Opinion writer

Donald Trump wants to round up 11 million people in two years for deportation. He approves of Russia’s incursion into Syria. He has a tax plan that adds at least $10 trillion to the debt. And with all that, he is not the most ignorant or unfit GOP presidential contender. That distinction goes to Ben Carson.

Consider this from yesterday:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the Holocaust would have been “greatly diminished” had Jewish people in Europe been armed with guns.

“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said. “I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first.”

This follows his jaw-dropping response to the Oregon mass shooting: “I would say, hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me but he can’t get us all!”

The Anti-Defamation League roundly condemned his remarks. (“The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”)

Carson’s ignorance is not limited to the Nazis, although he continues his appalling comparisons of trends and people he dislikes to the fascist, genocidal regime.

He does not, it seems, grasp the difference between the debt limit and the budget.

He thinks “diplomacy” was an alternative to a military response to the slaughter of nearly 3,000 people on Sept, 11, 2001. (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie retorted that “these people were out to kill us.”)

He insisted that a Muslim should not be president, only begrudgingly backpedaling to say only those intent on imposing sharia law shouldn’t hold office.

And there was this telling exchange from the first debate, which largely escaped notice:

MEGYN KELLY: You’ve suggested that the Baltic States are not a part of NATO, just months ago you were unfamiliar with the major political parties and government in Israel, and domestically, you thought Alan Greenspan had been treasury secretary instead of federal reserve chair.

Aren’t these basic mistakes, and don’t they raise legitimate questions about whether you are ready to be president?

CARSON: Well, I could take issue with — with all of those things, but we don’t have time.

But I will say, we have a debate here tonight, and we will have an opportunity to explore those areas, and I’m looking very much forward to demonstrating that, in fact, the thing that is probably most important is having a brain, and to be able to figure things out and learn things very rapidly.

(Wait. He thinks the Baltic states are not part of NATO?)

Conservatives have a dangerous habit of excusing ignorance or offensive comments so long as they come from someone attacking liberal elites. One does not need to elevate ignoramuses to cultlike status simply because they also happen to attack the media or liberal dogma. In doing so, Republicans wind up getting behind crank candidates and losing elections to mediocre candidates. (Anyone recall the “I-am-not-a-witch” Christine O’Donnell?)

There is a Chauncey Gardner-like quality to Carson. He speaks softly, smiles a lot and lulls his audience into the belief he possess great insights and wisdom. He is an esteemed neurosurgeon and a lovely dinner speaker. He is, however, entirely unfit for the presidency, seemingly oblivious to basic historical facts, constitutional concepts and world events. Surely conservative Republicans, especially some in the right-wing media who have fawned over him, should have figured this out by now.