Tag: Ben Carson

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Some people had a good laugh earlier this week about how stupid Ben Carson is because he doesn’t know how to say “Hamas.” These people reveal only that they are jerks. Hamas can be pronounced several different ways, even by the same person. For instance, Benjamin Netanyahu sometimes says “CHAmas,” and other times, “ha-Mas.” So […]

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Stalin, Heart Surgeons, and Ben Carson


DSC05950So as you can imagine, my family has been having a lot of conversations lately about cardiology and cardiac surgery. My father was already quite well-informed about the subject, because his own father suffered from cardiac disease (confirming the well-established wisdom that such things run in the family, and making me think it might be wise one of these days to have my own ticker checked out: What keeps me from doing it is not wanting to know, which I know isn’t the most courageous way to approach these matters. I’ll get around to it. I think I’m okay for now.)

Anyway, we’ve been talking about the personalities of people who go into cardiac surgery as a speciality. There are lots of stereotypes, of course: I liked this blog, written by a woman who in no way would I consult for any medical problem, given that she’s “a physician who is intuitive and a Reiki Master/Teacher discusses healing from ‘the front lines’ of the mind-body connection in the hospital setting.” But her description of the temperaments of cardiovascular surgeons seemed interesting to me:

Cardiovascular surgeons are the last of the “old boys school” for the most part. There are notable exceptions, which I will discuss later. They are emotional, angry titans who split sternums and work on some really sick people. Some contain it better than others. … I have seen patients die from pride of the surgeon and the anesthesiologist and the rest of the team. … Pride is an element in the heart room. Ego reigns. Dominance, aggression, control, continuity. There is no compassion. Not for anyone…

Has the Trump Meltdown Begun?


Many pundits wondered what would happen if Trump fell behind in the polls. Would he mellow a bit, lash out, or meltdown completely. Now that Dr. Ben Carson is running neck-and-neck with The Donald and has led in several surveys, we’re beginning to see what a desperate Trump looks like. According to Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson, the marathon speech he gave in Fort Dodge, IA, Thursday night was something to behold.

And That’s the Rest of the Story



The story is always the same: the mainstream media hits conservative politicians much harder than liberals. Each cycle we see conservative candidates spend more of their time defending themselves against erroneous reporting, instead of sharing their message. This is nothing new — almost cliché, really — but it’s now more transparent than ever. As society becomes less dependent on CBS, NBC, and ABC to tell them what to think, more people have determined that the MSM may not have always been providing them with whole truths:

Americans’ trust in the national news media remains at an all-time low. A new Gallup poll shows that just 40% of Americans have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. That figure, which ties Gallup statistics for 2012 and 2014, represents a steep decline from the 55% high in the late 1990s when Gallup began polling.

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Today’s Weekly Standard has Bill Kristol reconsidering his previous statements grouping Ben Carson with Donald Trump, as having insufficient conservative policy chops to merit support as a GOP candidate in 2016.  In Kristol’s case, this appears to be due to a lengthy Facebook post by Carson singing admittedly lovely tune from the “citizen government” hymnal […]

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A Very Good Week for the GOP


FullSizeRender (2)This was a very good week for conservatives who are Republicans. If you are an anti-establishment Republican who borrows the “Republican” brand (what some have called “Neo-RINOs”), but either resist getting involved in party politics, choose to use the Republican mantle to vent at the “GOP establishment” when you run out of things to say about Democrats, or refuse to accept majority rule in party politics, then you had a good week too. In fact, you have had a great seven years (See chart). But who’s keeping score? If you are a libertarian, well it was just another week.This followed a rough week with Hillary claiming victory over Benghazi and dancing over the non-candidate, Sanders.

This week provided a clue about a key avenue of attack in 2016. Kentucky’s next governor, Matt Bevin, is a Republican who tied his opponent to Obama, and to his healthcare, environment, energy, and other policies. He upset the forecasters to win handily. Lesson for 2016: Tie Democrats to Obama and Hillary Clinton to Obama’s third term. And don’t forget Obamacare. Also, pray for the President to walk across a bridge of executive orders on his way out the door. He will anyway, and voters by and large resent imperialism.

