Video: Ben Carson launches his presidential exploratory committee

posted at 6:41 pm on March 3, 2015 by Allahpundit

Saw some minor grumbling in Headlines this a.m. that Carson’s still going ahead with his doomed presidential candidacy instead of seizing the opportunity to replace Barbara Mikulski in the Senate. On paper he’s a perfect candidate. He has strong Maryland roots, having built his reputation at Johns Hopkins; he has crossover appeal to black voters, blunting the Democrats’ electoral edge in the state; and voters generally are more likely to take a chance on a political novice when he’s running for Senate, where he can do less damage, than for president. He could make a race of it, especially now that we know Republicans are still viable statewide in Maryland. When Michael Steele ran for Senate in Maryland in 2006, he narrowly won white voters and took a share of the black vote that was larger than usual for a Republican candidate — but he still got swamped among that group overall, 74/25, which is why he ended up losing the election by 10 points. Carson, a man who became famous outside of politics and a role model in many schoolrooms thanks to “Gifted Hands,” could improve on the GOP’s share of both demographics.

Two problems, though. First, would the army of supporters who are pouring money into the Draft Ben Carson PAC answer the bell for a Senate race? Carson’s appeal, as always for “outsider” candidates, is as a savior. People who like outside-the-box candidates for president tend to believe the country’s hopelessly broken and only a sharp break with business as usual will piece it back together. (That was the subtext of Obama’s candidacy, up to and including his unique racial identity.) A savior belongs in the most powerful job we have to offer, not as a one-in-a-hundred Senate backbencher from Maryland. I’m not sure the Ben 2016 crowd would chip in the way they’re chipping in now. Second, as he’s inched closer to running for president over the past two years, Carson’s shed the trappings of independence and begun to identify as a basically orthodox Republican. That’ll help him in a national GOP primary but not in a general election in a blue state like Maryland. It may be that he’s already so closely linked to the right wing of the Republican Party that it’ll neutralize whatever extra advantage he’d have with Maryland’s black voters. And 2016 is already expected to be a heavy lift for Republican Senate candidates due to the fact that it’s a presidential election year, with a traditionally bluer electorate. He may still be the best we have to offer for the seat, but he’d be an underdog. And if you’re going to run for an office and lose, why not run for the big one?

So here he is, announcing the launch of his new quasi-campaign website and, effectively, his candidacy for president. I’m surprised by how stiff he seems here; not only is he a seasoned Fox News veteran by now, it was a speech criticizing ObamaCare that first put him on conservatives’ radar a few years ago. On the other hand, the stiffness and soft-spokenness is part of his appeal, right? As early as it is, it amazes me to see him ahead of Ted Cruz in the polls right now given Cruz’s own high media profile and expertise in oratory. But Cruz, for all his strengths, always comes off like a Politician, a guy practiced at getting an audience to like him and do what he wants, and that might be off-putting to an audience that’s looking for an outside-the-box authentic populist that I described above. If you’re a social conservative convinced that Obama has wrecked America and that it’ll take a totally different kind of presidential candidate to set it right, Carson’s a better fit for “totally different” than Cruz is. Cruz will make up ground on him over the next year but I don’t see Carson going away before Iowa. Dissatisfaction not just with D.C. but with the entire political class, left and right, is out there. He’s the obvious beneficiary.


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Comments

I’d rather he run for Md Senate. It would be the most helpful route.

Bmore on March 3, 2015 at 6:44 PM

He’s a side show.

rubberneck on March 3, 2015 at 6:44 PM

What difference at this point…

bernzright777 on March 3, 2015 at 6:45 PM

no thanks

newrouter on March 3, 2015 at 6:50 PM

I really like the guy, but the best-case scenario is — what? Carson runs, captures the heart of America, and wins the GOP nomination? Okay, he’d get my vote. But would he win a general election against Old White Lady who would loathe being defeated by two black guys in a row?

Even if — in a hypothetical universe — Carson becomes president, are we home free and back on the right path? I’d be worried that a guy like Carson could be easily co-opted by the establishment just to ‘get things done’. More so if Boner and McTurtle are still in charge come 2017.

I like Carson, wish him the best, wouldn’t be upset if he becomes the nominee — but it’s hard to feel enthused consistently even with him being an ‘outsider’.

Aizen on March 3, 2015 at 6:51 PM

NO NO NO X 1,000,000,000,000

No more get along softies squishes.

I want someone to go after the political jugular and set the Progressives back 100 years.

