How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ben Carson?

His chances of victory are minuscule, but he and other hard-right candidates will still be a headache for the G.O.P. in the 2016 primaries. Can mainstream Republicans stop him? Should they try?

Comments: 247

  1. By all accounts, Dr. Carson performed remarkable and admirable work at Johns Hopkins. The fact that he was a successful surgeon, however, should not distract people from his terribly offensive and ignorant political commentary. The GOP *should* be haunted by the political ghost of Herman Cain, one of the least respectable people to try for the presidency in decades, and it would do well simply to ignore Dr. Carson, no matter how often he shows up on cable news shows or even network news broadcasts. He is not a serious candidate; he doesn't understand how the government works. Dr. Carson is a compelling personality, but his ideas and policy proposals would prove profoundly destructive to the nation if he ever had the chance to put any of them into practice.

  2. Matt [email protected] Well said.... He is considered the antithesis of Pres. Obama, just as Herman Cain.
    Moreover both have allowed themselves to appear foolish and pedestrian, notwithstanding their personal careers. Neither are qualified and nothing but "shills" for the conservative environment....

  3. Dr. Carson is in fact a remarkable and admirable person as evidence by his career and track record at Johns Hopkins along with his accomplishments. The "political class" has NOT served this country well by any measure (national debt, foreign engagement fiascos, collusion with dishonest and manipulative reporting of news, etc. etc. etc.) The "political correctness" litmus test that the "political class" seems to always want to impose on outsiders is just a thinly vieled disguise for keeping power to themselves.

    Here is a better idea: let the American people decide! if the man says that (a) he is not for the redefinition of marriage (1 male + 1 female), or if the man says that (b) a simple proportional tax is most consistent with Christian values, or if the man says that (c) a government-sponsored and mandated-penalty-enforced healthcare system is one of the worst things policy-wise for our nation - - - granted all three may be considered by the "elite political classes" to be "politically incorrect" but rather than use the apparatus of the main-stream media and related sycophants to discredit a truly accomplished man, why not let the man speak and the America people decide for themselves?

  4. Matt I disagree, the founders set up this nation so the people could rule themselves precisely because they were not so removed from what it takes to live day to day. Those currently in career political positions that pay exorbitant amounts of your tax payer money have no idea what the middle class and poor must do to survive. It is the genius of the founders that wanted limits on terms in office precisely so that the common man had a grasp on the issues. For this reason Dr. Cason is perfect for the position.

  5. We had great respect for Carson during the last century. His efforts with the poor, educational opportunity, health care and others were great role models. We had great hopes for him to run for public office someday. This century, he seems opposed to those very efforts to help the poor and supports everything that is wrong about the Republican party. Our respect for him has declined to near zero. Perhaps he has retained his skill as a surgeon. As a politician and a person, not so much.

  6. Tom, I respect your opinions but that is the crux of the Democrat vs. Republican poverty debate isn't it? how to best help the Poor? Many approach the problem with the view that our safety nets should not become so generous that they disincentive individuals thereby creating hammocks. Wealth creators and job creators already pay half the taxes while poor pay nothing, we all drive on the roads benefit from government services, all should pay. Dr. Carson has lived the life of self-discipline and perseverance. He is not corrupted by those who are already in politics and has demonstrated over and over his philanthropy to others less fortunate. Why don't you check out to further your education of the man that will be president, I am sure that if you read it straight from the source you will have a better grasp of the man and his positions.

  7. Have actually heard him speak in person and articulate his positions. That is the basis for our opinion.

  8. Joe, correction. That is the basis of our change in our opinion of him over the years.

  9. What about the fact that Carson has[had] prostate cancer? Does that not enter into the conversation about fitness?

  10. almost all men get it eventually and many forms are very slow to develop and you end up dying from other things.

  11. "Earlier this year he admitted to Buzzfeed that portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution." Yup, just another strident. self-absorbed, ego-driven conservative trying to impose his personal moral agenda upon everyone else while ignoring his own issues - like lying and plagiarism. By all means Ben, please stay the course ... it's the absolute best thing for the nation [sarcasm].

  12. I was also struck by the casual mention that Mr. Carson had recently admitted to plagiarism. Obviously being rich & successful makes destroys your morals and makes you dependent on others.

  13. Dr. Carson is a remarkable surgeon. His history of where he came from, and how he became so successful in his profession is a true American story. He reminds me of Herman Cain, a clown in a business suit. A course the right-wing will embrace him, he's another token, only more successful than Herman Cain.

  14. How ironic that a man who performed brilliant, life-enhancing surgery on the brains of children has committed himself to a political movement that is so unabashedly anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-equal opportunity, and so eagerly mean-spirited. One wonders who preformed surgery not only on Carson's ability to think, but on his soul as well.

  15. Don't forget the Republicans' assault on Head Start and school breakfast/lunch programs. They are also anti-children. It is very well known that proper nutrition is vital for proper brain development in the young and that many children in the lower economic strata depend on that one- or two-meal school program to get anything close to a balanced or healthy diet. Somewhat ironic given Dr. Carson is a pediatric neurosurgeon.

  16. There is no actual "irony" presented here. He is and always was far right wing with a heavy dose of religiosity.

  17. Because he disagrees with you?

    Maybe folks should ponder this...

    This guy is smart, successful, accomplished, etc... and he thinks this way...why?

    Before immediately going to, he thinks different than me, and that makes him wrong.

  18. This man is refreshing is he not? The finest in his chosen field. Came from nothing and rose to the top. Hard to imagine a better image of what personifies the "American dream". As an independent who follows politics rather closely, I find it laughable that some believe you have to be a career politician to serve the people. If you are happy with the professional liars in Congress then you should ignore this man. If you think its time for a legitimate man of the people then i would encourage you to get to know this man and his positions.

  19. A man who 'came from nothing' with the assistance of the government in terms of food stamps, who benefited from the public schools that gave him a foundation for later education, who almost certainly paid for that education with scholarships and grants, who may have gotten a hand up from affirmative action admission policies, who practiced at a medical center which receives many millions each year from the government, and who operated on children who were unable to care for themselves--this is the man who preaches slashing government funding for children, for medical care, for education. Just another right wing hypocrite who thinks that he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps with no assistance from anyone but his mother

  20. Being a great plumber doesn't make one a great electrician (for example).....and being a great neurosurgeon, similarly, has nothing whatsoever with the skills and temperament to be a good president. All you need to do is listen to Carson for about a minute or two to realize how utterly unsuitable he is to be President of a pluralistic nation. And "legitimate man of the people"? What the heck is that supposed to mean? The way you use the phrase "the people" is a perfect example of what's wrong with your side of the aisle. "The people" clearly refers to people who think like you.......and decidedly not to people who think like I do.

  21. Too bad he doesn't believe in science, or in following the Constitution of the United States. But aside from that, how absolutely refreshing!

  22. I don't understand why, just because you are a Christian, you have to swallow the right wing narrative hook, line and sinker. Obama wearing a turban? Please! I really liked Carson as a neurosurgeon, and am surprised at his far-right-wing views on just about everything. The Bible, to me, emphasizes social justice, and shows a special concern for the oppressed, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, all groups whom suffer under Republican orthodoxy.

  23. AMEN!

  24. This is depressing. As I have written elsewhere, I used Ben Carson's filmed story in my lab to demonstrate how brains, opportunity and social support (I do believe the Dr. Carson's mother must have received public funds for her hospitalized treatment of depression) as well the fact that he is a healthcare professional, flies in the face of his statements on domestic policy. The fact that an unwed mother from a well-to-family, that apparently did not support her, used public services to feed herself and unborn baby? If the film is correct, Dr. Carson ended up living in a mansion with an expensive room just for practicing his famed eye-hand coordination on his pool table. Excellence in medicine does not translate into understanding the complexities of domestic and foreign policy. Forget color. Barak Obama has shown pragmatism, intelligence and a disciplined mind as well as understanding the demands of understanding and responding to the needs of the disenfranchised or economically challenged among us. It is the journey that should inform us, Dr. Carson, not the destination.

