The 2016 campaign’s most interesting long shot
March 25, 2015 5:58 PM   Subscribe

 
I'd like to see Carson in a presidential debate. He'd smile, wave and start ranting about chemtrails and animal mutilations and, for a little while, it would be as if the X-Files had never gone off the air.
posted by SPrintF at 6:10 PM on March 25, 2015 [16 favorites]


Ahem...
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:15 PM on March 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would appear that perhaps he has operated on his own brain, unsuccessfully.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:18 PM on March 25, 2015 [4 favorites]




He's invoked bestiality and pedophilia while arguing against gay marriage, and earlier this month, during an appearance on CNN, he argued that homosexuality is a choice, "because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they're gay."... With equally provocative flair, he's railed against the forces of government, declaring that Obamacare is "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery" and, in fact, "is slavery, in a way." Similarly outrageous was his contention that "we live in a Gestapo age" and that America today is "very much like Nazi Germany."

So, serious question, is this guy legitimately mentally ill? Or just really bad at rhetoric.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:21 PM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm sure he's just campaigning to the right, but would govern closer to the center.
posted by Nevin at 6:23 PM on March 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


When I take my sweetie out for a meal at a nice restaurant and read the menu, I find there are usually three options:

• the el-cheapo slab'o'gristle'n'bits
• the ultra-premium and very-profitable filet mignon
• the slightly less expensive, yet still-somewhat profitable salmon

The menu that the GOP is peddling with slab'o'fundynuts like Carson, Paul and Cruz is just juicing up the middle-of-the-road voters to buy the safe Bush-el'o'salmon entree.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 6:25 PM on March 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


Why do we have to take any of these nutballs seriously? The republican nomination will almost certainly go to either Bush or Walker but for the next year we're going to have to listen to very serious people pretend that Carson or Cruz or Rick Perry has any real shot at it. Carson is not a long shot or a dark horse or even a spoiler, he's just an attention seeking egotist who's selling books and auditioning for a talk show on Fox. He has as much chance of being president as I do.
posted by octothorpe at 6:32 PM on March 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I really want to know just who it is that they're polling for things like this. "Sixth-most admired"? Are these the same people who also want brands to speak to them in social media?
posted by qcubed at 6:36 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I grew up following Ben Carson's medical career, reading his books about being a surgeon and going to med school and all that. I wanted to be a surgeon when I was a kid. I found his story so inspirational. I have been so utterly disappointed as an adult to discover what a complete and utter bucket of cocks he is as a person and as a political mouthpiece. It's like a part of my childhood has died.
posted by phunniemee at 6:37 PM on March 25, 2015 [40 favorites]


I assume he's appearing a lot on Fox News? My very Republican mom started talking him up a year or two ago, bought his books, and is very enamored with him. She gets most of her news and (too many of her) views from Fox. I can usually track their coverage and themes through our conversations...
posted by Auden at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is easy. Your donors who run the GOP lure a bunch of other far right wing idiots into the race. mean while the designated candidate gets huge amounts of cash to have the firewalls and national campaign. They key is just enough cash for them to all stay in, but not enough to have a national campaign if they breakout in one primary or caucus. Look at what Romney did in 2012.
posted by humanfont at 6:58 PM on March 25, 2015


Carson has basically zero shot at the nomination, but he might make a good ham-fisted Potemkin-village-of-diversity VP pick. Because that worked so well the last time around.
posted by box at 7:04 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


If Sarah Palin were a brain surgeon, and operated on Ben Carson, you'd get Ben Carson.
posted by uosuaq at 7:07 PM on March 25, 2015 [31 favorites]


Good post. I was just reading up on him after a friend was telling me about how he thinks feminism is responsible for Michael Brown's death.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2015


So, serious question, is this guy legitimately mentally ill?

The question of whether or not there's something going on with the guy medically is a good one, since it's practically unheard of for a successful neurosurgeon, let alone an internationally-renowned neurosurgeon, to retire in his early sixties. (Cut back on his case load, certainly, especially as Carson has served on various boards and different administrative positions in Johns Hopkins and so forth.) And he's always been an evangelical Christian, as far as I can tell, but not publicly possessed of the sort of extreme stuff that he's been venting in the last year. I'm not possessed of any particular romantic notions about doctors--I'm not sure if I'd call anyone in particular a "complete and utter bucket of cocks", but it's not as if there aren't docs that I've, well, not had the best of interactions with--but this is another level entirely. (Fans of The Wire may remember a couple of references to Carson on the show as someone that was held up to the children of Baltimore as a figure to admire and emulate; I wonder how David Simon would handle those references now.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:15 PM on March 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


What if Sarah Palin were a brain surgeon?

