Stop Pretending Ben Carson is a Conservative
Dr. Ben Carson is a great man. He came from less than ideal circumstances to become a great doctor, who has done great things and saved the lives of scores of people.
That doesn’t make him a conservative and we should stop pretending that Dr. Carson is a conservative hero.
Dr. Carson’s main qualification to be considered a conservative candidate came from his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, eviscerating the Affordable Care Act while sharing the same dais as President Obama himself. While it was an interesting act, thought not necessarily one that was appropriate given the circumstances. What has happened since then has been as interesting as it has been surreal, launching Dr. Carson to the echelon of Presidential candidates ahead of potential candidates who have actually participated in the political process before.
The build-up to Carson’s campaign has been odd, given how gaffe-prone he has been in his political statements. Some candidates are more gaffe-prone than others, and as a supporter of Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign I can tell you all about how it feels to be a supporter of a candidate who is particularly gaffe prone.
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However what gives me great pause about Dr. Carson is the fact that while he is running as a Republican, he hardly qualifies as a conservative candidate on some of the issues that matter most to conservatives:
- Gun Control: Carson infamously told Glenn Beck “It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.”
- Minimum Wage: Carson believes that the federal minimum wage needs to be raised, despite the fact that he wrote in his own hand that raising the minimum wage will not fix income inequality.
- Oil Prices and Ethanol Subsidies: Carson wants to redirect existing oil company subsidies towards ethanol subsidies instead despite claiming to be against all subsidies.
- The Constitution: Carson has a unique interpretation of the separation of powers.
Those are three pretty important areas that a Republican candidate should be shoring up their conservative bonafides. Instead, Dr. Carson seems intent on displaying how liberal he is compared to the Republican field.
As I said, Dr. Carson is a great man and if he wants to run for President, he should. But it is absolutely baffling that Dr. Carson has been embraced by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party that is steadfastly and vocally opposed to Dr. Carson’s positions on the three issues that I just mentioned.
Ben Carson is not going to be the Republican nominee for President, and I highly doubt he advances to far during the 2016 Republican Primary process. But we must be realistic in our assessment of his candidacy and his positions, and note that the Dr. Ben Carson that we have seen on the stump has been far from the conservative hero that his legion of fans like to think he is.