  25. And a community organizer possesses these qualifications? Thanks for the morning guffaw.

  26. Randy L. - A community organizer helps people come together and find ways to improve their shared environment. I can think of few better qualifications for someone in public service.

  27. Are you for real? I guarantee this person has never once looked at his "statements on domestic policy". As for foreign policy, if you actually believe my dog could do any worse than the chaos that is the world today you are absolutely mentally unbalanced and a danger to society. How could anyone possibly do worse than O has done with foreign relations? We are nearly at war with Russia, ISIS is running wild throughout the middle east, we are still at war in Afghanistan, we've virtually destroyed relations with allies like Israel, Poland and Egypt, he's destroyed Libya and Syria. Did I leave anybody out? The horn of Africa anyone? Iranian nuclear power? Do you actually know anything that's going on in the world today?

  28. Dr Carson clearly has NO information about what "welfare" benefits are, or who can obtain them. Telling an unwed pregnant teen mother that she will be cut off of "welfare" in 5 years would be a great relief to those in NC, where "Work First" will give them only a tiny amount of assistance and a promise (usually not realized) of free childcare while they work at whatever distant and below minimum wage job they can locate, and those benefits last only for TWO years. The idea that teenage pregnancy is encouraged by endless, generous welfare benefits, and the myth of the "welfare queen" should have died with Bill Clinton's welfare reform efforts.

  29. When I was growing up in Texas in the 1960s the prevailing Republican myths were people on welfare driving Cadillacs, having air conditioners, and watching color TV.

  30. With the right-wingers ignorance really is bliss. As I continually say about the GOP and Tea-Party, "Why lets facts get in the way when you can just make up your own".

  31. Democrats prefer their candidates to fit the stereotype or mold. Look at where it gets them. Their candidate is chosen by the elites, a queen with questionable morals. Their field, empty.

    Republicans, on the other hand, allow many more types to enter the fray. It makes for a raucous campaign until the serious candidate emerge. It provides endless opportunities for the media to focus on mistakes, endless opportunities for "clown car" jabs.

    But the real beauty of this mayhem is that the people get to challenge the elites. Make all the fun you want of it, but that is representative government. Meanwhile, democrats are stuck with whoever is being driven in their elite's limo.

  32. How can you use the word SERIOUS when speaking of a Republican candidate?

  33. Welcome:

    How can you ask this question and be expected to be taken seriously?

    There is no greater blindness than of those who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the republican party. To dismiss half the population of the United States That's some serious denial.

  34. Republicans "allow" many more "types" to enter the fray? The truth is, the party has moved so far to the right in recent years that it provides a welcome home for candidates like Carson (and before him, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, etc.). It's really great that outsiders are involved in the GOP process, alright--until you listen to their bizarre, often toxic rhetoric.

    And if you believe that the Republican candidate for president hasn't already been anointed, look at the list of donors lined up behind Jeb Bush. It's all over but the shouting--during their endlessly entertaining debates.

  35. The thing is, some of us do not see Dr. Carson as a "problem," but rather as a "solution." Perhaps we need a non-career politician to get in there and get things done. Ben has been doing a remarkable job so far, and has been gaining steam for running, and I hope that he does run, because I think it's about time we had an average person in that seat. Someone who has come up through the ranks and knows what the average person must deal with on a daily basis. For instance, Ronald Reagan wasn't a career politician, though he did take up politics in his later years, and he did just fine. Personally, I see Ben as a real frontrunner and a breath of fresh air. He is learning a lot as he goes, and has no problem admitting when he makes mistakes (others could take a lesson in that). I think people need to give him a chance, and I also think he should call NM Governor Susana Martinez, and invite her to be his running mate. They would be a great team. As for him possibly being destructive to the nation - I personally don't see how he could be any worse than what we have in place now.

  36. The progressive response to any republican candidate reminds me of the "weed theory." The minute any new growth appears, the weed immediately chokes it off at the root.

    Dr. Carson has spoken eloquently about the black family. His praise for it has been unique. The way it had survived so much adversity, particularly slavery, and remained intact. That it could not survive liberalism and welfare has been particularly saddening to him.

    He would be a big champion of resurrecting the black family structure, just not of blindly throwing government money ("guilt money?") at it. It would be wonderful to see him in some capacity aiding black families.

  37. Neither Mr. Carson nor Mr. Reagan were "average persons." Mr. Carson is a very successful surgeon who has lived a privileged life for the past 30 odd years. Mr. Reagan was a highly-paid Hollywood actor and product spokesperson.

    They are the definition of elite.

  38. I always wonder how people believe that a non-career politician who knows nothing about the federal bureaucracy, the laws that establish our government and its institutions, who has never worked with a legislative body to get laws passed, and more, can walk into the White House and "get things done." I don't think that's realistic. In fact, it strikes me as fantastical.

  39. I think hiring a press secretary whose role is to make sure people don't know what you really believe, says it all. The powers that control the party want the ultra-conservative vote, but they don't want the baggage those candidates bring with them.

    Perhaps Dr. Carson thinks he can thread the needle; give a wink to the far right who know he agrees with them. Have a spokeswoman explain that he is a solid conservative (but not a crazy.) Doesn't seem likely, but it may be entertaining.

  40. Why is it that Liberals generally catalog anyone who does not agree with the leftist idealogical line of thought as "Crazy" - Particularly Conservatives, yet when it comes to a African American success story as Dr Ben Carson truly is they cannot see due to their own blindness the world as the majority of us see it. Most of us voting for Dr. Carson (If he were to run) and I for one would vote for him would be simply rationalized and written off by the left as guilt ridden bigots that finally have a reason to acknowledge a Black Man even exists. Please stop! For the love of God (If you believe in him) Stop drinking the Kool-Aide and living through your emotional rationalizations.

  41. David, it's not about emotions. Carson was a legitimate surgeon whose understanding and appreciation of science only revolves around his particular specialty. That is a sign of narcissism unheard of in the scientific community and that IS crazy!

  42. Dr. Carson is not capable of sitting as the POTUS. He is clearly a fine doctor, but POTUS? NO! FDR was not capable of removing an appendix either. Moreover, Carson is a tad full of himself, and more like Clarence Thomas with his smug attitude. Stick to the operating room, Doctor.

  43. Carson if elected would be business as usual in Washington, about as non-transformative as President Obama was, and as Hillary Clinton would be. He's just more of "here's the new boss the same as the old boss".

    His comment on prison homosexuality was offensive not so much for the free sexual choice aspect of homosexuality for the non-incarcerated, but that he sounded comfortable with prison rape, in the country that is by far the world's greatest jailer of its own people, a country that makes Russia and China look liberal when it comes to criminalizing its own citizens. One doubts men raped in prison by other men chose to be raped, and if our prison system does not protect heterosexual (or homosexual) men from this this male-on-male rape then this is a true crime against the rape victims' collective humanity, despite their being jailed.

  44. I think Newt has the right idea.

    The rules are all changing, the electorate is expanding, while at least some thanks to the internet, are starting to think for themselves. Those are the mega-thousands who can put their all into a Carson candidacy. It's really true what the doc says; his experience in the operating theater is a tremendous benefit as a precursor to the rigors of a Presidential administration. Carson has lived that life, walked that line. Most importantly; and you can take this one to the bank; Carson is a natural borne leader of men and women...what more does any President rely upon more? Ask Eisenhower; he was the last Non-Politico President we elected...two weeks after my birth. And Eisenhower is known today by Presidential historians as one of our greatest and most effective Presidents of all time.

  45. Painting Carson as hard right is stretching it.
    As for success, he's been more successful in a non political career than Obama could ever dream of being.
    Something about a presidential candidate that believes in our rights, our freedom of choice and free will, conservative fiscally, yet, quite aware of the needs of society, yet, knowing the difference between helping someone and becoming their caretaker.
    I think the left will do everything they can to bash the good Republican candidates in the hopes of pushing the candidate of the Republicans to people like Cruz and Bush, including writers for this newspaper.

  46. Sure unless you want the right to marry the person you love or the right to make your own medical decisions.

    Prior to entering political office, President Obama was doing work that he liked and was good at. Most people would consider that successful but of course Republicans measure everything by currency.

  47. I enjoyed doing some of the work I did and was good at it, also. Then I went and earned a degree and did work that required skill and thinking.
    Obama was good at the first part, but, none of it prepared him for the second part.
    It's easy to talk, hard to walk.

  48. Race and faith aside, the world needs more pediatric neurosurgeons and fewer politicians. It's time for Dr. Carson to start practicing medicine again.

  49. News flash; Carson does represent mainstream Republicans. Mainstream Republicans are for theocracy and plutocracy, they are also nativist, pro war, climate change deniers and are not really sure if there is enough physical evidence to support the theory of evolution. Perhaps Mr. Rutenberg did not view the debates among the Republican candidates in 2012, perhaps he didn't catch the 47 Senators who tried to block a nuclear arms agreement. Perhaps he hasn't paid attention to the legislation the House has voted for over and over on women's health and pay and immigration and so on. These are the leaders the Republican voters put in office by wide margins.

  50. I find it odd that you feel Republicans are supposed to do what the Democrats want.

  51. It would be a refreshing change if the Republicans did anything that a rational person would want - but that's not their base.

  52. The difference between the Ben Carson right wing of the Republican party and the so called "mainstream" wing is miniscule. They are both off the rails.

  53. I was trying to figure out what the point of these puff pieces of politicians are. In this case, there's nothing of substance in the Times article that a reader couldn't have gleaned for herself from other on line sources. The reporter's access is never used to pose a substantive question. I've decided the point is to sell the narrative that the Republican party is divided, that the insignificant stylistic differences represent policy differences. And also perhaps to sell the idea that political reporting is supposed to resemble sports reporting, to pretend that issues have no real consequence.

  54. The Ben Carson problem will be solved by GOP power brokers. Simple.

  55. Classic example of the old Peter Principle: he has "risen" to his level of incompetence. As a physician myself for over 4 decades and a fan of good and great doctors, I'm appalled that some of our lot have abandoned their good sense and compassion like this=--and there are a couple more out there in the public light just as embarassing.

  56. Couple of more?? See leadership of AMA and most Physician colleges and societies.

  57. Stop Ben Carson? Absolutely not. The more voters see how willfully ignorant, hateful, divisive, homophobic and bigoted the true face of the GOP is, the less likely they are to vote for 'em.

    My hope is the GOP field is nothing BUT a room full of chatty Ben Carsons who love nothing more than a spotlight and a mic.

  58. the republican party is the regressive party. their ideas live in the past and hurt our country when implemented.

    they deserve all the problems that befall them.

  59. He is a bigger problem for the Democrats because Ben Carson ruins their phony campaign narrative that all Republicans are racist and that the only way for African Americans to succeed is through even more big government social programs. Ben Carson helped other people, and himself, through good old-fashioned hard work and time commitment. Ben Carson knows that excuses don't help people succeed, great expectations do. We, as Republicans want African Americans to be not only successful, but wildly successful and And the only way to achieve that is to help people get good, high paying jobs, through a reduced tax burden and less stifling regulation.

  60. President Obama worked hard and paid for his own college education. I'm not sure how you missed that.

    There are a few token women and people of color in the Republican party leadership, Republicans are fine with that as long as those people are willing to trod on others.

  61. And the biggest government program of all is that most red-states take FAR more from the government than they pay in.
    Decade after decade Blue-States are forced to give charity to insolvent red-states who can't oay their own bills.
    This is the thing rightists red-staters hope Americans never figure out...that for all their pontificating about self suffiency and the evil Federal Government 80% of red-states are welfare states who wouldn't survive without the big bad Federal Government and Blue-State largess.

  62. This man prefers a theocracy over a democracy. He and the PR candidate scare me more than any foreign threat.

  63. There has been a full court press in effect to make the US a theocracy since the Congress legislated that it is "under God" in 1953.

  64. Not true Steve. Didn't happen until after Goldwater's defeat, a conservative republican who, by the way, despised the Religious Right and probably saw his career flatline because of those sentiments.

  65. And THAT'S the biggest problem with conservative republicans.
    They think the rules apply to everyone else but them.
    Reagan tried to destroy labor unions in spite of the fact he was not a labor union member he was president of a labor union twice.
    Dick Cheney was instrumental in launchung two wars that claimed thousands od American lives but when he was at risk of being sent to The Vietnam War, he sought and recieved five war deferments.
    Mitt Romney the last hawkish GOP candidate for the presidency had a similar record during the Vietnam era but instead of deferments Mr. Romney fled to France.
    Now we have Dr. Ben Carson who survived thanks to public assistance but hates it when others rely on it for their survival.
    I wonder sometimes if rightists have the capacity to recognize hypocrisy at all.

  66. And I wonder sometimes if Leftists have the capacity to understand that liberty and freedom are based on individual responsibility and not collectivism.

  67. People who believe that rules apply only to "little people" congregate in the Republican Party.

  68. Well, considering most red-states take far more from the Federal government than they pay in I wonder if red-state rightists like you know what individual responsibility actually means.

  69. Surgeons see life cut and dry and brain surgeons are to precise to run for office. He does speak what many republican believes in their heart . Have responsibility. It is up to you. Work hard and you shall be rewarded. Yada,yada,yada. Stuff happens. Corporations run away with the money. Sickness comes out of the blue. My efforts are an illusion to success. What he and they do not understand is that government can do good. Social security is good. Medicare and Medicaid is good. Fair wages are good. Moderate bonuses and salaries are good. This guy as most republicans live in la la land supported with la la money.

  70. Let the GOP nominate a tea party purist and get this out of their system. Carson is the perfect megaphone to spout the extreme right wing/Christianist/paranoid demagoguery the party has adopted over the last two decades. Nothing would be better for the GOP -- and certainly the nation -- than than to shine a bright spotlight on the toxicity of their policy prescriptions, and suffer a resounding defeat.

    Once the fever has broken, maybe Republicans will get serious again about governance and we can go back to having an actual two-party system.

    Once the nation has a chance to vote on -- and soundly reject -- this toxic approach to governance, even Republicans will begin to see how truly toxic it is, weed out the nuts, and get serious about governance again.

  71. Ignore Mr. Carson, he is a double talker.

  72. Three things that were said in the beginning of the article already turn me off to this man. "Slaves", "the Lord", and the fact that he punctuates his sentences with small laughs whose humor is not apparent. The former two items reveal an agenda and context to his considerations, showing a probable favoritism to religious ideology and to black people. The fact that he is either continuously so nervous or disingenuous that he constantly laughs all the time at nothing humorous is just as disturbing. I knew a man who did this once, and it was a diversion to turn another person's concerns away from the subject's seriousness, which is a disrespectful "slight-of-hand". Charles Rangel and his creepy continuous laughter-at-nothing is another perfect example of what kind of person exhibits such a defective, evasive anxiety. These are not leadership qualities. They are highly disturbing ones that should act as a loud warning.

  73. I don't think the GOP intends to try to "stop him." With the exception of the media coronation of Jeb Bush, most primary voters want all voices on the stage expressing the varied views of the candidates, each in their own intrinsic way. I don't think Dr. Carson should get the nomination, because he would be a philosopher president, and we need a hands on president after our current experience with a government that over promises and delivers....only promises. I would rather see Dr. Carson as surgeon general, or HHS Secretary, areas in which he has superior expertise. Obama should hire him right now!

  74. Sooo...what's the problem here?
    The "Don't Tread On Me" snake is now busy biting itself and will, hopefully, totally consume the GOP/TP/KOCH AFFILIATE since it seems the only viable opposition, the Democrats, are incapable of overcoming it.
    Let Dr. Carson have his run at the presidency. He seems to have the great Jehovah on his side along with some amount of cash, so why not?
    If his candidacy gives the Republicans problems, how do I contribute to it?
    In fact, I recommend everyone to give this fellow some money just to see how the GOP/TP/K.A. reacts to that kind of "mandate". It might actually make their "Convention" worthwhile viewing!
    Otherwise, why talk about him at all?

