Dr. Ben Carson rattles pundits by ‘suspending’ campaign

It would seem extremely unwise to dismiss Dr. Carson as a serious candidate, or a genuine candidate – perhaps he may turn out to be the most serious of any of the contenders.

Ben Carson at a book signing (YouTube)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2015 – Last week, ABC News reported that Dr. Ben Carson was putting his campaign on “hold,” and the professional political pundits from several news sources used the story as an opportunity to jab at the “wisdom” of such an effort and how it demonstrated that the doctor was not serious about his campaign to earn the GOP nomination for president. It is quite amazing when one considers it because many of those who were “distressed” over such news would probably want Carson to suspend his campaign for good – not just a few weeks. It had many scratching their heads as to why a front runner in the GOP field would “suspend” his campaign.

On Oct. 15, Igor Bobic, an associate editor at the Huffington Post, put up an article with the headline that Ben Carson was suspending his campaign to go sell books, with this subtitle: “Running for president is a lucrative business.” In fact, it may be, and Bill Clinton would be able to testify that it may get much more lucrative after you leave the White House – yet, Hillary may disagree.

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On the same day, Leon Wolf posted on Red State and Guy Benson posted on Town Hall articles designed to cast doubts about Carson’s seriousness in running for president as he had “suspended” his campaign to go peddle his books. Interestingly, the reaction from the left-leaning HuffPo and the comments from the two supposedly conservative writers were aimed at the same thing: portraying Dr. Carson as somewhat disengaged and disinterested in campaigning for the GOP nod to run for president.

Wolf and Benson seemed to be operating like a tag team duo, questioning Carson’s seriousness because he had the foolhardiness to “suspend” his campaign.

Wolf, who is taking over for Erick Erickson at Red State, initially posited that Carson may be ignorant on the issues, but realizing he was an intelligent man, concluded that Carson had not bothered to educate himself on the issues because he really wasn’t serious about becoming POTUS. Benson’s reinforcement, albeit an attempt to mask it, postulated that it “raises questions of judgment and priorities.”

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The rationale that Carson is an intelligent guy but is not taking his political campaign too seriously actually does not resonate with reality. It does seem a clever strategy: sandwiched between concessions that Carson is actually intelligent and that he is a well accomplished professional and an “honorable man” is the contention that he is a selfish and greedy man out to use his campaign to raise his personal profile and make a few extra bucks peddling books. To anyone who knows Carson as a person, the attempt to define his actions falls short of helping readers to receive a genuine understanding of the man.

The efforts made by Bobic, Wolf, Benson and other professional pundits who jumped on the ABC story simply reveals serious bias against Carson and essential disagreement with the good doctor’s political beliefs. Certainly, each writer may have his own reasons, but attempting to define Carson as ignorant on the issues or self-centeredly pursuing personal gain is a bit of a stretch. Such feeble attempts say more about the author’s efforts to put Carson in a box than they reveal about the good doctor.

Amazingly, John Hayward of Breitbart News wrote an article on Oct. 15 as well, and it did more to clarify the “suspension” than any of the other articles. Hayward referred to the original ABC News story, which actually made no mention of a “suspension.” Apparently, ABC quoted a Carson America spokesperson, Doug Watts, as explaining to the media that “public campaign events” were being put on “hold.” At the time it was intended for two additional weeks. The reality was that Carson is one of the top contenders in the crowded GOP field.

Hayward clarified in his article that Carson’s campaign “has been careful to separate campaign events and the book tour, and doesn’t want to classify the tour as related to the campaign in any way.” In the initial ABC report, Hayward said, “Doug Watts explained that leaving the campaign staff behind while Carson spends a few days focusing on his book tour alleviates concerns about ‘co-mingling from the corporate standpoint to the Federal Election Commission standpoint so it’s just better to avoid any bad appearance.’” This shows Carson performing his due diligence to keep his activities above board and in line with FEC regulations.

Apparently, last week Dr. Carson was catching up on fundraising events, and this week he will  be back on his book tour promoting his most recent book, A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, with stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. The candidate will be traveling back and forth between campaign fundraising events and book tour events, and according to the Carson America campaign, he has over 20 campaign fundraising events scheduled over the time of his “suspension” period.

The irony of the narrative of doubt is that Carson is faulted for taking time to deal with a book tour, which is hardly to be considered a “suspension” of his campaign for the GOP nomination. But the essence of some arguments regarding Carson’s actions is that he had  not seriously invested his time “engaged in basic study of the issues” that suggested “a lack of diligence on his part.” However, the reason for the book tour was that he wrote and published his latest in a stream of books on his concern for his country.

Dr. Carson’s book is a chapter-by-chapter linkage of contemporary issues with the Constitution of the United States. Granted, he focuses on issues that he believes are critical to fixing America and how, by going back to the original blueprint, many problems Americans face today can be solved. Such concepts are often foreign to political opponents because the nation has drifted so far from the original intent behind the foundational documents. One who stands up for these ideals is often painted as a pariah.

Of course, by casting doubt upon Carson’s intelligence and his motivation, Carson’s detractors make one wonder whether they have even bothered to read his books as a way of verifying their arguments. Attempts to define a candidate, when they do not ring true, cast more doubt upon those attempting the mental manipulation than upon the candidate. Such attempts border on outright deception and defamation. Considering the content of his recent books (by no means medical advice from a retired neurosurgeon or simple travel memoirs), it is not surprising that those opposed to Carson’s candidacy want to bring him down.

On the other hand, it is also not surprising that Ben Carson’s message is resonating with a majority of Americans all across the nation. It seems extremely unwise to dismiss Dr. Carson as a serious candidate – perhaps he will turn out to be the most serious contender.


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Dennis Jamison
Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member at West Valley College in California. He currently writes a column on US history and one on American freedom for the Communities Digital News, as well as writing for other online publications. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he worked as the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. He founded the “We the People” Network of writers and the Citizen Sentinels Project to pro-actively promote the values and principles established at the founding of the United States, and to discover and support more morally centered citizen-candidates who sincerely seek election as public servants, not politicians.