The Ben Carson crazy

Sure, in one sense it might seem rather pointless to catalog the breathtaking levels of inanity and craziness that seem to chracterize Ben Carson’s thinking about everything outside of neurosurgery, but this is the man more Republicans want to be president than anybody else at this moment.  Now that’s scary.  The Post’s James Downie on the crazy:

The political press is chortling at BuzzFeed’s story that Ben Carson believes Egypt’s pyramids were built for grain storage, not as burial chambers. “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” he said in a 1998 commencement speech, referring to Genesis 41, which tells of Joseph storing Egypt’s grain during the “years of plenty” for the coming famine. Carson confirmed to CBS yesterday that he still believes this, but I’m not sure why this is such a big story. Before Wednesday, we knew that Ben Carson takes the Bible literally. After Wednesday, we knew the exact same thing. Frankly, I don’t care whether the president believes the pyramids were built by Joseph, aliens or the Egyptians themselves levitating the stones into place. What matters are the ideas — and that’s where the focus should be with Carson, since it’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about.

In the same week, Carson also said that Medicare and Medicaid fraud is “huge — half a trillion dollars.” If true, that would be almost 50 percent of our total spending on the two programs. The real number is somewhere between 3 and 10 percent — still a problem, but handing the program to a Carson White House would be like handing the drug war over to someone who believes half the United States is hooked on heroin. In the same Miami Herald interview, Carson was completely stumped by basic questions on U.S.-Cuba policy, before having no qualms about holding forth on the president’s Cuba policy.

And on Wednesday night on Facebook, Carson defended his lack of experience by claiming, “Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” That is utterly false…

As more and more debates have passed this fall, several commentators havesuggested moderators should retire more confrontational questions (such as “Is this a comic book campaign?” or “another candidate said something bad about you last week; please respond”) and ask more basic things like, “Should the Federal Reserve raise interest rates?” Carson’s lack of knowledge backs up this strategy: If you ask him a more confrontational question, he can just brush it off as an attack by the lamestream media. But give him a wide berth, and he’ll expose his own ignorance. Carson’s words clearly show he will trip up all by himself.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to The Ben Carson crazy

  1. r. jenrette says:

    Surely some candidate is researching Ben Carson’s actual records of his surgical performance.. It’s hard to believe that he is that good a neurosurgeon if he is that uninformed about most other things.
    Does he have early stage thinking problems? Or is he truly an idiot savant? Or is he just aiming at becoming financially successful? According to reporting I have seen, he spends a much higher percent of his donated money to generate even more donations.
    This is a pattern we have seen with other right wingers who exploit every story of the day as a fund raising opportunity with hints that their personal benefits are growing as well as their campaign funds.

    • Jon K says:

      he was an excellent surgeon. nobody can dispute that. he’s just made a career since that time being a hard right conservative activist. that’s a lucrative enterprise if you are good at it, and he is good at it. he’s also 7th day adventist – and while I try to honor and respect all genuine religious faith that one believes some things that are outside orthodox christianity – and that influences a lot of the crazy stuff he says (eg evolution is from satan, the pyramids were built by hebrews to store grain etc).

  2. r. jenrette says:

    Well, robots are performing advanced surgery these days but can one govern politically? Or teach a class in the humanities or social sciences?

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