Last week, I noted with amazement Ben Carson's continuing baffling ignorance on basic issues. I was not talking about the gotcha stuff from the media about guns or Muslims or whatever the latest thing they're trying to pin on him is, but on basic stuff like the difference between the budget and the debt, what his own tax plan might look like, whether the minimum wage should be raised, and so on. Actual, substantive things that any person who is running for President should be prepared with a basic answer for.
At the time, I wondered why such an obviously smart man had not spent any of the time available to him since 2013 engaged in basic study of the issues, and suggested that it indicated a lack of diligence on his part:
Carson has basically been running for President since the prayer that catapulted him to fame in 2013. I am distressed that he has spent apparently no time in study educating himself on the basic issues he would face during the course of the run for his Presidency. It’s not that I don’t think Carson isn’t smart enough to understand these things; quite the opposite. I am 100% confident Carson could understand them very easily, which is precisely the reason I’m so bothered that he doesn’t. It goes to the seriousness with which he takes the job of running for President, and his personal work ethic at that job (his work ethic as a surgeon was, by all accounts, exemplary).
Now it becomes much clearer - the reason Carson hasn't even cared to study the issues is because he's not even seriously running for President. He's merely using his Presidential campaign as a vehicle to sell more books:
Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.
The campaign has been careful to separate campaign events and the book tour, and doesn’t want to classify the tour as related to the campaign in any way.
This week he is catching up on fundraising events and will be back on his book tour next week making stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. So for the next two weeks, Carson won't be appearing at any public "campaign events."
You tell me that there is any other way to interpret this information. Here is Ben Carson, who is in a position that he is the proverbial dog who has almost caught the car. He's actually leading Trump in one national poll and in all the others he has pulled into a statistical tie for the national lead. This is the best chance he will have to grab the momentum of this race and cement himself as a serious front runner.
If Ben Carson wanted the job of being President, there is no way that a book tour would prevent him from doing everything in his power to expand his campaign right now and to take over the lead for good from Donald Trump. He would be using these two weeks to do as many in person appearances as possible - appearances which have, by and large, been responsible for his surge in the polls to date.
I have suspected from the beginning that Ben Carson was using this Presidential campaign to raise his personal profile so that he could provide himself with a more comfortable retirement on the book writing and FoxNews pundit circuit - and that's perfectly fine and I don't begrudge him that. Good for him for realizing that Mike Huckabee was a pretty shrewd businessman in 2008.
The problem is that he's now the proverbial dog who's caught the car, and he seems to not only be clueless about what to do with it, but to not even have interest in doing anything with it at all. Once it became clear that he had a reasonable shot at winning, anyone who actually wanted the job would have shifted both his personal preparation and his campaign status into higher gear, but Carson has kept his eye on the ball pretty consistently.
Unfortunately, "the ball" in this case is not becoming President, it's boosting the pocketbook of Ben Carson.