Ben Carson (Mike Stone/Reuters)

Ben Carson just played the race card in a most spectacular way. It came in the form of a solicitation e-mail to my Washington Post inbox Saturday morning. The subject line read “I will not be silenced,” and the missive was a screed against the press that he says is “recklessly abusing this privilege” of being protected by the Constitution with its “relentless attack[s]” against him. And then the famed neurosurgeon running a close second to Donald Trump in the quest for the Republican presidential nomination made this stunning claim:

As a black Republican, I know I don’t fit the traditional mold, and I’m a threat to the liberal order. Because of the color of my skin, I’m supposed to think a certain way. Sorry, but that’s racism…..

I refuse to act like a politician and say whatever I need to say to get elected. I will speak the truth regardless of what the media and the PC police say is “controversial.” It’s time for honesty.

Yes. It is time for honesty. Carson is a crackpot who should get nowhere near the White House, let alone the presidential nomination of a major political party. His incendiary and ignorant comments — not political correctness, not racism — are the cause of the “relentless attacks” on him.

Conservatives love to accuse liberals of playing the race card. They believe said liberal is invoking race to shut down all conversation or to cloak oneself from criticism. Thus, the grievance of the accused merits neither sympathy nor serious consideration. While conservatives falsely claim this of liberals who are giving voice to real racism, Carson is falsely claiming racism where none exists.

That he is a black Republican is irrelevant. Carson forgets that Colin Powell, former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a black Republican who more than a few believed could have limited President Bill Clinton to one term had he run in 1996. “Gifted Hands” is being attacked because his pronouncements bespeak a mind addled by bigotry and ignorant of the Constitution and basic history.

[Ben Carson’s mental prison on gays]

In April 2013, Carson linked gays to pedophiles and “people who believe in bestiality.” His attempted explanation to NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell led to a ridiculous “That’s not an orange. …That’s a banana” analogy that still makes no sense. In October 2013, he famously said, “You know, Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”


Ben Carson answers questions at a news conference in San Francisco on Sept. 8. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

When he was asked to explain in March why he thought being gay was a “choice,” Carson said, “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out they’re gay.” In an interview on “Meet The Press” last month, Carson defied the Constitution by expressing a religious litmus test for president and said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” And he spent the first full week of this month uttering pure nonsense, from suggesting the victims of the Oregon massacre were to blame for their deaths to saying “the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.”

[Ready for Ben Carson? Not for president]

The swirl of controversy surrounding Carson certainly isn’t a shock to his campaign. According to the New York Times, “For a long time, Ben Carson’s campaign team feared that his habit of inflammatory remarks would sink his presidential hopes.” The team even sent him to media training. But it decided to “let Carson be Carson” when doing so resulted in increased support and donations.

“I respect Dr. Carson for his accomplishments in life, but he’s not prepared to be president of the United States,” a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party told the Times. That’s not because Carson is black. That’s because it’s true.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj