Ben Carson Is In, But for How Long?


(Spectrumbot) #1

Dr. Ben Carson announced his candidacy for president of the United States Monday, making him the first Seventh-day Adventist to ever run for America's highest office. Dr. Carson had planned to announce at an event in his home town, Detroit Michigan, but changed his plans Monday to be with his mother Sonya Carson, who is critically ill in Dallas, Texas. Instead, Carson announced that he was running in an exclusive interview with CBS affiliate WKRC's National Correspondent Jeff Barnd.

Running as a Republican contender, Carson was the first GOP candidate to announce an exploratory committee, and among the last candidates to officially announce his candidacy. The long gap between the two events allowed Carson to raise campaign money without the restrictions placed on formal candidates.

Carson has attracted a large following with the most conservative members of the Republican Party, making him a challenger to candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, who also hope to woo right-wing voters. He has made his Christian faith central to his running for president, often citing God's plan for his life as a reason for running.

But despite his following among conservatives, how viable a candidate is he? The positions he has carved out on issues from Health Care reform to same-sex marriage have put Carson in political territory far enough outside the American mainstream that his run is unlikely to garner serious support from any but the most conservative Americans. If his platform were not so marginal, he would still face fierce competition in a stacked Republican primary field against well-established political figures like Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and a slew of other hopefuls, some widely-known, others not.

Beyond the crowded 2016 race, Carson faces challenges of his own making. BuzzFeed reported in early January that Carson plagiarized large portions of his 2012 book, "America The Beautiful," an allegation Carson's camp denied. Carson's publisher looked into the claims. A week later, National Review wrote about Caron's troubling connections with multi-level peer-marketing supplment manufacturer Mannatech, whose claims of curing many diseases and ailments landed the company in a false-advertising lawsuit. Carson served as a pitch man for the company. Last week, a Baptist minister's group rescinded its invitation to Dr. Carson as a speaker over his Adventist views--specifically Adventist denial of a literal, eternal hell, acceptance of all people as God's children, and Saturday Sabbath observance.

Carson shot to fame in 2013 when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D. C. and criticized President Obama's policies and "political correctness" to the president's face. Carson also spoke at a Prayer Breakfast during the Clinton Administration in 1997.

In March, Buzzfeed opined that Carson's political ambitions might sully his reputation as a heroic figure. Carson rose from a life of poverty in Detroit to become a nationally-celebrated peadiatric neurosurgeon. In 2008, Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

Though it seems unlikely at this point, if Carson can turn his popularity among conservatives into a viable candidacy and win the Republican nomination, he would then face a general election battle against a Democratic rival. At this point, Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner, but much could change between now and 2016.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6789

(George Tichy) #2

I can’t wait for a Clinton x Carson debate!..
(I know it will never happen…)


(Thomas J Zwemer) #3

He is a skilled surgeon. he has strong beliefs. Neither are in the main stream of the political world. The only Republican capable of governing is the Governor of New Jersey. he has about the same chance as Ben. The political world is so nasty that good capable people stay away… So we get the likes of Dick Cheney and his voice piece. Tom Z


(Ralph) #4

I think the value of this type of candidatures is to bring something new to the political discussion. If only he knew that his chances are so minimal, Carson might take advantage of this run to highlight issues that his Adventist community (and religious people in general) appreciates, such as religious liberty. But I guess he is running because of personal aspirations, not just to promote and agenda, which is ok.


(Elaine Nelson) #5

The few presidents who were urged to run have usually been better as the people first chose them; Washington and Eisenhower are two. Most who state they are running must have an enormous ego which is not the best qualifications, but most are elected on popularity and once in office we discover we really didn’t know the candidate at all, only the P.R. info.


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #6

Ben Carson is a nice sweet affable man.
His interviews on various Fox News programs were pleasing to the anchors,
and also the conservative audience.