  75. He's a person, not a problem.

  76. Both major parties need to ignore the extremes of their party and strike a balance between idealism and reality.

  77. Liberals are marginalized, progressives sneered at, outright leftists are virtually extinct. Just about all that remains is the corporatist wannabe republican "centrist" wing. Most Democratic politicians today are what liberal republicans were 40 years ago. What extreme is there in the Democratic party?

  78. Just how is Ben Carson a problem?

    He represents what the GOP of today stands for: reaction, rhetoric and rabidity. This is no longer the party of Eisenhower or Reagan. Neither would stand a chance. I say the GOP should continue to show Americans that change.

    Let us not allow the GOP to go gentle into that good night. Let them rage, rage against the dying of their might.

  79. the united states of America is a scary place.

  80. Carson comes from that tiny political fragment -- right-wing GOP African Americans -- who share an inspiring personal narrative that somehow ended up corroding their world view and engendering a bitter vindictiveness towards government, education, culture and politics.

    They're like tiny outlier bodies floating in the firmament that defy explanation, specifically, where did they come from?

  81. Why do African American men who came from the era of Dr. Ben Carson and Justice Clarence Thomas, that became successful due to affirmative action, seemed to desire to close the door of opportunity behind them? They received so much from the American society, and now they believe that they don’t have any obligations to give back. Even Snoop Dog, 50 Cents, and Ice Cube all have a since of giving back to the community that sustained them, before they became successful.

    Why is it that Dr. Ben Carson is aiming such vitriol at homosexuals, non-evangelicals, the working class and women? What in his upbringing or his experience as a successful surgeon created this animosity?

  82. Like many a successful surgeon or other arrogant types, he thinks he did everything by himself, on his own, with no help from anyone else.

  83. For the same reason that anyone else treads on the less fortunate, they're greedy and insecure and they need to look down on others in order to feel good about themselves.

  84. He simply plays to his perceived audience. Its not integrity, it just another carnival barker.

  85. So much of politics is simply about ego, or what we now call narcissism. These puffed-up peacocks have a successful run at something, in this case the difficult art of pediatric neurosurgery, and the next thing you know, they believe the world needs to know their formula for a better world. Self-righteous political "problems" like Ben Carson solve themselves when mainstream people realize that, despite such people having a bit of wealth, a successful life, and a limited, talk-show sort of appeal, their wider views are the kind most people find offensive.

    Blow up Ben Carson into a successful, white Mormon businessman, and you have Mitt Romney, a man only as offensive as Carson when among wealthy campaign donors, who found out he believed 47% of Americans were freeloading losers.

    One thing I've gotten to trust is that Americans have good instincts about the parade of people who campaign for the Presidency. A man like John Edwards thought he could pull one over on voters, but we rejected him soundly in two different Presidential campaigns, and rightly so, as it turned out. We know few want the top job, and that our choices are limited, but we rarely pick creeps or extremists, with Richard Nixon as the lone, modern exception. The duress of the late 1960s caused that aberration.

  86. Nixon is hardly alone among public officials elected by voters who believe you're not serious about winning if you don't cheat.

  87. Bush was an extremist. A President who sacrificed US lives, our economy and generations of American's security, in order to enrich a corporation. Hence, inspiring this headline from the Brits when Bush was re-elected: "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?"

  88. @Steve Bolger in NYC: will you please think before you write another one of your hundreds and hundreds of sniper-fire comment inanities, please? To describe Nixon as an election "cheater" is like describing Mao as a humanist.

    @Stella somewhere in Minnesota: I disagree. Dick Cheney is war hawk extremist, more than a mere neo-conservative. W. Bush went along for the Cheney ride after 9/11. In fact, a lot of us did, including some well-known Democrats like Hillary Clinton. W. Bush is hardly in Richard Nixon's category of being a creep, although both will be in many historians' Bad Presidents lists.

  89. When Carson steps into an operating room, he knows exactly what to do; surrounded by professionals, computers, all the gadgets. Walking into the Presidency, he would be as bewildered as any politician would be walking into that operating room. So Ben would be at the mercy of his advisers and I suspect who they might be. Perhaps an even worse repeat of the Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearle disaster.

  90. Flat taxers are generally clueless about the law of diminution at the margin, which is as important in economics as the second law of thermodynamics is in physics.

  91. It will be fun watching the Left again prove its gross hypocrisy and demonstrate that not all opposition to African-American politicians is racist or due to racism (or is it?). What is the key difference between Ben Carson and Barack Obama? Not race. But it will be fun watching the pot call the kettle racist.

  92. Both of them evidently find it essential to invoke God to justify government.

  93. There are lots of differences. One of them is that President Obama believes in equal treatment for all Americans, not just some of them. President Obama thinks people should have affordable health care and a living wage. There are lots of differences. Thank you for asking.

  94. Yet your party is fighting for businesses to have the legal right to not serve the likes of Carson should he wish to have dinner with, say, a white woman.

    Time to stop cackling over delusions about "the Left" and start wondering why your own house tries so hard to shoot itself in the foot.

  95. "The incident, he says, fed his growing sense that the welfare system too often saps motivation and rewards irresponsible behavior."

    Ouch. Maybe Dr. Carson didn't get the memo. Welfare ended in 1996.

  96. So does wealth like that of Robert Durst, evidently.

  97. Apparently you missed the memo. We have record numbers who are on government dependence programs since Obama became president.

  98. Don't worry Tamar, if the GOP wins in 2016 they'll all be in the streets begging. Feel better?

  99. Here is the rare person who has legitimately earned an opportunity to lead.

    Among similar individuals, fewer yet are willing to enter the public arena, where they will be surrounded by earnest incompetents and narcissistic clowns.

    What a terrible waste that it has turned out this way.

  100. What do you expect from applying an idolatry test to qualify for public office?

  101. He's done nothing to earn the opportunity to lead. Sneering at people and advocating that we trod on the less fortunate does not make a good leader.

  102. What has this country come to? For this man to rise to prominence because he was seen as a hero when he was critical of President Obama's agenda at a prayer breakfast is more than discouraging. It seems the only qualification for running for president on the Republican side is embarrassing or haranguing or bad mouthing Obama. And, of course, once they are fawned over by the right, the uglier and sillier they get.

    Does Mr. Carson have a compelling life story? Certainly. Is he presidential material? Absolutely not!

  103. Only one candidate is mired in scandal, again. She's a Democrat, and their sole candidate. The country wonders, "Is this what the Democrats have come to? Again?"

  104. Charles - You really should read the news. Take a look at the skeletons in Jeb's closet for starters.

  105. Ben Carson. A "scientist" who has gone on record saying people "turn gay." Sure, that'll stand up to the scientific method. This guy can't disappear fast enough.

  106. So no one has ever chosen to be gay? I'd like to see the data set you have on that. The Dr's statement that men have gone into prison straight and come out gay is absolutely verifiable and undeniable. Just because your feelings might be hurt makes it no less true.

  107. Jeff--stats, or it didn't happen.

  108. Jeff - Go ahead and present the evidence that prison time makes people gay. Carson didn't present any evidence.

  109. People have given reasons for why they wouldn't vote for him, but no good reason why he shouldn't run if he wants to. Republicans should open up their party, I do not know how they will ever be able to represent the American people if all they have are white men at their table. There should be a way for a non professional politician to get views out on a national stage.

  110. There is. He can be a pundit on TV or radio. I wouldn't vote for him for a million reasons, but one big one would be that he has no political experience at all and I doubt he could be effective. Working in government effectively is not a job for amateurs.

  111. Immolation of the GOP. I love it. Reaping the radical right seeds they've sown.

  112. Yes, the poor GOP only has 32 Governors, 68 of 98 State legislative bodies, historic number of House seats, control of the Senate...
    And when we win the White House in 2016, the delusional liberals will still say they are winning....

  113. You only win by gerrymandered districts, voter suppression and lots and lots of uber radical right wing Koch brother money. Don't flatter yourselves.

  114. Since the Republican party has fully embraced utter lunacy, I question what a "mainstream" Republican would even be like.