Ohio handily rejected the marijuana amendment. This was generally a good thing, unless you are a pot-smoking libertarian or a non-pot smoking libertarian. Hillary Clinton has joined the President and some Republicans in calling for relaxing drug laws and sentencing. Most drug offenders are convicted of distributing serious amounts of bad drugs, so lessening sentences is another ruse, this one speaking to the black community, which has a disproportionate share of drug offenders (mostly traffickers) in prisons. The use of medical marijuana deserves further clarification in Ohio, but this aspect is often used as a disguise for gaining open use. There is a strong argument to be made for drug laws, including, “Why do we need another intoxicant?”, from a public safety point of view, not to mention the imposition drug use places on the individual freedoms of those not using.

We Should Talk About Ben Carson


381px-Ben_Carson_by_Gage_Skidmore_2Having given Bernie Sanders and his supporters a lot of guff — and to to show that I’m more than just a partisan hack — I feel it’s necessary to point out to our side that we have the potential to once again demonstrate the truth behind the Republican Party’s unofficial motto There’s Nothing We Can’t Screw Up™.

The case in point is that of newly-minted Republican frontrunner Dr. Ben Carson. Carson is a fine and admirable man — perhaps unique in all the world for his skill with a scalpel — and, having read his book, the irrepressible nature of his optimism can’t be denied. But he’s nonetheless the flavor of the month for Republican Primary voters. Keep in mind that at this point four years ago, Herman Cain was the frontrunner and Newt Gingrich was about to spike. Anybody could develop some sort of alternate history fan-fiction about how things would have gone had either of these men remained the Republican front-runner, but both were, in the end, deeply flawed candidates for a variety of reasons. Dr. Carson is no different.

Carson’s story is uplifting and uniquely American, but those qualities do not grant you the judgment, cunning, and credibility to either seize or occupy the highest office in the land. Should he become the Republican nominee we would most likely be treated to a passel of strange stories which would surely disqualify Gentle Ben from holding high office. Here’s the latest example:

October’s Ricochet GOP Polling


Not much has changed since the beginning of October. Among Ricochet members, the field is coalescing around Rubio, Fiorina, Cruz, and Jindal. They remain the top vote-getters but Fiorina and Cruz have swapped rankings. Carson’s absence is worth noting, especially since he’s the current front-runner in the polls.

1st choice all

On Ben Carson and Taxes


Ben CarsonI am in Boulder for the CNBC-hosted Republican presidential debate, on which I will be offering insights in my role as an on-air contributor.

I have written quite a bit about Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush. But not so much about Ben Carson, who leads in Iowa and in one national poll. Not so bad for the good doctor. But where is he policy-wise?

Here is Bloomberg on the evolving Carson tax plan:

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My Facebook feed has been filled recently with posts linking to articles about Ben Carson’s membership in the Seventh Day Adventist church. Most recently, people are accusing Trump of mocking Carson’s religious views, and last week a story came out about the Baptist Convention asking Carson to cancel a speaking gig he was scheduled for, […]

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On Ben Carson


"Dr Ben Carson at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Oklahoma City, OK May 2015 by Michael Vadon II 17" by Michael Vadon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.I like Ben Carson. I really do. I think he is probably a wonderful man, certainly a gifted surgeon, and he takes a strong, no-nonsense stand on abortion.

But I don’t see him as president.

First, some of the things he’s said are going to haunt him in the unlikely event he becomes the Republican nominee. That bit he said about “bodies filled with holes,” was a strange way of talking about murder victims. I’m sure what he meant was “It’s tragic that people choose to do these horrible things, but those horrible things done by criminals and madmen don’t justify taking away the rights of ordinary, law abiding citizens.” But what he actually said was “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.” I know what he meant, but I also know how it’s been spun.

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Over two hundred people stood in the rain to welcome Ben Carson to Greenville, SC, today. I am terrible at estimating crowds so I asked the store staff. I know 200 cards were issued to  people who bought books. There were a good crowd of family members that came with the book buyers. Since I […]

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Individualism: Just One of the Things They Don’t Get



This political season has been a confusing one for the media and elites of both parties. In truth, the last few years have been confusing, especially the last three-odd congressional elections.

They are only now starting to act as if they might “get” part of the decided tendency voters are showing toward what have been called the “outsiders.” Donald Trump seemed to be opening the door for the non-establishment political newcomer. But GOP voters have given top-tier status to three plain-speaking candidates, none of whom have held elective office before. They are all accomplished, independent people. The pundit class is beginning to grasp a few things about their connection to the public — but the essence of it is still out of their wheelhouse.

