Monday, November 09, 2015

Ben Carson: A Totally Unfit Candidate

Only in today's Republican Party could a candidate as demonstrably unfit - and I would add insane - as Ben Carson be at or near the top of the polls of GOP voters.  I like many are now wondering how the man ever got through medical school and practiced medicine at a top rated hospital.  With every passing day it seems new lies are being exposed and more lunacy is coming to light.  Yet despite all the damning disclosures, the Christofascist element of the GOP base in particular clings to supporting Carson and acts as if the exposure of the man's nonstop untruths is all some liberal plot.  Somehow, Carson is absolved from having stated the lies in the first place. The Republican Party has indeed become an insane asylum being run by the inmates.  Here are highlights from a piece in Salon that look at the unfitness of Carson:
Ben Carson has had a very strange couple of weeks. Let’s take a moment to review precisely what the arguable front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination has undergone since the CNBC debate in late October. At that debate, he was challenged on his relationship with a shady nutritional supplement company that sells fart pills to very sick people. Carson denied any relationship existed, despite the many paid speeches and promotional videos he did for the group. In the days that followed, it was revealed that Carson thinks the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built by Joseph to store grain – a biblical literalist view that is supported by precisely zero historical or archaeological evidence.

But hey we’re not done yet. . . . This string of scarcely believable events culminated on Friday with a Politico report that Carson’s oft-repeated claim to have been offered a “full scholarship” to West Point was untrue.

All this follows months and months of other weird Carson behaviors – his repeated and inappropriate invocations of the Nazis and slavery to attack policies he doesn’t like, his Bible-based tax plan, his “book tour” in the middle of the campaign, his insistence that a Muslim should not be president, his ignorance of basic economic matters, his plan to have the government investigate “propaganda” on college campuses, and the fact that his “campaign” increasingly resembles an elaborate direct-marketing scam. And that’s only a few select tiles from the rich mosaic of Ben Carson’s strangeness.

One might think that a candidate with this many warning lights and trouble signs would have crashed fairly quickly, or never even taken off in the first place. But the Republican Party and its voters have declared war on the very concept of competent, reliable governance, which has provided space for “outsider” candidates who are manifestly unfit for the office of the presidency to seize the GOP electorate and retain a firm hold on it. Now that he’s at the top of the GOP 2016 polling, he’s facing a great deal more scrutiny, and people are starting to wonder whether Carson will survive as a front-runner for the presidential nomination.

The obvious impulse for conservatives is to rally around Carson and protect him from the nasty liberal media and its pernicious biases. The derpier corners of the conservative media are already doing exactly that, arguing that media scrutiny of Carson’s past is motivated by racial hatred and part of a broader scheme to attack black conservatives. 

But when you look at the entire Ben Carson experience to date, what’s really needed is more scrutiny, and more and better explanations for why, exactly, he thinks he’s ready to serve as president. Carson rose to prominence based on his inspiring life story and his willingness to be harshly critical of President Obama. But, as Paul Waldman notes, the more we hear from Carson on policy matters and issue of national importance, the more it becomes clear that he frequently has no idea what he’s talking about, is “impervious to evidence,” and is unwilling to entertain the notion that his convictions may be wrong. His policy platform is stuffed with grandiose and insane proposals that are completely untethered to the reality of how governments work and violate principles of basic mathematics, but he argues that he’ll accomplish them anyway because he believes in himself.

It feels safe to assume, given the mood of the Republican electorate, that Carson won’t have too difficult a time enduring these unwelcome probes into his background and bugnuts worldview. Donald Trump’s enduring popularity in the Republican primary already stands as a stinging indictment of the direction the GOP has taken. 
I honestly do not know how any sane and rational person can remain a Republican when the party has become so insane that someone like Carson can rise to the top of the polls.  I did not think it possible, but Carson is beginning to make Michelle Bachmann look sane.  Few things are more dangerous than an idiot who thinks he/she is a genius. 

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