s not surprising.
The newest Ben Carson story is about West Point. Did he apply and get offered a full scholarship, or did someone tell him he could go there for free, and did he really meet Army General William Westmoreland or not? The particulars are in Politico’s bombshell story, Exclusive: Carson Claimed West Point ‘Scholarship’ But Never Applied.
The West Point story is of a piece with Dr. Carson’s report about being held up at gunpoint at a “Popeyes organization,” a story covered by MRW in Dr. Ben Carson on October 10. Then, of course, there’s Ben Carson Defends Himself against Allegations That He Never Attempted to Murder a Child. Eric Levitz wrote the story for New York magazine, reporting on the fact that no one from Dr. Carson’s past can verify his claims that he tried to stab someone when he was 14. You know a story is wacky when you see a piece by Andy Borowitz titled Carson Plummets in Polls Amid Reports He Did Not Stab Anyone, and have to check the byline again, for the report may be accurate.
Dr. Carson leads the race for the Republican nomination, although the West Point story will likely change that within days. Or not! That his candidacy has succeeded support my notion that, for too many, it’s all about the biography.
Dr. Carson has real accomplishments as a physician. They’re documented and substantial. He has also come up from the bottom, and that sells in a country where we want to believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we offer the best opportunities in the world for upward mobility.* (We lag, big time!)
Here’s the problem with Dr. Carson and others like him: They are not qualified to run this country. Nothing associated with Dr. Carson’s bio supports any notion that he has a clue about public policy. He’s the guy at the bar with a beer, who just happens to be a big-deal doctor who wasn’t born on third base.
Frankly, Dr. Carson makes Ronald Reagan look wonderful. Yes, he was an actor and pitchman, but he made himself into a bit of a wonk. He also ran a state for eight years before he made a serious run for the White House. (He also get lots of facts wrong, and his policies and beliefs account for much of the trouble we face, even now.)
Dr. Carson’s problems say much about those who support him. If his load of crap sells, why wouldn’t he make the stories just a wee bit better? Up from the bottom, top-flight neurosurgeon is not enough? I overcame such a temper that I tried to kill someone. You think my comments about what I think dead people should have done just before they were shot were over the top? Let me tell you what I said to the guy with a gun when I was in line at the restaurant.
And what’s the response when the stories get examined. Well, come on, we all know the MSM is out to get us. Who ya gonna believe? A fine man who saves lives, or some scummy reporters.
I gave Ronald Reagan a mixed report moments ago. Yes, he did put real effort into developing a cohesive set of governing principles. I didn’t like them, and they have not worn well over time. That said, I think we can draw a straight line from “… government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” to Dr. Carson. Dr. Carson is selling I don’t know what—I really find him incomprehensible, and for me he brings to mind Chance (Peter Sellers) in Being There—but I think his appeal is bound up in the Reagan statement that government is the problem. And if lots of voters really believe government is the problem, we have really big problems!
*Hard to understand, in the lauding of Carson, why his fans find so reprehensible another African-American politician, up from the bottom, who succeeded with the help of affirmative action and American higher education.