The Classicist Podcast, with Victor Davis Hanson: “2016 and the Race for the White House”


In the newest installment of The Classicist podcast, VDH takes us on a tour of the 2016 presidential race: How should we interpret Scott Walker’s departure? How plausible is a presidential candidate without electoral experience? What’s Victor’s cryptic message for Mike Huckabee? And why does Hillary Clinton have the Sage of the Central Valley quoting Nine Inch Nails lyrics? All that, plus perhaps the first in-depth analysis of the Jim Webb campaign that you’ve heard this cycle, can be heard below or when you subscribe to The Classicist via iTunes.

The State of the Race


Debate2This won’t be another debate recap post. An army of pundits (Please note: Worst. Army. Ever.) has already dissected last night’s proceedings and the emerging consensus seems about right to me: Carly Fiorina dominated, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie both had some pretty good moments, and Donald Trump’s pilot light kept shutting off. Everyone else was basically treading water. In the undercard debate, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham both looked serviceable, but c’mon — it’s not that big of a deal to win the NIT.

So let’s play the story forward: after last night, what dynamics play out over the six weeks until the next GOP debate takes place in Boulder, Colorado? (Seriously, RNC? Boulder? Was George Soros’ penthouse booked that night?) Here are some of the trends I’ll be watching for:

Carly in the Crosshairs

Do Republicans Care About Winning?


DebateThe question dogs any woman who writes about politics: “Don’t you want to see the first woman elected president of the United States?” The unstated premise, always obvious, is that you are some sort of traitor to your sex if your hand isn’t itching to pull the lever for someone with the correct chromosomes. My answer has always been, “That depends upon what she believes.”

Hillary Clinton banked on the First Woman President effect from the start — an understandable gambit for someone with no substantive accomplishments and many flaws. Her sex may be the only thing she hasn’t lied about. She doubtless lulls herself to sleep at night by lovingly eyeing the cross tabs of election data showing that women are an ever increasing share of the total electorate (53 percent in 2012); that single women in particular lean hard to the Democrats (67 percent voted for Obama in 2012); and that marriage is on the decline among younger voters.

Two things will disturb her reverie. One: In the past two months, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, Mrs. Clinton’s support among Democratic women voters has dropped by 29 points, from 71 percent to 42 percent. Two: Carly Fiorina demonstrates what a true leader looks like.

Attention, Science! Fans: People are Complicated


Over the past few election cycles, it’s become standard practice to ask the Republican candidates whether or not they “believe” in evolution, and to use their answers as a test to determine the candidates’ piety, critical thinking skills, and cultural values. I find the evidence for common descent and change over time to be incredibly compelling, so I think the question is useful, but its heuristic value as a shorthand for whether one “accepts science” is wildly overrated. People are complicated, and it’s generally foolhardy to evaluate someone’s thinking on a single metric.

As a case in point, consider the exchange last night over vaccines. Over the last decade — and again in the debate — Trump has repeatedly claimed that vaccines are the source of the “autism epidemic.” This is demonstrably false. The rise in autism diagnoses is overwhelmingly the result of broadening its definition and greater public concern and awareness. Moreover, the study that initially started the scare has been retracted by its publisher, and the ingredient (thimerosal) most commonly alleged to be the culprit hasn’t been in the standard childhood vaccination schedule* since around 2002. Diagnoses have continued to rise, regardless.

Review: Remembering Who We Are: A Treasury of Conservative Commencement Addresses


rem-who-we-areAccording to US Federal Election Commission data, 96 percent of Ivy League faculty and administrators that gave money to a presidential candidate in 2012 donated to President Obama. The left-leaning nature of American academia is well-known, but rarely raised in polite company. Speaking at Harvard’s 363rd commencement last year, however, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg did just that. Citing the Election Commission’s figure, he uncomfortably tempered Harvard’s next generation of leaders with a message of tolerance over uniformity. “There was more disagreement than that among the members of the old Soviet Politburo,” he said, adding the obvious sleight that “a university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogenous.”

In order to weather its current economic and political challenges, America needs not only a more balanced exchange of ideas, but to reconnect with tried and tested principles. Thus, the purpose of Zev Chafet’s Remembering Who We Are, a diverse collection of college commencement addresses, “is not to develop a right-wing orthodoxy, but precisely to show the intellectual and cultural nuance on that side of the spectrum.”

From neurosurgeon Ben Carson, to playwright David Mamet and others, the speeches thread messages of individual liberty, responsibility, free enterprise, and the rule of law with personal experience and advice to the next generation.