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On Ben Carson, 2016, and Moving On

A cult of personality, while a great song, is a dangerous thing. They can lead normally smart people to do and say some things that don’t seem so smart.

Everyone jumped on board with Dr. Ben Carson when he had the audacity to criticize the president and his Affordable Care Act with the president right there in the room. Not bad, guy. Immediately, the conservative movement jumped on Carson as someone to watch out for. He had a great story – made his way from Detroit to Yale and, in the 80s, was a rock star with some big surgical procedures (included separating twins conjoined at the head after a 22-hour procedure) – and his political commentary spoke with an academic, authoritative voice when it came to the president’s healthcare ideas.

More recently, groups began popping up to get Carson to run for president in 2016 (Dear “Run, Ben, Run”: Stop sending me mail). Carson hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a run in 2016, and his cult grows daily. I call it a cult because criticizing him in some circles is tantamount to criticizing Obama to Democrats.

What makes Ben Carson eligible to be president? What political experience does he have? I don’t dislike the guy, mind you, but in terms of realistic chances of pulling the country (and the world) from the cesspool it’s gone into, what can he bring to the table?

Under a Republican House and Senate, a President Ben Carson can repeal Obamacare… then what? He gives Republicans a chance to escape the whole racist banner Democrats have put them under? Of course not. Carson would just join the ranks of Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas as “tokens” for the Republican Party. Our image wouldn’t change that much with our political opponents.

Then there are statements that can and will be taken as fringe and destroy his chances well before they even start. Like this quote in the Washington Post:

If Republicans don’t win back the Senate in November, he says, he can’t be sure “there will even be an election in 2016.” Later, his wife, Candy, tells a supporter that they are holding on to their son’s Australian passport just in case the election doesn’t go their way.

This cult of personality surrounding the good doctor is too in love with what he says and not with what he will actually be able to do. My biggest fear in these types of situations is what happens when that personality flops in a campaign – some of those devotees take their ball and go home, proclaiming how done they are with the party and the process. However, he is almost guaranteed to flop as he is now – a politically inexperienced man with a quote that is now easy to exploit and use against him. Further, the latter betrays the former. Someone with political experience would (should?) know better than to make a quote like this because it will hurt their chances in an upcoming election.

It’s not that I don’t think Ben Carson is qualified to be in the political world, but I definitely don’t think he’s ready for the biggest political job there is. The best presidents have political experience under their belt before they reach the top. If Carson wants to run for president one day, then it is my hope that he does. Just not in 2016. Let the man get some experience under his belt first. Then we can push him to run.

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