Up until this week, pretty much everyone would have said that they liked Ben Carson, and that he was clearly a nice, decent man - regardless of whether they thought voting for him for President was a good idea or not. His response to the "going to Florida" controversy has revealed a completely different side of Ben Carson that we never really knew existed before.
I just had a chance to sit down and watch the entire Ben Carson presser from yesterday about the nontroversy and it is one of the most galling things I have ever seen. Carson spent the first several minutes of the press conference quoting from the Sermon on the Mount, and saying repeatedly "by your fruits you shall know them," indicating his clear belief that Ted Cruz is some sort of fake Christian because someone on his staff tweeted that Carson was suspending his campaign and going back to Florida.
Now the facts at this point are pretty much undisputed. The tweet in question came so late that it's unreasonable to claim that it had any measurable impact on Carson's performance. In fact, Carson outperformed his polling. I would imagine that well over 99.9% of the people who actually went to caucus in Iowa had any idea that the tweet had even been sent. Iowa caucus goers are not sitting there obsessively checking the twitter feeds of every single person who works for all of the campaigns. The claim (set forth by Donald Trump, who is using Ben Carson shamelessly in this circumstance) that it caused any significant number of people to vote for Cruz instead of Carson is patently ludicrous.
But moreover, look at the number of astonishing admissions Carson makes within the following 90 second clip:
He admits, just within this window, the following facts:
- He has no knowledge or reason to believe that Ted Cruz personally knew that the tweet was being sent, or would have approved of it being sent.
- Ted Cruz called him personally and apologized for the tweet and furthermore publicly apologized to the press for it having been sent.
- The genesis of this story was that Ben Carson's own staffer spoke out of turn to the press about Carson's plans.
- He, Ben Carson, takes no responsibility for the actions of that staffer.
- When pressed on the obvious hypocrisy of his position - to wit, that Cruz is a bad Christian because one of his staffers spoke out of school, but that Ben Carson has no responsibility for one of his own staffers doing the same thing - Carson responded with worse pettiness and sulking petulance than we have come to expect from Donald Trump.
This is an ugly situation and Carson's response to it is even uglier. Carson is smart enough to know better than the crap he is spewing right now. Remember that he profusely apologized for questioning Donald Trump's Christianity (even though Donald Trump is obviously not a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word) but he feels fine doing it to Ted Cruz based on something that Ted Cruz was obviously not personally responsible for.
Petty, dishonest, and hypocritical. These are not things that will help Carson's image as a "nice guy" within the GOP.