I attend a fair number of political shindigs, and for the rest of you who do also, you’re probably familiar with the sight of various groups pushing to Draft Ben Carson as a potential 2016 GOP nominee. I saw them out in force at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference this year, and they’ve been making the rounds at all the other usual confabs. But what about Dr. Carson himself? Does he really want to take the big chair? Rare conducted an interview with him this week and lobbed the usual question. The answer may prove enlightening.
Kurt Wallace: I know a lot of people have asked you ‘are you going to run for president’ my question to you is do you want to run for president? Do you want to be the president?
Ben Carson: Well, the second question is very easy – the answer is no. Why would any sane person want to do that. I mean have you noticed that everybody who goes in that office after about three years looks like they’ve been there 20 years.
Kurt Wallace: As a doctor you wouldn’t recommend things like that?
Ben Carson: It certainly was not my intention to move into the political realm. I found myself thrust there after the national prayer breakfast speech. But you know my preference would be for someone to come along who really wants to do that and understands the constitution. And understands personal freedom, responsibility. The place of the government versus the place of the people. The place of the states versus the place of the federal government. Understands business and how to get moving by deregulating in terms of the excessive regulations not the ones that are necessary. And knows how to get things done. I mean we need to reform the tax code, it’s absolutely absurd. And it’s a blanket over economic progress.
When the beltway media asks any prospective or active candidate for office “The Question” during an interview, it’s generally accepted that it will be why do you even want the job. (It’s widely considered that the failure to be able to answer the question of why is how we wound up with Jimmy Carter instead of Ted Kennedy.) The question of “do you want it” is taken as settled. I don’t recall any other instances off the top of my head when a promising contender who is working to raise their national profile went so far as to say that they have no appetite for the Oval Office to begin with.
If Carson does run, expect this clip to surface again later in the primary process. If he had qualified it a bit, saying that the job was obviously a grinding one which aged the occupant prematurely, but he was willing to shoulder the burden if another suitable candidate couldn’t be found, this would be water under the bridge. But an unadorned, “the answer is no” is just red meat on the platter. Opponents will ask why voters should put it all on the line to support his bid when he doesn’t even want the job himself.
Of course the other possibility is that Carson is just being brutally honest. The man may just want to participate in the process and get the message out without diving into the swamp of DC and a very dirty national election mess. And really, who could blame him?