With the thoughts she'd be thinking she could be another ... oh, nevermind, I misread the question.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 7:26 PM on March 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


She could see his amygdala from her front porch, you betcha!
posted by Renoroc at 7:37 PM on March 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is what I think of when I think of Ben Carson.
posted by 4ster at 7:51 PM on March 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


"It sounds complex," he finally said. "Why don't they just adopt the system we have?"
Because god forbid anybody should be different from 'Murica.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:04 PM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hope Herman Cain runs again. I'm almost certain that his campaign was some kind of troll, and we need that again. I mean, the guy quoted a song from the Pokemon movie in his final speech. That's the kind of absurdity we need more of.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:31 PM on March 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


A pizza place I frequent upstate has "Run, Ben, Run!" posters and other Draft Ben Carson 2016 materials prominently visible.

I suspect a gas leak somewhere in the kitchen.
posted by delfin at 8:33 PM on March 25, 2015


This man sounds like an absolute treasure.
posted by kafziel at 9:20 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can I once again lament that the GOP is so far gone that this time Jon Huntsman isn't even bothering to launch a campaign?
posted by Apocryphon at 9:58 PM on March 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Could Running For President Destroy Ben Carson’s Legacy?

Dr. Ben Carson: Applauding an Elegant Conservative, TownHall.com
But it wasn't that long ago when liberal extremism tried to suffocate traditional values, and there were few media voices to come to the rescue.

There was one, though, so powerful and elegant, persistent yet graceful. Her name is Phyllis Schlafly. And for the past 90 years she has been a tireless advocate for the nuclear family, for traditional marriage and for common-sense conservatism that resists injecting government into every aspect of our lives. On Wednesday night, she will be honored at the Paul Weyrich Awards dinner that precedes the start of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:08 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm voting for the unmarked grave next to Ben Carson.

(Before anyone corrects me, I know it's not Ben)
posted by dirigibleman at 10:10 PM on March 25, 2015


Oh my goodness yes I want another Herman Cain

I need something to entertain me when my attempts to avoid American politics fail
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:12 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]




I think it's quite upsetting that someone so highly respected is probably suffering from a mental break. That's the assessment of some who have known him for a long time. I also think it's quite interesting to note that it's impossible, at least on a casual level, to distinguish mental illness from the current Republican agenda.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:27 PM on March 25, 2015 [22 favorites]


Bitch, Socrates.

Which is to say that for 2500 years it's been common knowledge that knowing a lot about one thing does not mean you know jack shit about anything else.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:56 PM on March 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, serious question, is this guy legitimately mentally ill? Or just really bad at rhetoric.

He's religious. America got very comfortable with religious people because they were never a serious threat to our political system, but not anymore. So God is now calling the self-righteous to run for office.
posted by Brian B. at 11:25 PM on March 25, 2015


In his book America the Beautiful, he explained the decision to enter politics thusly: “I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena”.

If his campaign is enough of a slow-motion car crash to discredit this one idea, it will be worth it. I've no problem with STEM professionals ending politics. But it's nonsense to claim that STEM expertise necessarily makes you good at anything except your specific job, and it's high Any Rand fantasy to dream otherwise.
posted by penduluum at 11:27 PM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've no problem with STEM professionals ending politics. But it's nonsense to claim that STEM expertise necessarily makes you good at anything except your specific job, and it's high Any Rand fantasy to dream otherwise.

Not only that, there's no guarantee that the STEM folks will take the politics out of politics. If articles about Angela Merkel (who studied quantum chemisty) and others like her are to be believed, former STEM professionals play the game with the best of them.

FWIW, STEM here,
posted by JauntyFedora at 11:43 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


In a way, anyone skilled at obtaining grant funding and running a (STEM) research lab is perhaps more than amply qualified for a life in politics.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:53 PM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Several of the significant African American politicians from the modern GOP have sounded like they come from the fringe, where many of their ideas are totally disconnected from reality. They tend to sound like hucksters, crazy like a fox, sometimes injecting the most incendiary comments into the political discourse from a position of relative immunity, because, hey, maybe it's offensive, but it's just that crazy guy acting crazy again; how crazy! Nobody in this group ever gets the presidential nomination, or even comes close, but that may not be an accident. They tend to stick around as pundits after their time in office. Alan Keyes. Herman Cain. Allen West. Ben Carson.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:42 AM on March 26, 2015


Several of the significant African American politicians from the modern GOP have sounded like they come from the fringe, where many of their ideas are totally disconnected from reality.

