Budding opinion writer Isaiah Carter had a hot tip for me. “‘Gifted Hands’ just threw his hat in the ring…,” the communications major at the University of Baltimore wrote in an instant message on Tuesday. Translation: “Gifted Hands,” a.k.a. Dr. Ben Carson, the famed neurosurgeon and conservative heartthrob, is running for president.
Carter’s proof was the picture of a billboard he took earlier this month in Baltimore. With a smiling Carson perched on the right, the sign reads “America needs strong medicine: Dr. Ben Carson for President in 2016.” The nation very well might need strong medicine, but he is not the one to administer it.
Upon further investigation, I discovered that the billboard is part of an old trend in presidential politics. That being people independent of the desired candidate forming committees whose raison d’etre is to get said person to actually run for office. The folks behind “Ready for Hillary” are doing everything they can to be, well, ready when (not “if” from their perspective) former secretary of state Hillary Clinton throws her hat in the ring for 2016. There is a “Ready for Warren” group for those champing at the bit for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to rumble with Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. And the people behind the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee are doing everything they can to entice Carson to make a go of it for the Republican nomination for president.
The “electronic billboard advertisements have launched in Des Moines, Iowa and in the greater Baltimore area, where Dr. Ben Carson lives and works,” announced John Philip Sousa IV, the chairman of the draft Carson effort, on the Web site last week. “The purpose of the billboards in Iowa is to encourage those attending January 21 mid-term caucuses to join the more than 200,000 Americans who have signed the petition urging Dr. Carson to run for President in 2016.”
Those hopeful souls have been encouraged by a couple of recent Carson interviews in which he has not ruled out a run. “If the circumstances were to evolve in such a way that [running for president] seemed to be what God was calling me to do, I would certainly do it,” Carson said on the Sean Hannity Radio Show on Dec. 27. “And I would never turn my back on my fellow citizens, if there was a hue and cry for such.” I pray no such thing happens.
Carson burst onto the scene again last year at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he smacked down Obamacare with President Obama listening two seats away. “The Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon may not be politically correct,” the Wall Street Journal swooned, “but he’s closer to correct than we’ve heard in years.” Carson is neither politically correct nor correct on a host of issues.
Last April, Carson linked gays to pedophiles and “people who believe in bestiality.” His “That’s not an orange. …That’s a banana’ attempt to explain himself a few days later stretched the limits of ridiculousness. And what he said about Obamacare at the Values Voters Summit last October rendered him unworthy of high office. “You know, Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson said.
The longed-for Republican told the Washington Times last month he has “not endorsed any of these organizations and have neither any professional nor personal relationships and am not in communication with any of them.” The paper also reported that Carson “disavowed any plans ‘as of today’ for a political career.”
“As of never” would be just fine.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj