Revealed: House Republicans recruited Ben Carson to replace Boehner as Speaker in 2014. Wait, what?

posted at 4:41 pm on January 8, 2016 by Allahpundit

I say again: What?

“They were looking for an alternative, they were looking for someone strong and courageous who might really be able to add some spine and some backbone,” Carson said. “I was very flattered that there were several members that thought I’d fit the bill very well, but I think it played out correctly the way that it did.”…

A second source with knowledge of the situation said that in 2014 “several” House conservatives summoned Carson to Capitol Hill to pitch him on the idea of becoming the next Speaker in the event that they were successful in voting the Ohio Republican out of the position in 2015…

In explaining to The Hill why he declined, Carson took a passing swipe at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has been criticized for missing votes in the upper chamber.

“It would have pretty much ruined my presidential bid,” Carson said. “It would have been very difficult to do my job as the Speaker of the House while running for president. You’ve seen how difficult a time Sen. Rubio is having fulfilling his senatorial obligations. The Speaker of the House has even more obligations.”

Let me add a third source. A friend saw this story this morning and sent me a message on Twitter claiming that he’s known about it for months. He’s friends with his congressman and the guy told him about the effort to recruit Carson awhile back. W-w-w-what?

Two points. One: Ben Carson, political neophyte, can’t possibly have been their first out-of-the-box choice to swoop in and take over one of the most thankless, complex, and powerful jobs in government, can he? If they went to Carson with this idea, they must have gone to others. Newt Gingrich would be an obvious choice given his experience. The only reason to prefer Carson is that, being such a newbie, he would have been more easily influenced by his supporters than an old hand like Newt would have. Let’s have the full list, though. Which other shockingly inexperienced people were approached to take over a role which requires a deep knowledge of factions within the House, good personal relationships with various players in those factions, and a canny sense of what their political priorities are?

Two: Am I understanding this correctly? Ben Carson ruled out a chance to be Speaker of the House because he was intent on making a futile run for president instead? Granted, the Speaker bid would have been a long longshot, but you never know how grassroots Republicans might have responded given their loathing of Boehner. Even in a worst-case scenario where Carson’s candidacy gets no traction in the House, he would have gotten a boost in prestige from the effort and earned some goodwill with conservative voters for making himself available to challenge Boehner. And having a few dozen congressmen interested in making you the most powerful man in Congress still puts you closer to real power than a quixotic campaign for the presidency does. Either Carson didn’t fully game this out or, given the upheaval in his campaign lately, he and his inner circle decided that there simply wasn’t any direct-mail gold to be mined in a run for Speaker. I wonder which it is.


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Comments

His presidential run was for his book. he never suspected it to go anywhere. He wouldnt want to be house speaker.

Flapjackmaka on January 8, 2016 at 4:43 PM

Figures.

Carson is as much of an amnesty shill as RINO Ryan:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/09/ben_carson_supports_citizenship_for_illegal_aliens.html

anotherJoe on January 8, 2016 at 4:44 PM

Just more evidence that Carson is an odd duck.
A brilliant, morally upstanding duck- but an odd duck nevertheless.

Edith Stifle on January 8, 2016 at 4:51 PM

Either Carson didn’t fully game this out or, given the upheaval in his campaign lately, he and his inner circle decided that there simply wasn’t any direct-mail gold to be mined in a run for Speaker. I wonder which it is.

.
I’m pretty sure there are a couple of DOZEN House rules that would have required Carson to divest himself of direct control of his budding financial empire, certain investments & endorsement deals, and would not allow him enough time for his first priority – his book tour.

I don’t think Carson failed to “game this out”.

I DO think we need to see a full list of the idiots/eminence grise’s in the House which were pushing his candidacy.

PolAgnostic on January 8, 2016 at 4:51 PM

This ‘offer’ may have eliminated the outsider Carson from the presidential race and cleared a path for an establishment type. All politics, all the time with these people. Wonder what they could have received in return.

Kissmygrits on January 8, 2016 at 4:53 PM

but I think it played out correctly the way that it did.”…

And that’s why you’re in the basement.

IDontCair on January 8, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Tells you most about what modern day pols think about the institutions of our democratic republic.

aquaviva on January 8, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Two points. One: Ben Carson, political neophyte, can’t possibly have been their first out-of-the-box choice to swoop in and take over one of the most thankless, complex, and powerful jobs in government, can he?

It’s worth noting that the Speaker of the House is 2nd in the line of succession to the Presidency only behind the VP.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 8, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Seems ‘tried, but failed’ is missing.

DarkCurrent on January 8, 2016 at 4:56 PM

he and his inner circle decided that there simply wasn’t any direct-mail gold to be mined in a run for Speaker. I wonder which it is.

In a just world, both of the charlatans would have long been out of the race by now.

Sadly, there are just too many gullible idiots mixed in with conservatives who can’t throw their money down the dumper fast enough.