    Though, Carson's support of right-wing nonsense like flat taxes, healthcare vouchers and savings accounts, and "moral decay" (a.k.a. hatred of GLBT Americans) is right on target.
    But how would he be able to use one of the biggest planks in the Republican Party- their "Southern Strategy"? I imagine it would be tough to secure the nomination of an overwhelmingly racist political party when you happen to share the ethnicity of the people they reflexively and erroneously blame for most of our nation's problems.

  115. Dominic--just look around you. You can already see what a "mainstream" Republican is. And, it's not Dwight Eisenhower, or even Barry Goldwater.

  116. Since the Republican party has fully embraced utter lunacy
    As have the American people, judging by the biggest GOP wins in November 2014 since... 1932. Along with many governorships, even Wisconsin. Democrats should become less sane, once their scandals subside and they can find some credible candidate(s).

  117. Electing a Black candidate, or coming close to it (even better), is a wonderful defense against accusations of racism by the self or others. Gets them off the hook. What racist? Who me?

  118. Run Ben, Run. Hey I think the VP spot would be ideal for him, it would give him start in politics. As we all know, Ben could out perform Joe. Run Ben, Run.

  119. Out perform Joe? I can just see Carson meeting with other heads-of-state and ranting about his religious beliefs. It may surprise you to know that people in other countries are very educated in science.

  120. Ben will not be running against Joe.

  121. How would Carson out perform Biden?

    I do hope he runs though. He'd be easy to beat.

  122. The likelihood that he will insert foot into mouth in front of press cameras is 100%.

    I think everyone within the political scene knows that and waiting that moment. Palin is a perfect example: no amount of PR could hide forever that she was a flake and then that was the end of it.

  123. I believe Dr Caron's comment about bestiality sealed that foot in mouth deal.

  124. I think you meant 'dope'.

  125. Except for all the books she later "wrote" and the reality shows she got tons of money for hosting and the speeches she gives all the time to wingnut crowds and gets standing O's for her incoherent word salads.

  126. The crazier the candidate the more love flows from the Republican base. In our gerrymandered electoral system -- at both the local, state and federal level -- the lunatics can become head of the asylum, viz., Scott Walker. Ben Carson should forge ahead so the Republican nominating process can be as entertaining as in 2012. I'm still hoping for a Palin-Bachmann ticket.

  127. I see a car now and then in my neighborhood with two bumper stickers: One is the "Don't Tread On Me" Gadsden flag; and the other is "Got Jesus?" which refers, of course, to The One who was trod upon -- indeed, far worse -- for our sins.

    This is the way conservatives think.

  128. Conservatives believe in "freedom" for themselves alone.

  129. I will be interested to see how this race shapes his values and his language, which up until now has been pretty alarming.
    "Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery", the United States is “very much like Nazi Germany”. I mean REALLY? That's the best analysis a trained professional in his field could provide? Utter nonsense.

    I am eagerly awaiting the conversation he, and all the republican candidates, have about climate change, evolution, and other topics concerning earth science and biology. Will this neuro-surgeon, whose education and professional field is grounded in the theory of evolution, deny the clear scientific evidence pointing to a changing climate? Will this trained doctor claim that life begins at conception? Does this man think the earth is 6000 years old?

  130. Kind of makes you wonder about the high esteem in which we hold all doctors, doesn't it?

  131. "homosexuality was clearly a choice, because a lot of people go in prison straight and “when they come out, they’re gay”; he later apologized.)"

    Why are we still talking about this person? Why doesn't this statement end the discussion? What is happening to my country?

  132. What a thoroughly reprehensible title to your Magazine article. The fact that his politics are cringe-worthy to liberals doesn't mean that he deserves to be demeaned. To whom exactly is Ben Carson a problem?

  133. To anyone he would tread on as he gains power.

  134. He's a problem for the GOP which would like the general public to believe when it's time for them to vote, that it has some appeal for others than the rabid right wing.

  135. I'd like to say a word in his behalf
    Ben Carson... makes... me...laugh
    I hate to have to say it
    But I very firmly feel
    Ben's not an asset to the GOP.

  136. I liked him so much more when he was humble, world class pediatric neurosurgeon.

  137. How long does a person have to save to be able to afford treatment for cancer?

  138. There's an easy way for the GOP to solve the 'problem' of Ben Carson. All they have to do is make him a Caucasian male, and he'll fit right in.

  139. Since the big moment in his political life was treating an unwed mother on welfare, what's his solution? Big announcement, "five years from now unwed mothers will be cut off," and then what? Hungry, homeless mothers and sick babies?

    There is nothing Christian about that, and it won't even save much money. All it will do is make poor people suffer while fundamentalists gloat, yet another example that they're holier than thou.

  140. You exaggerate but it's expected. Yes, Ben has a different view of what it means to be compassionate. Keeping someone permanently dependent on the welfare system is not a life. Ben believes in encouraging people to find their way in life. Self reliance, self-respect, picking yourself up. People need encouragement and incentive to do those things. If you just guarantee them a lifetime paycheck how to you expect a person to ever change their situation? Don't ever say it's because he's not compassionate. Exactly the opposite. He wants to help people find independence and a way out of the system just as he did. A true inspiration as you will soon see.

  141. Ben Carson is about as self-reliant as a newborn. He has had mountains of help getting to where he is. To say otherwise is to lie.

    Besides, Republicans hate to help the poor but then clamor to subsidize billion-dollar companies. They clamor for for-profit "wars," use the middle class and working poor to fund them, and then whine when said classes can't afford health insurance. They see to it that the middle class and working poor cover the tax breaks of the 1%, only to sneer and scorn single mothers who suddenly find themselves pink-slipped.

    And they all come from red states that steal more from the federal till than what they contribute.

    Self-reliance is the number one standard Republicans uphold for everyone but themselves.

    So typical it's become boring. Please, get a new line.

  142. Jeff - Ben and his family had the same kind of help that he now wants to deny to others. Is that your idea of compassionate?

    I've worked my way out of poverty thanks to a state funded job training program. I know what it takes to be successful and denying people a living wage and access to education and health care doesn't foster success.

  143. As a candidate, he's a joke. Republicans wouldn't give him the time of day if he weren't African-American.

  144. The 'self-assured' Dr. Carson vs. the 'self-assured' Gov. Christie in an ultimate campaign 15 round "bully-pulpit" last candidate standing debate is a pay-per-view I'd shell out for in a heartbeat. You'd have quotes from the both of them to dine out on for just years.

  145. In a party poisoned by cynics, Ben Carson is just another case of the flu.

  146. In much the same way that Paul Ryan benefitted from public assistance earlier in his life, Ben Carson too wants to shut the doors that were opened for him. For people who celebrate their Christianity how very un-christian.

  147. Ben is certainly not in the mold, of what we think of for the GOP? No Ben has definitely broken the mold. good for him.

  148. Maybe not the mold you get from your average (very average) mainsteam media, but those who us who actually don't believe everything we need and also read everything we can would disagree.

    Your comment just shows your ignorance about half the country.

  149. Seriously? He's ignorant, bigoted, mean spirited, hypocritical..... There's nothing new here.

  150. Yes, but four years ago I would have said the same of Herman Cain. I am concerned about his less-than-charitable unit-immigrant statements, but I am glad he is part of the conversation. I hope Dr. Carson does not implode as Mr. Cain did.

  151. Democrats should cross party lines and vote for him in the primaries. I can not think of a better way to defeat the eventual Republican nominee.

  152. I like that he's a doctor, just as former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is a doctor. We do have enough lawyers. As with Dean, that doesn't mean I'm going to vote for him. His comment about gays being gay by choice makes it extremely difficult to take him seriously. I know he apologized but still...

  153. I would not compare Dean with Carson. Yes, both are doctors, but there is a big difference between the type of physicians they were. Carson excelled in his profession. Dean was unable to succeed as a physician. It is like comparing Michael Jordan with Shamir Porkowitz. Jordan was an NBA great. Porkowitz is my neighbor who never scored when he played at the local Y. However, both played basketball. Porkowitz never was a Jordan. Dean never was a Carson.