PappyD61 on March 3, 2015 at 6:58 PM

Looking for a guy with resume of crushing Marxism. Sorry, not looking for rookies.

crrr6 on March 3, 2015 at 6:58 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

LegendHasIt on March 3, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Looking for a guy with resume of crushing Marxism. Sorry, not looking for rookies.

crrr6 on March 3, 2015 at 6:58 PM

Alas, Reagan is no longer with us :(

bernzright777 on March 3, 2015 at 7:02 PM

Not going to happen, nice guys always finish last. We needed someone with experience in crushing the enemy. Alas,Israel already has him….sigh. There is none to be found in this dead republic!

Bakokitty on March 3, 2015 at 7:04 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

LegendHasIt on March 3, 2015 at 7:00 PM

2nd time tonight GMTA:

What difference at this point…

bernzright777 on March 3, 2015 at 6:45 PM

bernzright777 on March 3, 2015 at 7:04 PM

He’s a black guy who will be up on the Republican debate platform and there will be Hispanics there and probably Carly. So good. If by some miracle he made it (and not Walker-Cruz-Rubio, are you serious?) I’d vote for him and everybody else just not Jeb. I’m OK with his wanting the spotlight (?new book) because seeing an African American arguing Conservative principles will make the libbie’s heads hurt.

Marcus on March 3, 2015 at 7:11 PM

bernzright777 on March 3, 2015 at 7:04 PM

Heh, the first time it was just timing… This time, I just didn’t read any comments.

Are we supposed to say ‘Jinx!’ or something? :-)

LegendHasIt on March 3, 2015 at 7:13 PM

I have read more than once that he is soft on 2nd Amendment issues. That is a deal breaker for me and a ton of others.

Johnnyreb on March 3, 2015 at 7:15 PM

I like Carson. I find his voice soothing. The problem with outsiders is that they don’t stay outsiders. Remember the Redford movie, The Candidate? Redford’s character was a lefty, but the principle remains the same. Whether it’s Cruz, Carson or any other perceived outsider, they will be eventually surrounded by advisers advocating the middle road, the least offense and messages based on emotion. If they survive long enough, they will be as carefully groomed as a show dog.

polly2150 on March 3, 2015 at 7:17 PM

No. Just no. We don’t need yet another black guy with no executive experience for a position that requires the highest executive decision-making in the world. Just, no.

HiJack on March 3, 2015 at 7:20 PM

Voters instinctively want someone who have previously held elective public office or had military experience before running for President. Even Obama ran for the Senate first before becoming immaculated.

And don’t give me that crap about how the Founders went straight from private life into higher office. Different times then, does not compare to what Carson is doing.

All Carson will do is misdirect votes from a conservative candidate and grease the skids for Jebbie.

Brian in Titletown on March 3, 2015 at 7:20 PM

I want someone to go after the political jugular and set the Progressives back 100 years.

PappyD61 on March 3, 2015 at 6:58 PM

Softie. Wimp. Limp-wristed pussy…cat. I want someone to go after the political jugular and send the Progressives, that is, LEFTISTS, to prison. Forever.

HiJack on March 3, 2015 at 7:23 PM

We already know that Carson has held some liberal views on important issues in the past (e.g. gun rights), and I’m skeptical about his conversion to conservative orthodoxy on non-social issues. He’s avoiding getting into the specifics of his current views (and how they differ from what he used to believe) by offering Christian platitudes. Social conservatives, and more specifically evangelical Christians, should keep in mind that while Jimmy Carter is a good Christian, he didn’t make a very good President and that being a born-again Christian doesn’t necessarily make him a conservative.

Lawdawg86 on March 3, 2015 at 7:23 PM

Oh, I can’t say pusssy?

HiJack on March 3, 2015 at 7:24 PM

I wish he would run for the Senate. But I can’t blame him for wanting to go for the biggest job of them all. And who the hell knows? With the base as disgusted as it is right now with the party, maybe an outsider could come in and win the nomination. Remember, Herman Cain actually led in the polls for the better part of a month before he flamed out due to the sexual harassment allegations and his refusal to do any prep on foreign policy.

And if he comes up short, he could still wind up in the cabinet of whomever does get the nomination(assuming that person goes on to win the White House). I’d love to see him as Secretary of HHS.

Doughboy on March 3, 2015 at 7:28 PM

Makes no difference. We’re gonna get what they give us, and we’re gonna like it.

HiJack on March 3, 2015 at 7:29 PM

No. Just no. We don’t need yet another black guy with no executive experience for a position that requires the highest executive decision-making in the world. Just, no.

