Los Angeles Times: Why Ben Carson has no business near the Oval Office


As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.

I don’t really mind that Ben Carson thinks the pyramids in Egypt were used to store grain; that’s a folk belief that’s been around since the Middle Ages. At least he dismisses the theory that the pyramids were built by space aliens.

I actually heard somewhere that scientists aren’t entirely sure about this, although mainstream media seems pretty sold on it. Fair enough, he is an evangelical and this is something evangelicals occasionally believe.

And I don’t really mind that Carson’s autobiography, by his own admission, isn’t precisely accurate on every detail. He still insists that he tried to kill a classmate with a knife, an unusual claim for a presidential candidate. But even if that story was an exaggeration, it’s harmless myth-making — a dramatization of how low the teenage Carson had sunk before God intervened to shape him up.

I mean, said incident has since been confirmed by his mother, and outside of the person who got stabbed, there’s no other pertinent evidence. (Yes, the guy who’s been stabbed has been changed from a friend named Bob to a cousin; seems pretty par for the course if he didn’t want to release this guy’s identity, which seems plausible if that guy didn’t want the paparazzi going after ‘the guy who Ben Carson stabbed’.)

Barack Obama’s autobiography used creative license to make him sound like a juvenile delinquent, too.

Not that anyone pounced on that. It’s cool, though.

Here’s what I do mind: Even though Carson considers himself brilliant, he doesn’t seem to care much about the actual duties of a president.

Steady on there pal; as a neurosurgeon, I feel like there’s at least a few other people that consider him brilliant? Why the condescension?

His speeches, interviews and books betray a shaky grasp of economic and foreign policy, and when a candidate is tied for first place for the Republican nomination in most polls, that’s no laughing matter.

Case in point: Carson has proposed a massive tax cut for the wealthy (and tax increase for the poor) that would reduce federal revenue by more than half a trillion dollars, but the good doctor still hasn’t explained how he would fill the yawning budget gap his tax cut would produce. Where are the details? There aren’t any available; none of these plans has been reduced to paper.

You know, I’m not exactly a fan of supply-side economics. I’d prefer a world in which rich people were required to fork over any money they would spend on fantabulous luxuries like a stable of Ferraris, enormous estates, and anything with the word ‘yacht’ in it.

But still, at least I have the decency to not ignore their key argument: namely, that cutting taxes leads to economic growth, which leads to more tax revenue and less spending on welfare. And considering the entire platform of the Republican Party and the entire outlook of conservative media, you can’t just say ‘it’s been debunked’ and move on.

“The lion’s share of the gross domestic output is consumed by the federal government,” Actually, no: Federal spending consumes about 20% of GDP while consumer spending takes the true lion’s share: almost 70%.

On the public radio show “Marketplace” last month, Carson was asked whether he would block an increase in the federal debt ceiling. “I would not sign an increased budget,” he replied. No, his interviewer clarified, the question was about debts
already incurred, not future spending. Carson still seemed to think they were the same thing. “We’re not raising any spending limits, period,” he said.

Fair enough, though increasing the federal debt ceiling is inevitably an ‘increased budget’; both technically, since you could cut government spending to compensate, and realistically, since any rise of the ceiling means Congress will find a way to spend more, as they have done recently. Lion’s share is certainly a gaffe, however.

In his book, Carson argues that federal judges shouldn’t be allowed to rule on the constitutionality of state ballot initiatives like California’s Proposition 8, which the Supreme Court overturned in 2013.

“Having a ballot referendum on an important issue is a farce if a federal judge can throw out the results,” he writes. He suggests, as a remedy to this problem, that Congress simply impeach any judge who “ignores the will of the people.” So much for the Constitution.

As I recall, the Constitution doesn’t explicitly give judges the right of judicial review if the law hasn’t come up in a case they are adjudicating. Instead, the Supreme Court took this right, and while I’m fine with that, some of the founding fathers were actually like ‘oh SNAP’

“I would commit everything to eliminating them [Islamic State] right now,” he said. That’s a controversial position, but a defensible one. Here’s where Carson goes off course: He argues that U.S. forces shouldn’t be bound by the laws of war.“There is no such thing as a politically correct war,” he told Fox News. “If you’re going to have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says ‘no war.’ Other than that, we have to win.”

Fighting a war against terrorists is difficult, to say the least, because you can’t always tell between combatant and civilian. Meanwhile, your nerves get worn away by constant danger. Terrorist organizations know this, and they also love to abuse human shields whenever they can. So yeah, ladies and gents, wars can’t be politically correct. If you’re not satisfied with that answer … don’t go to war. (i.e. my position).

In short, I disagree with a lot of Ben’s positions; he has no political experience, probably won’t know how to negotiate with Congress, says some DUMB shit sometimes, is a full-on Evangelical with a capital E. But can we please stick to reality here? Believe me, he has given us enough real rope to truss him up by regardless.

Los Angeles Times: Why Ben Carson has no business near the Oval Office

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