  154. Un - Comparing medicine to sports? I would guess that you know very little of either topic.

    Among other things Dean helped start a program that provides medical care for children and pregnant women.

    If being successful means making a living at something you enjoy and are good at and that helps others than I'd call Dean very successful.

  155. dean was governor of a state tho. he had some practical experience. didn't just shoot his yap off....

  156. Dr. Carson's far out political views demonstrate that he will not be a major contender for the nomination. In this day and age, launching a presidential campaign has become more about laying the groundwork for a lucrative career as a television pundit, and collecting handsome speaking fees.

    Also, it goes without saying that a retired neurosurgeon, while brilliant, isn't necessarily qualified for managing the machinery of the Executive Branch.

  157. Only in an upside down Alice in Wonderland view of America is an adherence to the constitution considered "far out political views". Go to his page and read about his views. Do you hate America or what?

  158. Jeff - Since when does inserting religion into public policy qualify as adhering to the constitution?

  159. The MSM continues with this "truthiness" that there is a "mainstream" GOP and a Tea Party wing of the party, although the MSM now calls the Tea Party wing "reform conservatism."

    The so called Tea Party wing of the GOP is in full control of the party, having increased their numbers greatly in the 2014 midterms

    The so called Tea Party wing of the GOP has exposed a grave and gathering danger within the constitution that the founders most likely never imagined happening.

    As demonstrated by and with the use by both parties of the filibuster, the Tea Party wing is showing that the minority in governance, upper or lower chamber, has way too much power.

    And I don't think that is what the founders wanted.

  160. Dr. Carson is not a problem for the Republican party. He is more than welcome.

    His detractors come from the liberal media and the Democratic Party apparatus. Why? Because he breaks the stereotype of Republicans that they are all old white men. But just as US Supreme Justice Clarence found in his confirmation hearings, the vitriol came from Democrats in the most acrimonious grilling of any Supreme Court nominee ever.

    Democrats live in fear that they could lose their near lock on the African-American vote. They are in a delicate balancing act with blacks as they flood the country with unskilled illegal immigrants that are taking jobs away from blacks. They are often at odds with black inner-city ministers on social issues.

    Not only is Dr. Carson welcome in Republican circles, he is often a guest on right-leaning Fox News. Fox is not known for creating problems for the Republican Party.

  161. In other words, according to you, the problems the GOP has brought onto itself are the fault of the Democrats.

    How difficult it must be to demand personal responsibility from others while shirking your own.

  162. He's only welcome in the Republican party if he spews venom and bigotry and is willing to trod on the poor, elderly and disabled. You can have him.

  163. Fox cannot be known for creating problems for the Republican Party. Fox is the mouthpiece of the Republican Party: the de facto GOP state run media.

  164. The little respect I had for Dr. Carson was gone, after he remarked, that we needed to extinguish radical Islam, and then be in position to perform maintenance, when needed.

  165. Pre-straw debate? Wonderful term. Did this guy really operate on human brains? Probably. Does it qualify him for a president? No.

    Another primary season upon us, God help us.

  166. In his autobiography “Gifted Hands,” Ben Carson freely admits that his single mother relied on government assistance to survive and care for him and his brother. After receiving food, housing, medical care and reading glasses, courtesy of the taxpayer, Ben Carson seeks to destroy this lifeline for future generations.

    Moreover, like many republicans, he claims that his position is consistent with his professed faith - Christianity! Despite the fact that Jesus explicitly exhorts his followers to be charitable towards others in times of trouble (Matthew 25:34-40) Despite the fact that key biblical writers such as James state clearly that faith is without works is dead (James 2: 15-17)

    I find the daily mental gymnastics required to behave in this manner incomprehensible!

  167. Brother to Clarence Thomas.

  168. One way you "Solve a Problem Like Ben Carson" is don't give him a couple thousand words in the NYT magazine.

  169. Just like the Obama detractors liked to say something to the effect "we don't need a constitutional law professor to be president", I dare say that we don't need a brain surgeon to be president either!

  170. He is not a problem, because the GOP and their supporters have seen this mistake before, and will not get behind him. If anything, he is a distraction at this point.

  171. Carson is a disgrace to the University of Michigan Medical School. His lifelong claim to serve the poor doesn't quite ring true when he wants to destroy Obamacare. He should stick to Neurosurgery or retire.

  172. Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Schlafly, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, Anita Bryant and others gave birth to the movement that is mercilessly and hilariously dragging their once constructive and relevant political party to its doom. The upcoming GOP Clown Car Tour promises to be just as loony as its predecessors, and this Democrat/Progressive can hardly wait to witness it. Let the tour begin!

  173. A brain surgeon who believes his own superego is the voice of God in his head? Really?

  174. In playing to the lowest common denominator of their party, the GOP gets exactly what it deserves in Dr. Carson. They richly deserve each other, and I hope he stays in the race a good long while. Looking forward to another Democratic presidential win in 2016!

  175. He has a Reganesque insight while taking care of a run away mother/child survivng on welfare, a "wise choice"? Or was he capable of deeper thought? Was she abused at home, like many run away young women? Would he prefer she survive by selling herself on the street? The self rightous hypocrisy of right wingers astounds me. Another scary know it all. Ben, don't quit your day job.

  176. Ben Carson needs to remember who helped him when he was very poor so he could become what he is today.

  177. He doesn't want to remember. That's the problem.

  178. The Republican party today is like an engine with a busted manifold, leaking hot gas instead of turning the crankshaft. People like Carson are the leaks.

  179. How to solve the Ben Carson problem? Just let him talk. (Same solution for the party's Ted Cruz problem)

  180. That's also a solution for the GOP's Huckabee, Christie, Rubio, Perry, Walker, Paul... problem(s).

  181. Could we please use our vast technical knowledge to clone Thomas Jefferson? For all his flaws (and he would be the first to bemoan them) he was a deep thinker, wordsmith of integrity and put his Country before his personal life. He fought for a government that took care of the big things like international trade and eschewed a standing national militia and national banking system. I can't help but wonder where we would now be if Jefferson had prevailed in his arguments and Washington and Adams had said no to Alexander Hamilton's ideas. Jefferson used his personal faith to guide his ideas yet strove to keep overt religion out of his politics. Jefferson didn't always succeed in that, but our modern day candidates don't even try. They pander and cave to whatever gets them points.

    Time to take back the Republican Party from all the scamps. Or perhaps we need a new party...Jefferson Republicans. I'm just not sure where to even look for someone willing to run for office on those standards.

  182. Hey!! The guy's got a chance.

    Bibi won in Israel.

  183. Who said Bibi campaigning on the floor of OUR Congress wouldn't help him win?

  184. I have never met Mr. Carson but one can't help but wonder if the same ego that drove him in his medical career might now be driving him in his much more unstructured political career.

    Most great surgeons have at the very least have a god complex and are anything but humble. Unfortunately, the self governance required of a politician seems a hotbed for such unchecked growth.

  185. American fascism has a smile on its face and gives you a pat on the back.

  186. Dr Carson is admired for his accomplishments despite disadvantages. It is unfortunate he choose to put his politics above standing beside US' first black President as positive role model.

    Seems he fails to realize that despite political differences, white men bond gloriously together to achieve loftier goal(s).

  187. Carson can run if he chooses. Tea party members can run. Clinton and Bush can run. They can all run. While these people are in the spotlight, our household is checking out Martin O'Malley as a potential nominee. Progressive Democrat, in his fifties, innovative, environmental awareness, advocate for education, poor and middle class, interesting political credentials, stands well in political debates, sharp intellect.

  188. Once upon a time the Republicans stood for sound and legitimately debatable principles and policies. In the late 40's my father ran for Congress as a conservative Republican (in Brooklyn, thus knowing he would not win.) I have notes of his scrawled on a leaflet he carried to a debate he was involved in. The notes were to remind him to bring up that he was for civil rights, women's rights, and the U.N., and against the Smith Act (registering commies), as well as questioning some farm subsidies. This, of course, was back when you couldn't even get Democratic support for for civil or women's rights or clear opposition to the anti-communist witch hunts.