HiJack on March 3, 2015 at 7:20 PM

Not playing the race card or anything — but what does ‘black guy’ have to do with anything? Obama is a disaster because he was a pampered, naive, narcissistic, elitist, far-left kook who never had any major accomplishments in his life. If you meant that Obama got away with everything in part for being black, that’s not going to apply to Carson. He’ll be slimed as an Uncle Tom if he wins the nomination.

Aizen on March 3, 2015 at 7:34 PM

Love Carson…let him run. But he will never get his campaign off the ground. He is a strong voice of conservatism that is sorely lacking in politics today.

And he’s the smartest guy in the room.

Redford on March 3, 2015 at 7:40 PM

Oh, goodie. Herman Cain 2.0.

Nice man, and well meaning, but he’s got as much chance as I do of getting the nomination. He’s a gaffe machine.

JannyMae on March 3, 2015 at 7:45 PM

Maybe he’ll ask someone from Duck Dynasty to be his running mate.

Buy Danish on March 3, 2015 at 7:58 PM

Whatever.

I hear Donald Duck is running too.

Andy__B on March 3, 2015 at 8:19 PM

Carson obviously has really bad advisors. It’s actually quite sad that his “inner circle” has so easily convinced him that running is a good idea.

Pork-Chop on March 3, 2015 at 8:23 PM

Take the Maryland Senate seat.

Become the “Doctor of the Senate” and reform health care.

Bruno Strozek on March 3, 2015 at 8:34 PM

Huckabee,Santorum,Carson,Walker,Rubio, Paul,Cruz and Jindal split the conservative vote 8 ways giving Jeb a surprise first place in Iowa.He follows that with a victory in New Hampshire giving him the indisputable front runner title.With his support among the donor class he goes on to win the nomination a la Romney-who basically did the same exact thing.Of course doing the very same thing as both Romney and McCain before him Jeb loses soundly to Hillary.Of course the GOP establishment remains happy despite their third loss in a row because,well because they still are the GOP establishment.Conservatives can be so very foolish.

redware on March 3, 2015 at 8:37 PM

If Carson gets any traction the Dems will scoff and say something like this:
“Can you believe those crazy Repubs?– they attack Obama for having limited experience and then turn around and pick Carson with NO experience.”
Just sayin’.

3dpuzzman on March 3, 2015 at 8:37 PM

You know, I just self-censored my post:

Take the Maryland Senate seat.

Become the “Doctor of the Senate” and reform health care.

Bruno Strozek on March 3, 2015 at 8:34 PM

I was going to say:

Take the Maryland Senate seat. It’s low hanging fruit.

But my internalized Political Correctness Censor twinged me that “low hanging fruit” could be racist.

This is what the Left has done.

Just like Winston Smith, I love Big Brother.

Bruno Strozek on March 3, 2015 at 8:39 PM

He’s no Mitt Romney. oh wait that’s good.

Mitt would need to pick someone from duck dynasty to balance his ticket.

SpongePuppy on March 3, 2015 at 8:46 PM

Uncle Tom /Libs

trs on March 3, 2015 at 9:07 PM

Listened to his spiel.Yawn.

redware on March 3, 2015 at 9:13 PM

I’m OK with his wanting the spotlight (?new book) because seeing an African American arguing Conservative principles will make the libbie’s heads hurt.

Marcus on March 3, 2015 at 7:11 PM

You realize the Left totally ignores Thomas Sowell, Allan West, etc. when they are not beating them up for being Uncle Toms (which should be a badge of honor if you actually have read the book).

AesopFan on March 3, 2015 at 10:50 PM

Looking for a guy with resume of crushing Marxism. Sorry, not looking for rookies.

crrr6 on March 3, 2015 at 6:58 PM

No “guy” but there’s a GAL who would kick Marxism right in it’s arse. Of course the learned proprietors of this august establishment dismiss her as a “reality TV star” or at best a supreme “king maker” She doesn’t have the panache and grace of say, Willard Romney!

If Palin doesn’t run, then we literally have no one who will actually FIGHT for the American way of life and take that fight to the democrats like Patton did the Nazis!

And that’s a fact, Jack!

TopFuel425 on March 4, 2015 at 2:38 AM

Carson obviously has really bad advisors. It’s actually quite sad that his “inner circle” has so easily convinced him that running is a good idea.

Pork-Chop on March 3, 2015 at 8:23 PM

His “inner circle,” likely PAID advisers, will make a crap load of money off of this deal, even if he drops out after Iowa! It’s ALL about the Benjamins for that crowd.

TopFuel425 on March 4, 2015 at 2:41 AM