Monday November 9, 2015
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Dear Dr. Carson: Welcome to the NFL.
Ben Carson, former sociopath, former Egyptian agricultural scholar, former almost West Point graduate, former neurosurgeon, and soon to be former Republican frontrunner is having a tough run in his quest for the GOP nomination.
When Carson was bumping along in the low- to mid-single digits, no one much cared about his childhood or what he thought about the great issues of the day.
He was a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins. He was a conservative - a Black conservative. He was an outsider. He wasn't named Donald Trump.
Ben Carson is a serious man. He has won a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work as a surgeon. He has written six books. He has been a Fox News contributor. And now he is leading some of the polls for the GOP nomination for President.
But, how that he is a frontrunner, his writings, his statements, his opinions, his plans, and his programs are under the political microscope and they don't look very good.
Central to his rags-to-riches story is how he was a troubled teenager who found God and became a world-famous surgeon. In his books he has written about trying to hit his mother with a hammer, trying to stab a classmate with a knife, and successfully whacking another student with a lock and opening a three-inch gash in the kid's head.
As part of the upside down nature of this year's campaigns, Carson is mad at the press corps because they won't believe he did those things. CNN went to Detroit and found people who knew Carson growing up and no one could remember a story about a student being stabbed, or another being clocked in the head.
I don't know if those stories are true or not but, as I said the other night on MSNBC, they do add to a "pattern of weirdness" that now defines Ben Carson.
This past week the conversation turned to another claim in another book that at a dinner with Gen. William Westmorland, Carson claimed to have been offered a "full scholarship" to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Upon further review, Carson is now claiming that he said, or meant to say, that Westmorland had discussed getting him a nomination to West Point. Carson, at the time, was a senior member of the high school ROTC in Detroit.
Someone has now determined that General Westmorland was somewhere else on the date of that dinner, but it doesn't matter. The story adds to the pattern of weirdness.
Dr. Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist, which is of no moment to me. But, what is of interest is his insistence that the Pyramids - those huge things in the Egyptian desert - were not tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs, but were gigantic grain silos built by Joseph - he of the many-colored coat.
According to the BBC, this idea gained some currency in the Middle Ages in Europe, but that was before the Pyramids had been closely studied. It is also the case that the biblical story of Joseph (which has no mention of the Pyramids) took place, "centuries after the pyramids of Giza were built."
Another link in the pattern of weirdness.
Finally, there is that rap ad on which the Carson campaign is apparently spending $150,000. You can hear it on the Secret Decoder Ring Page, but what is more interesting is what Carson said when he was asked about it:
"There are people on the campaign who thought that was a good way to do things
but I probably would have taken a little different approach."
Putting aside the fact that every candidate ad has to have a "candidate disclaimer" saying that the candidate approved it, it is difficult to understand who in the organization believed this was a good expenditure.
All this matters because Carson is atop the polling along with Donald Trump. It matters because his life story has been central to his becoming a major personality in America. It matters because we would prefer our political leaders had some grounding in reality.
The Carson campaign is one big pyramid scheme.
Lad Link: Reed gives us an advance look at Tuesday night's debate HERE
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to all of the elements of the Ben Carson story: His bio, the Seventh Day Adventist web page, the Pyramids, and the rap ad.
Also a pretty good Mullfoto from Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago.
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