Today Dr. Ben Carson set the media alight with subtle hints at a possible presidential run after his retirement as a neurosurgeon. There is no doubt that Dr. Carson's biography is an inspirational one. While he may be the answer to revitalizing the conservative movement, he's still using the same tired rhetoric that lost conservatives the last election.
Dr. Carson became the darling of conservatives everywhere when he chastised some of the president's policies while speaking to members of the National Prayer Breakfast last month. He did so with the president only sitting a few seats away. Carson is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, but as the keynote speaker at that breakfast, he spent most of his time speaking out against political correctness regarding the nations debt and healthcare law. Carson’s speech did upset some conservatives who considered the speech inappropriate for the setting. The National Prayer Breakfast has been a non-partisan event for the past 61 years.
During Carson’s speech at CPAC today he made several veiled reference to running for political office, and one not so veiled reference: "Say you magically put me in the White House." The statement brought the packed room to its feet. His 22-minute long speech focused on what he called "logic" and "common sense." He spoke openly of fighting against the so-called “War on God”, and alluded to President Obama’s desire to ruin the country.
"Let’s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation. I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now."
Are we not yet above the notion that even if we may disagree with someone we can probably rest assured that they don’t want to destroy the country? Oh, we aren’t. I’ll continue then.
During his National Prayer Breakfast speech, Carson said that Americans were becoming too sensitive and too politically correct. He wondered aloud if people that have political disagreements could even have a discussion anymore. That position appeared to contrast with his position taken today at CPAC, where he chided those who disagreed with his positions as being engaged in class warfare and hell-bent on the destruction of America.
Carson has presented us with quite the dilemma. You can neither discuss your possible solutions for the problems that face the country, nor can you remain silent. If you discuss them, you are engaging in divisiveness. If you say nothing, you are ignoring the problems and are responsible for the wasting away of this country. Actually, it’s fine if you discuss them, as long as you happen to agree with Carson’s positions.
Carson thinks the Affordable Care Act should be defunded or changed. He believes that the poor in America don’t have anything to worry about because the rich have always been philanthropic. People won’t go hungry on the streets, the rich will take care of them. In order to have the country we must cut social programs and healthcare, but Carson’s logic doesn’t extend to military spending.
What immobilizes political discourse is not debate about how best to address the national debt or the belief that two people who love one another should be allowed to married. The most destructive force in politics is rhetoric that denounces the person you happen to disagree with ideologically as someone determined to destroy the country.