Ben Carson has done it again.
He has said something odd (some might say offensive and inane) and then blamed "political correctness" for the backlash.
"A bunch of rag-tag militiamen defeated the most powerful and professional military force on the planet. Why? Because they believed in what they were doing. They were willing to die for what they believed in,” Carson told a luncheon audience of national committee members. “Fast forward to today. What do we have? You’ve got ISIS. They’ve got the wrong philosophy, but they’re willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that.”
Carson then preemptively criticized the press, who he said would seize on the comments. “Now I recognize that there’s press here and some of the press will say, ‘Carson said that ISIS is the same as the United States,’” he said. “They are just so ridiculous, so ridiculous.”
Yes, the news media has seized on what Carson said. And yes, Carson made this ridiculous comparison at least in part because he knew he would get headlines. But really, it's all the fault of political correctness, right?
This is classic Carson.
Carson is out to rid the world of that massive scourge whose purveyors are around every corner, ready to criticize him for what he says. It happened exactly this way when Carson compared modern day America to Nazi Germany. He was criticized, and he then promptly blamed political correctness. It certainly makes it hard for people to defend him. Who wants to defend a comment that can be construed as saying that Americans should be more like the Islamic State? Anyone? (RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told NBC that Carson was really just trying to say that people should stand up for their beliefs in a classic making the best-of-a-terrible situation moment.)
Should Carson run for president in 2016, as seems likely, expect to hear the famed neurosurgeon mention the evils of political correctness in every speech. He will make comments and comparisons that most people find problematic. Then he will face backlash and get headlines, which is the real goal. And then the finger wagging about political correctness will begin.
Rinse. Repeat. Over and over again.
That's a great recipe for getting attention. It's a terrible recipe for actually winning anything.