Someone should ask Ben Carson if he eats bamboo, because he sure knows how to pander.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning neurosurgeon is now neck-and-neck with front-runner Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary polls, positioning himself as a Washington outsider that thinks before he speaks and is more electable than the aforementioned business mogul. How is he doing it?
By playing dumb.
Keep in mind that this guy is one of the greatest brain surgeons to ever live. In 1985, he became the youngest pediatric neurosurgery director in the history of Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1987, he worked 22 consecutive hours and became the first man ever to separate twins conjoined at the head. In 2015, he said that Islam, as a religion, is incompatible with the Constitution, and that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”
Yes, in another one of his tireless efforts to appeal to the GOP right-wing base, he instilled the feeling of Islamophobia in his party and blatantly lied about the Constitution. Article VI of the document says “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” But enough with the facts. Carson knows plenty well what the facts are, but instead wishes to exploit the stupidity and bigotry of many in our nation by making outlandish, hateful comments to increase his poll numbers.
This, of course, isn’t the first time that a Republican candidate has gone rightward in their bid for the party nomination. Mitt Romney, once a moderately conservative governor that supported public health care in a blue state, sold his soul in 2012 to win the primaries. He flip-flopped on abortion, climate change, gun control, immigration and tax policy to better position himself to earn the party’s vote but was unable to walk back his comments enough to seriously challenge Barack Obama in the general election.
Never, however, has a candidate so overtly contradicted his own knowledge as much as Dr. Carson is doing this election cycle.
Carson had the opportunity as a medical expert to shoot down Donald Trump’s anti-vaxxing comments during the last Republican primary debate. Trump said that he opposed vaccinations because he believed in their link to Autism, even though that theory has been thwarted countless times. Carson, an expert of the brain, is familiar with the lack of correlation, and corrected Trump. As the doctor continued talking, he must have remembered that distrusting establishment medicine is, for some reason, part of the modern right-wing rhetoric, and his comments grew hazier as he went on. He said “it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time,” even though grouping of vaccines have shown no negative effects in studies.
Amid the Planned Parenthood controversy over the summer, Carson condemned fetal tissue research, saying “there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue,” even though scientists refute this claim and Carson himself used fetal tissue in his own research in 1992. The doctor wasn’t so staunchly opposed to the practice back then, but he is now because he is shamelessly pandering to the pro-life base, seeking voters.
Carson has compared Democrats to Nazis, Obamacare to slavery and homosexuality to bestiality. He has denied climate change despite being an award-winning scientist, and he has called Obama a psychopath, despite being one that works with the brain and fully understands the medical definition of the word. Whereas some candidates are simply ignorant on the issues, Carson is a full-fledged liar who knows better but decides to spread propaganda to prey on the most radical conservatives of our country for votes.
The most recent comments about a Muslim president shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given Carson’s track record. Like most of the Republican candidates for president, he is an intolerant bigot masquerading as a man of God (and even more important…a man of Reagan!) possessing moral authority. Like Trump, Carson is immune to negative coverage from the media, as his base distrusts any journalism whose source doesn’t rhyme with “Sox Lose.” When a news outlet calls one of these guys out on their ridiculous comments, they can shrug it off as the liberal media trying to undermine reality.
Ben Carson is freaking crazy. Let’s not feed his campaign, please.