KingGold on January 8, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Just more evidence that Carson is an odd duck.
A brilliant, morally upstanding duck- but an odd duck nevertheless.

Edith Stifle on January 8, 2016 at 4:51 PM

Who stabs people, yeah.

anotherJoe on January 8, 2016 at 5:01 PM

Who stabs people, yeah.

anotherJoe on January 8, 2016 at 5:01 PM

Ok then to be fair let’s examine everything Trump has said and done since he was a teenager.

What? That’s different?

Oh ok.

Brian1972 on January 8, 2016 at 5:09 PM

Why would they hire a guy who can’t speak, to be a speaker?

HugoDrax on January 8, 2016 at 5:10 PM

Ridiculous idea.

Job of SOTH requires pretty detailed knowledge of House procedures and processes. AND requires ability to twist arms and keep people in line.

(At least it’s SUPPOSED to be that kind of a job. Pelosi and Boehner RUINED it…and thus far it looks like Ryan is doing the same.)

Ben Carson is a good, honorable, and brilliant man.

But I don’t see much in his years of expertise as a neurosurgeon that would qualify him to successfully tackle the SOTH job. He just doesn’t have the experience.

It’s actually (IMHO) easier for a political outsider to become an effective POTUS, than a successful SOTH.

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:18 PM

Funny line: “shockingly inexperienced”

That certainly describes Ryan and Boehnor and anyone else steeped in the DC swamp. I can’t say BC would be any better; but there is no way to be any worse.

kpguru on January 8, 2016 at 5:18 PM

What a perfect setup for the Political Class ™. Put a neophyte in there that they could manipulate all they want. Brilliant.

Walter L. Newton on January 8, 2016 at 5:22 PM

“several” House conservatives

No such thing exists.

Mr. Arrogant on January 8, 2016 at 5:23 PM

Holy crapoly! The Republicans are more pathetic than I ever imagined.

Nomennovum on January 8, 2016 at 5:24 PM

Credits roll,

Opening scene: Cigar smoke filled room. Twenty seven 60yos in black plastic glasses agree on the deal to make the base swoon.

‘Send the invite off to Ben’, says the fattest of the cigar smokers.

Cut scene: City skyline passes out of view

Fade in: Ben Carson doesn’t understand the telegram. Tells his aide to get out the dictionary and encyclopedia.

Fade out: ‘The End’ rolls across the screen.

Twenty seven 60yos in black plastic glasses go back to golf.

Limerick on January 8, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Holy crapoly! The Republicans are more pathetic than I ever imagined.

Nomennovum on January 8, 2016 at 5:24 PM

I get the very same take-away from this.
How much more lame can the GOPe get???

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:28 PM

I get the very same take-away from this.
How much more lame can the GOPe get???

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:28 PM

Lame?

It’s clever, brilliant, it’s just what I would expect the GOP or the Democrats to do. Put a figurehead in a position, one that is malleable, uninformed and prone to knife attacks.

Politicians of any stripe are not on your side.

Walter L. Newton on January 8, 2016 at 5:32 PM

WHAT!

gerrym51 on January 8, 2016 at 5:35 PM

Walter L. Newton on January 8, 2016 at 5:32 PM

I see your argument. And, actually, sorta agree with it.
Except for one thing: “Prone to knife attacks?”

Why sacrifice a figurehead that’s working for ya, just to have to go find another figurehead?

Oh…I get it. He’s not working for ya anymore therefore the knife attacks.

Sorry, a little slow on a friday afternoon.

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:35 PM

I see your argument. And, actually, sorta agree with it.
Except for one thing: “Prone to knife attacks?”

Why sacrifice a figurehead that’s working for ya, just to have to go find another figurehead?

Oh…I get it. He’s not working for ya anymore therefore the knife attacks.

Sorry, a little slow on a friday afternoon.

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:35 PM

It was sarcasm.

He knife a friend when he was 14. Remember.

How soon we forget.

Walter L. Newton on January 8, 2016 at 5:39 PM

Walter L. Newton on January 8, 2016 at 5:39 PM

By that reasoning you’re saying he’d be prone to making knife attacks rather than being prone to being taken down by them.

Or is that what you originally meant?

I didn’t forget the knife thing.

It was the word “prone” that confused me.
My bad.

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:49 PM

My bad.

Shirotayama on January 8, 2016 at 5:49 PM

No bad?

I was being snarky with the comment. Reading it again, it really had no meaning. Just stupid on my part.

Walter L. Newton on January 8, 2016 at 6:05 PM

I’ll take Carson Daly over Ryan, I literally can’t think of anyone worse as speaker.

Ben Carson can stab whatever beltbuckles he wants, come up with whatever theories about the pyramids, I can’t see how he could possibly be worse than Ryan.

Redstone on January 8, 2016 at 6:46 PM