I keep waiting for the “after due deliberation, I’ve decided I can best serve my country in other ways” statement but he keeps moving towards running, not further away.
Emerging from two-days of meetings with supporters in Palm Beach, Fla., Dr. Carson told the Times on Friday morning he has selected Houston businessman Terry Giles to be his 2016 campaign chairman should he run and approved the formation of a PAC called One Nation.
“Now is the time to start all of the appropriate exploration and investigation, and put down the structure that is necessary,” Dr. Carson said in a phone interview.
Asked about the likelihood he will run for president in 2016, Dr. Carson said: “I would say we are definitely a step or two closer than we were a year ago.”…
“Obviously we are very interested in what happens in November,” he said. “And if the people also continue to show strong desire for me to run, obviously that would be an important factor too.”
He hinted last year at one point that he was more interested in television than in running for office, which made me think if he did jump in it would be a Huckabee-an ploy to raise his name recognition to the point where Fox News might offer him his own show. But he’s already on Fox’s radar; they made him a contributor last fall. Even if Fox refused his request for a show, he could always try Glenn Beck’s network or go the Palin route and develop his own pay TV channel online. There’s an audience out there for it: Thanks to an aggressive direct mailing campaign, the “Draft Ben Carson Committee” actually outraised “Ready for Hillary” in the first quarter of this year.
So, yeah, maybe he’s talked himself into taking the plunge. But, er, why? The clearer it is that both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are running, and it’s become pretty clear lately, the less room there is for Carson to make a splash in Iowa. What’s his niche? He’ll run as the outsider who’s going to shake up D.C., but so will Paul and Cruz — Rand is the guy who’s broken from the GOP pack on foreign policy and mandatory minimum sentences and Cruz is the guy who’s giving Republican leaders fits by demanding that they take a more conservative line on key bills. Even something like ObamaCare, which Carson could attack as a renowned surgeon, isn’t an easy winner for him. Cruz, after all, was willing to go so far as to shut down the government in the name of stopping O-Care before it launched. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: Carson’s better off running as an independent. Then he can bypass the primaries and the flak he’ll take from conservatives over his position on guns while setting himself up as a pox-on-both-their-houses protest candidate for disaffected independents. He won’t win, but maybe he can land a spot at the debates in October. And if he’s out there, looming as a Perot-type in the general election, Republicans will have to think carefully about nominating someone who’s too RINO-y; if they end up choosing Christie, tea partiers could defect to Carson and then we end up with President Hillary. So, on second thought, maybe this isn’t great news for establishment Republicans.
Here he is talking recently with Newsmax. Skip to 10:15 for the “are you running?” exchange. Exit question: He says the outcome of the elections in November will affect his decision whether to run. Er, why? If the GOP retakes the Senate, their time in the majority is likely to be short. And if the GOP doesn’t retake the Senate, all the more reason to elect a Republican president in 2016. You’ll want that veto pen in the White House in case something weird happens and Democrats win back the House.