Presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson finds the voters fickle. As they say in the theater, “His star is fading.”
After enjoying a top-notch rating since appearing on the political scene, the neurosurgeon seems fated to the dustbin of political history. Carson sinks faster than a leaky wooden boat. What happened to this Trump challenger?
His smiley face, recently the poster child of a more tolerant Republican Party, has been relegated to page 99. The Republican leadership, eager to shake its “Anglo-whites only” image, quickly promoted Carson to the top of the presidential list – briefly.
For the moment, the “mouth with the do” rules – Donald Trump.
Button-down Ben may have lost his mojo. Why?
Dr. Ben Carson is soft spoken, avoids smearing opponents, speaks deliberately to the point of a yawn and has the superior intelligence only a brain surgeon could have. What’s missing?
What’s become increasingly clear is that once he is past conservative talking points, he is clueless. He has no in-depth grasp of complex issues. He throws a lot of religion out to the audience that sets well with the Tea Party types, but it’s not enough to capture the whole party. He won’t top 35 percent of the vote in the general election and the Republican leadership knows it.
Dr. Carson is not stupid. In fact, he is brilliant but suffers from a myopic vision that comes from focusing on the New England Journal of Medicine and other surgical periodicals. He properly sacrificed worldly knowledge for surgical skills.
Most doctors have this problem, that’s why so few grasp political issues. Primary care doctors, maybe, but rarely sophisticated specialists. Someone like Carson has to rely on advisers to respond to questions. On camera, he comes across as slow and devoid of ideas.
Beyond the Republican positions of debunking global warming, defeating our enemies, advocating a flat tax, supporting Israel and opposing abortion, Carson offers nothing more than his profound religious beliefs.
That’s a worrisome quality; the separation of church and state go back to Thomas Jefferson and are implied in the First Amendment.
On national security, foreign policy and monetary concerns, Carson is viewed as a lightweight. Although the public is anxious to end politics as usual, competency is required.
Carson offers little on the vital issues of jobs, Social Security, military spending, poverty, and protecting health care.
Religion alone cannot carry him to victory and painting him as inept has been very effective on the Democratic side as well as by his Republican opponents.
The recent shakeup in Carson’s campaign may not help. His new chairman, Army Major General Robert Dees, serves as Vice-President at Jerry Falwell’s Christian Evangelical Liberty University. He is known to be anti-gay and committed to building a more Christian America. Dees sees himself as a private in the Army of the Lord and expresses a goal to “indoctrinate” the American public into evangelical Christianity.
Dees may endear Carson to fundamentalist Christians but he will not help Carson in the polls.
Presidential aspirant Ben Carson is a good man. He runs a clean campaign and should set the example for candidate behavior when running for public office. He is a religious man and a brilliant surgeon.
Sadly, he doesn’t have the background and experience that would make him an effective president. As Commander-in-Chief he would be at the mercy of his advisers, much the same as George W. Bush.
Dr. Marc J. Yacht, MD, MPH is a retired physician. This column is courtesy of Context Florida.