Steve's Blog

The Rise of Ben Carson

Donald Trump is getting the vast majority of the attention in the Republican presidential primary at the present time.  Some people say that’s because he says what a lot of people think, but are afraid to say.  Some say it’s his celebrity status as the host of a hit TV show, The Apprentice, which has given him an advantage over the other, less well known, candidates.  Some still say Republican voters are just having a summer fling with the Trump candidacy, and as the actual primaries and caucuses get closer, Mr. Trump will come back down to earth, and the other candidates will have a chance.  We’ll see.

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But there’s another candidate who has surprised the political establishment and the political commentators.  And that’s Dr. Ben Carson.  He’s in second place behind Donald Trump in most of the current polling, both nationally and in the key early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Carson in Washington a while back.  I’m a member of the Conservative Opportunity Society, founded by Newt Gingrich when he was a Member of Congress – way before he became Speaker.  Typically, there are about a dozen or so of us who meet weekly to strategize how we can move the agenda of the Congress, and the country, in a more conservative direction.  The members of the group are all Members of Congress, all Republicans, and all conservatives.  Steve King of Iowa has been our chairman for a number of years, and if you know anything about Congressman King, you know he’s one of our most outspoken leaders in the fight against illegal immigration in this country.

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Anyway, we have a guest speaker each week, and Ben Carson was our speaker recently.  He principally addressed the direction he’d like to take our country if he becomes president, and it’s certainly a much more conservative one.  He also discussed his strategy for winning, and it’s really pretty simple.  Be honest with people; tell them the truth.  (Sure contrasts with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary.)

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Dr. Carson also spoke at great length and detail about how we must repeal Obamacare, and what conservative, pro-healthcare policies with which we must replace it.  Obviously, being a prominent and respected neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, he has considerable knowledge and great credibility in this area.  Carson really had the liberals in a tizzy when he said that Obamacare was the worst thing this country has experienced since slavery.  Oh no, you can’t say that.  Well he did – and he was right!

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Dr. Carson has never held public office.  In some years, that might be a problem, but I don’t think this one.  After all, the three top candidates in many of the current polls, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, have never held public office (although Carly did run unsuccessfully for the Senate a few years back.)

In fact, Dr. Carson was unknown to the political scene at all until the National Prayer Breakfast back in 2013, when he had the courage to take on President Obama, who was at the dais next to him.  Talk about speaking truth to power!

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Dr. Carson is a soft-spoken guy.  You almost have to strain sometimes just to hear him.  (This was also said of Thomas Jefferson.)  He may well be the tortoise in this race – slow but steady.  And as more and more people have the opportunity to hear Dr. Carson’s message, and take the measure of the man, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he were the last man (or woman, Carly – I’m a big Carly fan too) standing.

Anyway, that’s the way I see it (this week.)  This race, on both sides, has had so many twists and turns, I may have a different view next week!   Let me know what you think.

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