    Now, the lede to the article asks, "Can mainstream Republicans stop him?"

    The real question we should ask is, "Are there 'mainstream' Republicans and, if so, what are they?" It seems the Republicans have become a party of NO, their core consistency essentially limited to opposition to whatever the President advocates. It is only on the fringes that they have specific policies that do not simply reduce to anti-this-or-that. Though I find most of those policies objectionable either from a practical or values point of view, nonetheless we should recognize that is where the no-business-as-usual action on the Right lies.

    As a result of 40's - 60's history and contemporary reality in which Republican leaders vie for the title role in any remake of Dr. No, I can't help but question even the existence of a Republican mainstream.

  189. The GOP needs people like Carson, Trump, Fiorina, and Cruz. It's like a colosseum of of rock throwing clowns-sharks. It's refreshing to see them all down in the arena, reality TV style, circling each other, waiting for blood. Let the games begin!

  190. At least Dr. Carson has done something honorable with his life. Carly, The Donald and Cruz are nothing more that useless clown taking up space in the Clown- mobile. Bottom line/non will ever, ever be president.

  191. An opportunist if there ever was one. "A Face in the Crowd" and "Elmer Gantry" are distinct applications here.

    What's downright chilling is that as a doctor, Carson knows the necessity of evidence vis-a-vis the rigor of data collection and analysis, yet he publicly declares homosexuality to be the result of a choice without citing anything other than a sly reference to same-sex relationships that can occur in prison. He chooses to be an opportunist when his education and training dictate otherwise.

    Even some conservatives privately must wince at the utter farce that is Ben Carson.

  192. Agree: I can't wait for the poetical justice when the "Republican Establishment" begins to turn their backs- what will Carson do then: accuse them of racism?

  193. Finally...a candidate who represents mainstream american values

  194. Really? Bigotry and disdain for those less fortunate are mainstream American values? Speak for yourself.

  195. One of the downsides of massive and constant media is that it needs material to fill the 24/7 demand for "news", making it possible for people who have no clue how to run a government or lead a nation to get taken seriously by the New York Times.

  196. If you think these unqualified folks are taken seriously at the NY Times, you haven't seen Fox News.

  197. I see this man's face all the time on supposedly left-leaning, activist websites. He has the gravitas of Don Rickles. He and the other Republican candidates who have no chance of winning, and who make statements that undermine civil, productive discourse, are a diversion. "Look at that madman over there!" cries the pickpocket.

  198. The GOP needs to upgrade their Clown Car to a very large bus..

  199. Time tends to solve most problems in life, so the G.O.P. need not worry about the margins, i.e. a Carson (especially when placing his foot in his mouth: Homosexualism is a choice!???), a Cruz (full of spite and arrogance, killers for any likability,...except for the ultra-right wing of his party), Paul (a libertarian lost in trying to appeal to other than the Tea Party). Ideology trying to accommodate reality to its whims doesn't work, facts tend to triumph even over the most fantastic fictions out of thin air.

  200. Dr. Carson and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas are both ultimate hypocrites.

    They both took advantage of government assistance and Affirmative Action and somehow instead of being grateful and trying to help others succeed they are hating on people who are today what they were yesterday.

    Shame on them.

  201. They also belong to the "I got mine, the hell with the rest of you" club.

  202. The article never answers the questions posed in the title... Why is he a headache to the GOP? Why should the GOP try to stop him? I don't believe the GOP is worried about Ben Carson because they already know that they will not nominate a black man as their frontrunner in a Presidential election. This was a great article to understand Ben Carson's motivation for running for the GOP nomination, but it missed the boat on showing how he is a threat to the mainstream GOP.

  203. “This is coming from within the house. This is family.” Family? I do not believe the people who applaud him the loudest will ever consider him to be family.

  204. Share your thoughts?

    Here's one: Perhaps the tickets in 2016 will end up as follows:

    Rubio-Carson vs Clinton-Schumer

    Imagine what this matchup would do not only to the electorate but to the two parties. (Just some shared food for thought...)

  205. Dr. Carson comes across as an intelligent, committed ideologue. His story about his mother is inspiring, even it runs counter to the current narrative about single parent families.

    But his experience in government is non-existent. And his ideas, like HSA accounts, don't show much understanding of why HSA accounts have only worked for the wealthy.

    Of course he should pursue his candidacy. He, and we, may learn something.

    PS. Did he save all of his emails?

  206. Hmm, a far-right Republican surgeon from a poor background running for president. Three questions: under your social safety plan, could your single mother have raised her family? Newspaper organizations can do the math: it is pretty easy. Second, as a physician, how do you justify your profession, and it's notoriously plush salaries, being represented by the country's most successful union (the AMA)? Given how much you have benefited from this union, how do you feel about unions in general? Third, as a physician, could you please enumerate federal financial support you received through school, as well as federal and state subsidies (i.e. capitation grants) for each medical student? Such usually cost more than the student actually pays. How does that fit into your narrative of small government and up-by-your-bottstraps?

    The guy gets obliterated from both the right and the center. No chance of election. None.

  207. His function is not to win; it's to deflect guilt.

  208. Yes, just say whatever comes to your mind with no facts or information to back it up. The man has been drafted by the people! There is a legitimate groundswell of support that literally forced him to change his retirement plans. Do a little research. People are clamoring for someone that has not been infected with the stench of corruption and someone that actually loves what America stands for. You clearly are not one of those people.

  209. So your opinion is that republicans are racists and that Ben Carson is a vehicle for them to deflect guilt. So you feel that racists suffer from guilt for being racists? I believe that this is faulty reasoning. Perhaps reasoning powered by guilt being hidden by moral superiority.

  210. To assume that Dr. Carson should behave differently, be more humble and thankful because he's black, misses the point. This is what assimilation looks like. Isn't that what America wants? For black people, all minorities, to assimilate. He's no different than Bobby Jindal (whether he uses skin-lightening cream, like Jindal, is still up for discussion). Carson believes in the American narrative: Work hard. Pretend you got ahead on your own. And then cast disdain at the ranks you left behind for lacking morals, values, and work ethic. Dr. Carson personifies America, including the bigotry, narrow-mindedness, selfishness, and meanness that goes along with it.

  211. The "Ben Persona" reminds me [painfully] of the comedy skit of a Black man born blind who learns to hate Black people to the point of joining the KKK and becoming its leader. After rallying the troops they demand to actually see the face of their beloved; when he removes his hood things turn real ugly

  212. Carson's handlers have their hands full. For an educated man, he has little control over what comes out of his mouth. He will solve the Carson problem by himself.

  213. While Dr Carson has absolutely no chance of ever being elected, he serves as a useful tool for the GOP in that they can say with an all most straight face that they support minorities.

  214. Carson absorbs the racists' guilt.

  215. The primary purpose of promoting Ben Carson in the Republican Party is to convince white people that the Republican Party isn't racist. His predecessors in that role include Herman Cain and Alan Keyes.

    That's not to diminish Dr Carson's accomplishments, but he really should have stuck to what he was truly great at, namely surgery.

    Fantastic success in one field of endeavor does not mean that you are suddenly qualified to be in charge of something completely different. That kind of thinking leaves a master of all things related to Arabian horses in charge of emergency management.

  216. The fact that Carson wrote a book (do these people actually write anything?) which is made up of other people's material, perfectly describes him. He is repeating in more strident terms what others have said. He is a repeater, someone without own ideas. By all means, let us praise anyone who achieves success, but let us remember that being good in medicine, business or being tough with your opponents is not a guarantee of being a successful leader. And let us remember that good leadership is tied to the circumstances. Churchill spurring England during the dark days of the war was a great war leader but a bad leader in time of peace. So let Ben Carson continue to accumulate money and let him go on the circuit preaching to his choir. But when the time comes in which he has to explain what he means by paring down help to the poor, we will see whether he has anything to offer.
    From this long article, I see only a political moth ready to be burned in the heat of the campaign.

  217. What "mainstream" Republicans? Every single candidate or potential candidate is hard right to extreme right, but too many beltway media pundits refuse to acknowledge this for fear of party backlash.

