Don't Treat Carson and Fiorina as Novelties


The idea that Republicans should look for their side’s answer to Obama or Hillary in no way supports the goal of reclaiming the White House. Such a thought essentially says the rough template of a politician is found among liberals, and the best we can do is match it with a cobbled together version of our own. After all, the people want what is popular, right? Another unruffled, articulate black man, or the first female president. At times, these desires seem to steer the Right to deliver the same.

If the GOP, the party of “old, white men”, is uncomfortable with their branding, they need to look into changing it. But shifting focus onto the superficial aspects of a politician to fit the other side’s popular mold isn’t addressing anything. We’re currently under a shallow regime built on catchphrases and Greek columns, so that’s a path we shouldn’t head down. No serious Republican contender has yet to officially announce, but potential candidates include the obvious, Bush and Walker, and not so obvious, [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ].

Two individuals who have expressed interest and who may or may not gear up for an actual run are Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. At first glance, they look like fillers for the black man and white woman categories. Because neither will (most likely) have a real chance of securing the nomination, their role must be something else entirely, and the liberal media is dead set on defining it.

Ben Carson, the likeable black neurosurgeon, was profiled in a New York Times piece recently:

Rhetorical excess was good for business, but Carson now wants to be seen as more than a novelty candidate. He has come to learn that such extreme analogies, while true to his views, aren’t especially presidential.

Ben Carson is, in many ways, the ideal Republican presidential candidate. With a not-too-selective reading of his life story, conservative voters can — and do — see in him an inspiring, up-from-nowhere African-American who shares their beliefs, a right-wing answer to Barack Obama.

Carly Fiorina, the somewhat fiery, former Hewlett-Packard executive is the only Republican female in the game at this point. Another Times article relayed recently:

“In a field of men, she could really emerge as a very effective critic of Hillary, which Republicans are going to need,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist in Sacramento. “You look at the field, and obviously there is a space for a very articulate, conservative woman.”

Allies of Mrs. Clinton, who plans to make gender a central part of her appeal, call this a cynical ploy. Ms. Fiorina, they say, is being put to use by a Republican Party that is desperate to damage Mrs. Clinton without antagonizing female voters.

“These guys really believe it’s unfair that women are now running,” said Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton in her 2008 campaign.

Both Carson and Fiorina are categorized as pleasant enough, with a history of successes, but not real threats to the more popular among them. Instead, they appear as placeholders to some. Novel because of race and gender, they are names added to a short list of seemingly progressive advances by the GOP.

The reality is that these two should remind the GOP to resist the superficial. That route is a loser all day long. We may see race and gender upon first glance, but that dynamic should never cause us to lend support to or shy away from candidates such as these. As with any others on the list of probable contenders, what they contribute shouldn’t be attached to anything but the substantial. Those on the Left may mentally congratulate Republicans for finally opening up to diversity, but we shouldn’t accept that premise. If we desire to clinch 2016, our focus should be beyond making a statement such as that. The focus of the electorate, as the focus of the new president, should always be on the whole.