His rise from a boyhood of poverty to a position as professor
at one of the top medical schools in the country is admirable.
His comments on same sex marriage and homosexuality were
appropriate for his conservative political position, but regrettably
we’re incredibly naive and uninformed for a physician. .
Although I realize pediatric neurosurgery is far removed from psychiatry.
It is OK to be against same sex marriage, but at least be informed concerning
basic modern views of sexual orientation.

If he is equally naive on other matters, he will be annihilated in debates.
I like the man and feel sorry that his campaign will be harsh and damaging for him.


(Elaine Nelson) #7

There are more good men than have been chosen for president. “Good” men is rarely a trait for president today.


(Sirje) #8

Probably not, somebody’s going decode Hillary’s hard drive that she’s been hiding in her mansion, and that will be that for her. :sweat_smile:


(Sirje) #9

Listen to his speech on C-SPAN. He’s not that brittle.


(David Read) #10

It looks like about 30 are competing for the Republican nomination. I don’t know where they’re going to find a stage large enough to hold the first Republican presidential primary debate.


(George Tichy) #11

Don’t worry about the hard drive. I am sure it has been properly shredded!.. :wink:


(le vieux) #12

I have a lot of respect for him, and like his ideas, but he is even less experienced than Obama was when he ran the first time (and we see how well he’s done). I wonder if he’ll even make it to the first primary. In think he has integrity, which is more than most politicians seem to have, but will take more than that to win an election. And I doubt that he has the stomach for the knock-down-drag-out scene that our elections have become. On the other hand, if he’s the only candidate that refused to engage in negative attack adds, that would appeal to most people I know. What a novel idea: disagree with your opponents on ideas, rather than smear them personally. Nah, it will never work.


(le vieux) #13

Surely you jest. How could you even think such a thing about the distinguished former senator from New York? She would never have been elected in my State. She would have been perceived as an outsider, and as such, unfamiliar with the real issues facing our State.

Unfortunately, I think she will win.


(SurprisedByGrace) #14

He hasn’t even begun to feel the fire he has just decided to enter into. His mettle hasn’t been tested, but it is going to be.


(SurprisedByGrace) #15

Actually, in an article last year in Spectrum by Douglas Morgan, Dr. Carson’s views on religious liberty are not tracking with Adventist ones. But for many in our faith tradition it seems not to matter or many don’t know what our religious liberty views are or have been.

His hat in the ring will work at refining the GOP message toward a center right agenda to appeal to as many of the electorate as they can allure to vote in November 2016. I don’t think he has a chance of winning the prize. And our church is in for some media scrutiny like those Mitt Romney moments about his faith, and the LDS Church’s advertising blitzkrieg to get the population informed on who they are (the focus being a family oriented denomination).


(SurprisedByGrace) #16

The wait is now over, Dr. Carson is running. Glad that mystery is solved. Let the race begin!


(Carolyn Parsons) #17

Dr. Carson has already shown that he can get negative and smear others personally. I can’t see him pulling punches with advertisement when he has likened president Obama to a “psychopath” and attacking the Affordable Care Act as the “worse thing that has happened to America since slavery”. Later he said that the ACA “has been even more damaging to the United States than the terrorist attacks of 9/1”.

If he had merely addressed the issues of the ACA and suggest personal savings accounts for medical care, that would be one thing; calling it the worse thing since slavery and many other outrageous comparisons is quite another.


(Rohan Charlton) #18

What were once ‘Gifted Hands’ will be come ‘Taking Hands’.

Taking away health care from those that cannot afford it.

Not that he has a snowflake’s chance in hell.


#19

Fact check - Carson did announce in Michigan. He missed his next appointment to visit his mother.


(Phillip Brantley) #20

“But despite his following among conservatives, how viable a candidate is he?” It is hard for me to believe that this is a serious question. Dr. Carson’s chance of getting the Republican Party nomination is zero. If there were a tornado and the other 29 Republican candidates were blown away, his chance of getting the Republican Party nomination would still be zero.