National Journal's Alex Seitz-Wald, who's usually smarter than this, actually thinks Dr. Ben Carson could win a presidential race against Hillary Clinton:
It's hard to miss the gospel of Ben Carson here at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, held annually just outside of Washington.Really? The Ben Carson PAC has outraised Hillary's? Later in Seitz-Wald's article, a co-founder of the PAC says it "crushed Ready for Hillary in fundraising," raising $2.83 million after its formation in August 2013. Ready for Hillary's total? Four million dollars for 2013 -- though, yeah, slightly less in the second half of 2013 than Carson's PAC ($2.75 million). But Ready for Hillary isn't the only Hillary Clinton PAC -- there's also an outfit you may have heard of called Priorities USA Action, which raised $75 million for the Obama campaign in 2012. So I really don't think Hillary will be hurting for money anytime soon. (The Clinton campaign is also trying not to compete for dollars with Democrats running this year.)
Every eager conservative activist who rides the free shuttle to the event will have to watch a video on the bus's screens of a descendant of John Philip Sousa explaining why Carson is the "the only candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton" in 2016. And the first 2,000 people who check into their hotel rooms here will find Carson on their room keys. He's on the CPAC straw poll, and his fans downstairs at the exhibition hall will tell you why he's a mathematical shoo-in for the presidency.
It's a major display in some of CPAC's most prime real estate for someone who has never held office and is not on most pundits' list of potential 2016 presidential candidates.
Before you laugh, consider this: The group that put Carson on the hotel keys has outraised Clinton's draft committee, Ready for Hillary; has been on the ground in Iowa; and is working from the playbook written by Howard Dean and Barack Obama.
It's all the work of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which is trying to get the conservative neurosurgeon to run for president. It's part fan club, part savvy campaign....
Oh, but the case for Carson isn't just based on money, according to Seitz-Wald. It's based on electoral math.
The case for Carson is all about math and race. Carson is African-American and his supporters think that will be his path to victory. He's "a respected figure among black Americans," the video explains, and if he can win just 17 percent of the black vote, it is "mathematically impossible" for a Democrat to win the White House.Yeah, right. Let's start listing the bonding exercises Carson has engaged in up to now.
Vernon Robinson, a former three-time congressional candidate and George H.W. Bush appointee, started the draft campaign with John Philip Sousa IV and others. He says Carson, who is scheduled to speak Saturday at CPAC, is the only candidate who can broaden the GOP base among minorities, while passing muster with conservative primary voters.
"At 17 percent, Hillary loses all of the swing states and the Roosevelt Democratic coalition is destroyed," Robinson explains. "In addition, Ben Carson is able to clearly and calmly articulate conservative positions in a way the average voter can understand.... He's the only guy who can bond with all of the American people."
How did he become a popular figure in right-wing politics? He spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and spent 25 minutes attacking the first black president of the United States, a man who's still wildly popular among African-American voters. Way to broaden the GOP's base, Dr. Carson.
Oh, and when he's not doing something like that, he's referring to the Affordable Care Act as "slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government." Or he's saying that liberals are
the most racist people there are. Because you know, they put you in a little category, a little box, "you have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?"He said that after he withdrew from consideration as an Emory University commencement speaker when it was learned that he's a young-earth creationist. (I guess he can "bond with all of the American people" except the ones who actually believe in science.)
Oh, and he favors a flat tax, which he says would ensure that everyone has "skin in the game" -- including, I assume, poor people who now keep their heads above water thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would be eliminated in his ideal world, even as the wealthy would see their taxes drastically reduced.
And John Philip Sousa IV, the "descendant of John Philip Sousa" who co-founded Carson's PAC? He's a birther, an immigration extremist, and a fan of Joe Arpaio, Arizona's most sociopathic sheriff:
As ... Tim Murphy reported in July 2012, Sousa helped bankroll Americans for Sheriff Joe, a political action committee devoted to electing controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio....Um, Alex? Ben Carson is not ready for prime time and never will be. So don't take the hype seriously. It's delusional.
Sousa is an immigration hardliner who notes on his personal web site that "I am tired of pressing one for English, I am tired of looking for the English instructions on boxes. If you don't speak English or you are not willing to learn English, I would strongly suspect that you should not be a permanent resident in the United States of America."Sousa is also something of a birther. In an interview with Murphy, he said, "I mean, can you unequivocally say that Obama was born in the United States? I can't!" He went on: "I don't trust [the documentation]. I don't distrust it. I don't know."
In Arpaio, Sousa found an anti-immigration champion who's not afraid to stand up for what he believes....
OOPS: Almost forgot to mention this moment of base-broadening from Carson, on Sean Hannity's show a year ago:
CARSON: Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition.Right -- this is the guy who's going to change the GOP's image.
UPDATE: Also transmitting the Carson PAC's spin with very little skepticism: The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe. Same Carson-outraised-Hillary! spin. Same uncritical retransmission of the "17 percent" nonsense. Please, all of you, jut stop.
SORRY, ONE MORE: From Politico:
Ben Carson rallied conservatives Saturday against lawmakers who voted to raise the debt ceiling, but also urged Republicans to keep their eye on the bigger picture come the fall midterms.So Carson is for defaulting on America's debt obligations? Please proceed, Doctor.
Carson ... lambasted what he called an irresponsible handling of the national debt.
"The only way we get out of that, quite frankly, is we have to know who our representatives are and the ones who are voting to keep raising that debt ceiling, get them out of office," Carson said.