Via BuzzFeed, I … guess this is true, if you’re willing to analogize at a sufficiently high level of abstraction. Cruz should have held his campaign staff accountable for spreading bad information just like Hillary should have held State Department staff accountable for not stopping jihadi savages from murdering Americans. At a high level of abstraction everything is easily analogized to some much greater failing. Ben Carson should have anticipated how his trip home to Florida after the caucuses might be misunderstood just like, I suppose, George Bush should have anticipated how his invasion of Iraq might be misunderstood. Carson should be less passive on the campaign trail in New Hampshire and South Carolina just like Obama should be less passive towards Iran and Russia in the Middle East. Given Carson’s propensity for Nazi analogies, it’s an act of restraint that he chose to compare Cruz to Hillary instead of Hitler. Maybe that’s next week.
Asked by Todd Starnes if he was “satisfied with the way Sen. Cruz has handled himself as Christian” over the incident in Iowa, Carson said, “Well, let me put it this way, it’s not the way that I would have handled it.”
“I would have said if I didn’t agree with what’s being — which he did say that — I would make sure that it didn’t happen again,” Carson continued. “And I would take corrective action. Not to take corrective action is tacitly saying it’s okay, or it’s sort of like, as Hillary Clinton said after Benghazi, ‘what difference does it make.’”
“I’m not saying that it rises to the level up Benghazi, I’m saying it’s the same kind of attitude,” he said, when pressed by Starnes if the controversy rose to the level of Benghazi. “The attitude being, it’s water under the bridge, it’s gone by, let’s not deal with it.”
Erick Erickson wonders how much of this is genuine upset within Team Carson and how much of it is a pretext to keep running a race that left them behind many weeks ago:
The Carson Campaign is really just a consultant heavy direct mail operation that pooped out a Presidential campaign and they’re hoping to keep the money flowing by playing up outrage over the Cruz campaign. The Carson campaign is collapsing with major staff layoffs planned and more cuts to come after New Hampshire. The plans appear to have been in the works before Iowa, which means the outrage over Cruz’s campaign efficiency has more to do with trying to bleed more money from people out of sympathy than anything else.
I don’t think Carson’s annoyance at Cruz is insincere, but given that there’s still zero evidence that Cruz’s “trick” made any meaningful difference to the outcome (where are the interviews with angry Carson supporters in Iowa who switched to Cruz under false pretenses?), the fact that we’re on day four of the outrage seems odd. One way to test Erickson’s theory is to try to gauge how hard Carson is still campaigning. Is he trying to win, and therefore justifiably upset that Cruz cost him a real chance? Strategically, he’s better off skipping New Hampshire and moving on to South Carolina given that there are many more evangelicals in the latter state. Failing that, though, if he’s intent on campaigning in New Hampshire, he should be going all out on the trail to try to pass Cruz on Tuesday night and vault himself back into contention as the social-conservative champion. Here’s a tracker of what the various candidates are up to this week. As I write this, he has … three events planned in New Hampshire before Tuesday night’s vote. Carly Fiorina, another also-ran, has at least five events each day for the next three days plus more next week. She’s in it to win it, however far-fetched that may be. Is he?
The fact that Carson will be onstage tomorrow night and Fiorina won’t is a more consequential outrage than what Cruz pulled on Carson in Iowa on Tuesday night. Not only is she campaigning harder than Carson is, she’s actually ahead of him marginally in RCP’s average of New Hampshire polls. And she’s a much, much better debater than Carson. She could hit Trump or Rubio with something that does them real damage before the vote on Tuesday; the odds that Carson will do so are near zero. In fact, given his reluctance to directly accuse him of dirty pool at his press conference a few days ago, it’s an open question whether Carson will even confront Cruz directly tomorrow night. We’ll see.