Diary

Is Ben Carson the conservatives' "affirmative-action" candidate?

In Leon Wolfe’s  front page diary today about “The Right Outsider,” he examines the problems with Dr. Carson’s candidacy, as  those conservatives  who want an outsider appear to be gravitating towards the neurosurgeon. Leon writes:

“The problem thus far is that the “not Trump” faction of the outsider faction seems to be coalescing around Ben Carson. And I think Carson got badly exposed in last night’s debate.

Look, I like Carson, and I like him more every time I have seen him. But there is absolutely no reason that a candidate who is several months into a Presidential campaign ought to have absolutely no idea whether the Federal minimum wage ought to be raised, or even have a general idea about his tax policy ideas. If you listened to Carson actually answer questions, the number of times he answered with the functional equivalent of “I don’t know” or “I’m still studying the issue” was quite frankly a little bit alarming.

I mean, to be fair, Trump answers questions the same way all the time, but he at least creates the impression of knowing what he’s talking about, whereas Carson’s humility exposes these weak spots in his policy knowledge like a blaring klaxon. Carson was the only guy on the whole stage who all the other candidates obviously respected and refused to interrupt, but he looked absolutely not ready to be President last night.”

About Dr. Carson: He is a good man, a God-fearing man, with an admirable personal life story. He is also a superb, nay, brilliant surgeon. And he has evolved into a conscious, and highly committed conservative. But if we are to be honest with ourselves, as Leon points out, he is not ready to be President. Indeed, to go further, if Dr Carson were were a white man, with the exact same biography, 99.999% of the country would still have no idea who he is, let alone contemplate the idea that he is ready to be President.

Carson’s break out performance came at the 2013 National Prayer breakfast. He gave a wonderful, articulate speech, expounding on his  conservative values and principles;  that are in clear opposition to those advanced by Obama, who just happened to be seated next to him.

Were Carson white, his comments would have never have been noticed. But the image of a black conservative taking a whack at the first black President was an AHA!! moment for conservatives, and he became an instantaneous conservative darling..and his political career was launched.

Let me be perfectly clear. This is in no way to detract from Dr. Carson. He’d be far better as POTUS than Obama, Hillary, or any of the other Democrats. And I fully believe that he is smart enough to “know what he doesn’t know” and more important, that he would be a very quick study.

However, that doesn’t mean that Dr. Carson is the best qualified  conservative Republican for the job. Cruz, Jindal, Rubio, Fiorina, Huckabee are hands down far better suited to assuming the Oval Office.

Indeed, I daresay one could attend any medical convention in the country and come away with 5 middle aged surgeons, all solid conservatives, and just as capable as being president as Dr. Carson. And if they were all white, and one, or more, announced their candidacy for the White House, would we laugh, or yawn?

So what does that say about we conservatives if in fact we embrace a very good and decent man; one whom I deeply admire and respect, and advance him for a position for which he is not suitable?

Isn’t that the very definition of affirmative action; something that we conservatives correctly despise?

Let’s look at the question from two somewhat different perspectives.

Suppose the board of directors of say, either Pfizer, Merck, or Johnson & Johnson announced that they had just elected Dr. Carson to be their new CEO. The stock would immediately drop by about 25%, as putting a man with no business experience whatsoever in charge of a multi-billion dollar enterprise makes no sense whatsoever. Indeed, the company would likely soon find itself a take-over candidate.

To those who advocate for Dr. Carson, ask yourselves this: Is he, or [mc_name name=’Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S001184′ ] better suited right now to be President? Suppose Scott had announced the same time Carson did? Who would you be supporting?

I’m not quite sure what this all means; what it says about how we as conservatives deal with the question of race today. The Democrats have so poisoned that well, viewing anything  and everything through the prism of racial politics. that we may still not be truly color-blind.

One of the key, and most telling arguments used by opponents of affirmative action is that is sets up those who initially benefit from it for failure down the road. Putting someone into an Ivy-league school,  solely on the basis of his race, will likely not end well when he realizes that he cannot compete with the academic workload.

Are we conservatives thus setting up Ben Carson, a really good  and decent man, for a “fail”  by virtue of proposing him to be our President?

I would hope not. I think we are far better than that, and more importantly, Ben Carson deserves far better.