Sunday, March 22, 2015

Are you ready for Dr. Ben?




The big problem we face today is the media time spent on conservative ideologues like Ben Carson, who rose to political prominence largely for ripping President Obama at a National Prayer Breakfast in 2013.  Here is the New York Times devoting a huge chunk of copy to the guy, telling us little we hadn't heard a hundred times before.  The only part that was interesting was the intro in which the reporter had access to Carson interviewing a potential campaign press secretary, Deana Bass.

One can forgive Jon Stewart for going after these conservative ideologues because they provide great comic material, but do we really need to take them seriously, as the NY Times apparently does?  It takes a special effort to read the long article, as it does anything about the Republican wannabes in 2016, because it is hard to imagine any of them as president, including Jeb Bush.  Would the Republicans actually nominate a third Bush?  Sadly, when you look at the alternatives that seems like an all too real possibility.

The Republican National Committee is looking like a bunch of RINO's these days, as it tries to clean up the mess it created in 2010 when it opened up the primary process to allow political neophytes an opportunity to compete with the establishment candidates.  As it turned out, no one wanted Romney, but the Republican electorate was too split to offer a serious challenger, so we were treated to a veritable "clown car" of possibilities ranging from Michelle Bachmann to Rick Santorum with a disgruntled Newt Gringich throw in the boot, who for one brief shining moment appeared to have Mitt Romney on the ropes after trouncing him in the South Carolina primary.  The RNC desperately wants a big name to compete against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who everyone seems to think will get the nomination by acclimation.

I guess Jim Rutenberg, who followed the famed pediatric neurosurgeon for one day, decided to ask, Why not Ben Carson?  Only to answer his own question in the negative.  Dr. Ben, like Rick Perry and Herman Cain and countless others before, has that nasty habit of sticking his foot in his mouth at every turn, which is why he needs a press secretary like Deana Bass to deal with the media backlash when he "misspeaks," as he did on homosexuality being a lifestyle choice, or more recently his ignorance of NATO.

The news media seems to love guys like Dr. Ben,  in part because they come with a "built-in" audience that they hope to reach.  However, does the New York Times actually think it can reach religious fundamentalists, who provide the base of support for Carson, a fervid Seventh Day Adventist?

If anything, an article like this helps legitimize Ben Carson, who has no business running for President in the first place.  Not only has he demonstrated an incredibly weak grasp of domestic and foreign policy, but has shown the same kind of xenophobia that would normally push persons like him to the fringe of politics, not the mainstream.  He dated back ISIS to the time of Jacob and Esau, His analogy probably came from the final season of Lost, which was quite popular among religious fundamentalists, rather than the Old Testament, which he misspoke.

I suppose to some Dr. Ben Carson comes across as the "real deal."  Even Kid Rock is singing his praises, after his long spiel on introducing "cheap seats" at his concerts, his love for Mitt Romney and palling around with Sean Penn in a jolly conversation with Megyn Kelly.  Yep, it looks like we are in for another Republican primary season that resembles a reality show more so than a presidential nominating process, a kind of "celebrity apprentice" where even the Donald is mulling another run at the White House for no other reason than to help boost ratings for his sagging television show.  The RNC can put Kid Rock in charge of refreshments.

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