I'm not saying that it is impossible to be black, Republican, and connected to reality, but it's hard to see how that would work, exactly. It's harder and harder to be any kind of Republican and be connected to reality, unless you are working nonstop to reform the party from within.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:44 AM on March 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd like to submit the idea that it's possible he is wrong, very wrong, and utterly wrong, but not mentally ill. I mean he is touting far right talking points held by many people; not messages barked at him by his neighbor's dog. I think it's not only a bit out of line to question his mental health; it incorrectly characterizes his hateful and ignorant beliefs as something not held by a disturbing number of people.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:13 AM on March 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, serious question, is this guy legitimately mentally ill? Or just really bad at rhetoric.

If he is, then so are just about every local conservative talk-radio host in the country, as well as their listeners. Honestly, his ravings might be out on the bleeding edge of conservative thought, I don't find him all that different from what you often hear on local talk radio.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:23 AM on March 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that it is impossible to be black, Republican, and connected to reality, but it's hard to see how that would work, exactly. It's harder and harder to be any kind of Republican and be connected to reality, unless you are working nonstop to reform the party from within.

You'd get the Colin Powell treatment: A political career killing public moment where you have to choose between the team and reality and be punished regardless of your choice.
posted by srboisvert at 5:35 AM on March 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying that it is impossible to be black, Republican, and connected to reality, but it's hard to see how that would work, exactly.

Seems like you get to choose two.
posted by frogstar42 at 6:49 AM on March 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


In his book America the Beautiful, he explained the decision to enter politics thusly: “I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena”.

If Ben Carson's political stances are based on any "facts and empirical data" other than Republican focus groups, I'm Clara Bow.
posted by Gelatin at 7:14 AM on March 26, 2015


There was one, though, so powerful and elegant, persistent yet graceful. Her name is Phyllis Schlafly

I... what. Ow. My head hurts.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:39 AM on March 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


What If Sarah Palin Were A Brain Surgeon?

Impossible. Sarah Palin is basically a character from a Restoration comedy, who serves as an allegorical representation of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


I am continually surprised that she hasn't started speaking in rhyming couplets yet.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:03 AM on March 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Of course, Ben Carson sounds like he could be one of the doctors from L'Amour médecin, so ymmv.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:12 AM on March 26, 2015


> I am continually surprised that she hasn't started speaking in rhyming couplets yet.

In her own head she might be.
posted by ardgedee at 9:42 AM on March 26, 2015


A: "What you're saying doesn't make sense."
B: "You're saying that just because I'm religious."
A: "No, I'm saying that you're not intelligent."
(B scurries away, guts education and science...)
B: "Intelligence is bad. Science is opinion. You're just an elitist."
A: "No, you're just not intelligent."
B: "You don't have faith."
(A shakes head, gets distracted by artisanly crafted ice cubes and well-written TV shows.)
(B wins election via apathy.)
posted by billder at 10:38 AM on March 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that it is impossible to be black, Republican, and connected to reality, but it's hard to see how that would work, exactly.

Seems like you get to choose two.


I don't know about that. Sometimes it seems to me it's hard for people to be Republican and connected to reality.
posted by john-a-dreams at 12:07 PM on March 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


If he is, then so are just about every local conservative talk-radio host in the country, as well as their listeners. Honestly, his ravings might be out on the bleeding edge of conservative thought, I don't find him all that different from what you often hear on local talk radio.

You present this as though this is an unthinkable statement, though. It's one I'm comfortable making.
posted by kafziel at 12:56 PM on March 26, 2015


Sometimes it seems to me it's hard for people to be Republican and connected to reality.

Depends on which side of the percentile you fall on. The 1% know exactly what they're getting out of Republicanism.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:25 AM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


In his book America the Beautiful, he explained the decision to enter politics thusly: “I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena”.

I disagree with Carson here, which seems to be authoritative sentiments dating from the 1950's mass advertizing era, when four out of five doctors smoked Chesterfields. Those trained in the humanities, including legal scholars, historians, writers and artists, seem to make better decisions for humans when freedom and nature is in the balance. I don't even think you'd find reasons for democracy mentioned in an engineering or science course even once.
posted by Brian B. at 7:49 PM on March 27, 2015


Wait, wait, wait... okay, everybody else already knew about J. P. Sousa the fourth?
posted by Rat Spatula at 5:57 AM on March 28, 2015


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