And thus does the Ben Carson for Senate boomlet deflate, at least a little. Last night, Larry Kudlow asked the latest of ascending star of the conservative movement whether his impending retirement from medicine means that he’ll be available to make a run for office under the GOP banner. Carson makes it clear that he’s not interested in the process.
Carson does express an interest in becoming a television analyst, however (via NRO‘s Andrew Johnson):
With his retirement as a neurosurgeon just 100 days away, Dr. Ben Carson talked about his future plans on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report last night, and said he probably isn’t interested in a political career. “People keep trying to put me into politics, and I really don’t want to do it,” he said. “I don’t believe in political correctness, and I certainly don’t believe in getting into bed with special-interest groups,” he explained, saying “I just don’t think I would fit.”
He told the Washington Post the same thing, saying he wouldn’t mind “a proper venue” for a forum in which he could mediate solutions … by offering moderate compromises while partisans argue with him on a TV panel:
The sudden outpouring of attention, meanwhile, has left Carson pondering his next act. He is set to retire from his medical practice in about 100 days.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if I decided to do more things on television,” he said. Carson was dressed in surgical scrubs and scuffed tennis shoes. His cellphone beeped.
“I got to go,” he said. “They are ready for me in the operating room.”
Before he left, Carson finished his thought. He would like to do a show that focuses on “educating the American populace about things that are essential to our freedom,” he said in his soft, steady voice. Or he would like to try a show that would bring together people who hold opposing views on critical issues that are dividing the nation. Carson would then help them seek a middle ground or resolution.
“If the proper venue was presented, I would probably accept such a thing,” he said.
There is nothing wrong with that idea, of course, and if Dr. Carson gets such an offer, no one would begrudge his seizing it. However, it does point up a problem that the conservative movement has had for as long as I can remember: a deep-seated need to find a conservative savior delivered by a Deus ex machina apparatus, free from any stain of political compromise and track record in office. Carson’s trajectory as a star within the conservative movement began in earnest when he rebuked President Obama during a prayer breakfast, much to the President’s chagrin. That was enough to have people salivating over the prospect of running Carson for office, even before anyone found out what exactly Carson believed, which ended up in the case of gun control to produce a little chagrin in the other direction.
Dr. Carson seems like a fine man and a good speaker. But before we start anointing people as leaders of the conservative movement, maybe we should make sure that they want to lead in that direction, and that they have an interest in rolling up their sleeves and doing the heavy lifting necessary. It’s not Dr. Carson’s fault that a lot of people seem to have jumped to some erroneous conclusions about his intent and perspective, but that also doesn’t mean that Dr. Carson isn’t worth a serious listen on these issues in the future.