  218. Dr. Carson seems to be in conflict with himself; In conflict with the reality of his beginning circumstances that pushed him to where he is now and the desire to erase his life story out of shame. As if being born in poverty never happened. -As if being born poor was his own fault that he is constantly trying to erase from his life's narrative. He could embrace his true story and be a proud example to so many others of the possibilities that life can truly offer to those who seek help as his mother did for him.

  219. You explain very well how excoriating the poor can be a psychological defense.

  220. Are you just making this up as you go? The man has written several books about his life and upbringing. He absolutely embraces his life story. Have you read "Gifted Hands" his newly released life story? You are being dishonest because you disagree with him. Sad you are...

  221. @Jeff: You DID notice that the article mentions that "portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution," that he *admitted* to Buzzfeed? Not "Gifted Hands," but his current entry, "America the Beautiful," co-written with his wife.
    Look, he's a brilliant surgeon, but this is emblematic that expertise in one arena has no predictive value in indicating skill in another. And had he plagiarized in scientific journals, there would have been real consequences in his professional life. Plagiarism in a political tract? Maybe not so much. But it does say a lot about his integrity.

  222. It's interesting that he doesn't seem to care why the young, pregnant woman ran away from her well-to-do home. It's enough for him that he disapproved of her decision. It's also interesting that he would deny to others the very services his mother depended on when raising him.
    Given his religious leanings, he might ask himself what Jesus would do. Or is that not the answer he wants.

  223. Like Maria in the Sound of Music, you solve the Carson problem by getting him out of the convent. Permanently.

    However, a better use of him is probably for him to continue in the political & public eye by enlightening us about what ideas are totally wrong. We need that.

  224. I'm always amazed at people who benefitted from our social safety net as children, only to adopt an "I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and you should too" ethos as adults (Paul Ryan is another one that comest to mind). No doubt Carson worked hard and was extremely talented, but he also had government help along the way.

  225. You shouldn't be amazed. Some of the people you are talking about are deeply ashamed of their impoverished backgrounds and will do anything to distance themselves from it. Excoriating the poor is a psychological defense.

  226. WRONG actually his mother declined welfare because she knew it was a TRAP and he worked his way through college.

  227. G - Carson's mother was on food stamps.

  228. "A Problem" ??? Are you kidding me? He's an example of what someone from poor circumstances with drive, determination and intelligence can accomplish. He is everything the left-wing mindset can't abide.

  229. People on the left voted for President Obama, a man who worked hard and paid for his own education and became successful. The difference between the two men is that President Obama doesn't believe in stepping on people on the way up and then denigrating them.

  230. "A Problem" for rational thinkers, but not for you.

  231. What was President Obama successful in before entering politics? Please explain.

  232. The weakness with our presidential selection process is that we don’t choose the greater operational network behind the candidate. A president is picked as a spokesperson—just as a corporation like Verizon picked an actor like Paul Marcarelli to become the public face of the company as its “Test Man”.

    The casting agency that selected Mr. Marcarelli did not control Verizon’s business practices or help with its technical innovation. We, the voters, have been reduced to the level of the members of a casting agency. We get to select a pretty face that we hope will do a good job of selling the brand of our corporation, the USA.

    The difference is that our pretty face puts his/her spin on the practices of our nation and has input as a strategic “designer”—so our military operations get diplomatic window dressing under a Democratic president and “true grit” window dressing under a Republican president.

    But the major goals of the American political enterprise (such as full spectrum dominance of the globe and opening all nations up to private Western enterprise) are completely out of our control. The main American “product” of global expansion remains the same regardless of who we select as spokesperson.

    Our big tragedy is that, unlike Verizon, our corporation USA takes direction from its pretty face during times of crisis. If Verizon did that, allowing spokespeople like Mr. Marcarelli to guide major strategic decisions, how long do you think it would stay in business?

  233. God bless his surgical talent. God bless the little lives he has saved. I am sure he is a fine man - so was my late father/a great CPA and successful contractor. Presidential material = no, and neither is Ben Carson. The End.

  234. Michelle Bachmann was a flame thrower candidate that so many people thought had a chance to be a serious contender. She won the Iowa Straw Poll and then slowly self-immolated. Dr. Carson, with less experience campaigning than anyone else in the field, is destined for the same end. These things take discipline, staff and money. Newt, really quoting Newt?, is a great example of what happens if you lack discipline and staff. Santorum lacked money. Outsiders either have to have a Rand Paul like following or some other intangible. People forget, Sen. Obama had a tremendous staff and the resources to run for president.
    One last thing - Laura Ingram is tough minded? How about, she's very good in a talk show setting. She may be smarter than Hannity but then so is my dog.

  235. It is important to note that Obama also had the backing of the Kennedys.

  236. "(When we spoke, he suggested that the government should cut off assistance to would-be unwed mothers, but only after warning them that it would do so within a certain amount of time, say five years. “I bet you’d see a dramatic decrease in unwed motherhood.”)"

    I guess if you can convince yourself that people can become gay in prison (and how does he justify saying that this proves homosexuality is a choice???) - you can convince yourself that a teenaged girl in the back of her boyfriend's parent's min-van will decide not to have sex because in 5-years and 9-months the gov't will cut-off assistance.

  237. Ben Carson is a comedy act, right? Like Clobert? That the Republicans actually take him seriously is the punch line.

  238. If anyone read the article in the NYT today about the proposed Republican Federal Budget, the GOP obviously doesn't have a problem with hard right wingers. If voters continue to embrace them they will suffer the consequences of their own folly.

  239. If one views the modern GOP as a Shakepearean tragedy, one must recall the use of "comic relief" used to very briefly ease the pain of the story. We may view the good doctor as providing that welcome relief.

    Falco. Not amused, actually

  240. this article just left me more baffled than ever as to why a man who is obviously brilliant and has a beautiful, compassionate side to his nature wants to lead with stupid and ugly remarks, and why deeply religious people are so hungry for hate. carson clearly has a lot to give - why isn't he?

  241. Perhaps you look at the world with a twisted perspective? Have you considered that? Can you even imagine any man holding these values legitimately? Well, literally millions of us do. We are not bigots and racists.

    I think the problem is how many of us are closed minded and can only envision the events as we see them. Our lack to get inside someones skin is hurting our ability to ALL GET ALONG.

  242. Because, as Pam Grier in the movie "Bones" so aptly noted, some holes can't be filled--and some hungers can't be satisfied. This is a trap many successful people fall into--they think succeeding in life automatically qualifies them to control everyone else's.

  243. The GOP is vibrant and dynamic. The Democrats are stagnant and dull. Except for Elizabeth Warren the Democrats have sold out to Wall Street and corporate interests which they try to mask with various social programs. Every word out of their mouths is a calculated lie. With the Republicans you at least know what you're getting.

  244. Yes, we do know what we're getting with the Republicans - and we don't want any of it.

  245. I don't agree with Dr. Carson's politics and certainly would not be voting for him.

    However, I do admire and respect the man and what he has accomplished in his professional life. I, myself, am a person of color in medicine and also worked my way up from humble beginnings to considerable success. I have, in fact, met him once and found him engaging and sociable. He had an influence on my own career.

    I wish he'd get back to his important work influencing African-Americans (or any American, for that matter, his story is that strong) that overcoming humble beginnings is still possible (no matter how difficult the Republicans make it).....rather than mulling about in national level politics and reducing his popularity with the 1/2 of the U.S. population that is not politically conservative.

  246. He's not exactly a poster boy..."the United States is like Nazi Germany...equating same-sex marriage to bestiality...the ACA to slavery. The kindest thing you can say about his politics is that it is reactionary. Please select another role model. There are plenty of accomplished black individuals out there who have overcome humble beginnings. This man is insane.

  247. Kudos to you for working hard and being successful. I wish you a long and happy life.

    If Carson wants to tout his success then he also needs to offer thanks for the people and programs who helped him achieve that success.

    I worked my way out of poverty with the help of a state funded job training program and child care provided by my parents. When people marvel at how successful I've become, I make sure that I always give credit where credit is due.