SAN JOSE, Calif., January 31, 2016 — All but one of the top-tier candidates at last week’s GOP debate used the event to thump their chests and deliver passionate appeals to voters. That’s what we have come to expect politicians to do before an election.
The exception was Dr. Ben Carson, who used the precious time allotted him—and it did come at a premium—to quote the words of the preamble to the Constitution of the United States.
To some it may have seemed unwise to use precious time to do such a thing, wasting the opportunity to tell voters why they should vote for Ben Carson, especially on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. But in retrospect, it spoke volumes about who he is as a man and a candidate.
All of the others were on the stage because they feel that they have something to offer the nation. Carson, however, is running because the American people asked him to; it wasn’t his idea.
Carson stands as a true representative of “We the People.” It showed on that stage in Des Moines.
“We the People” still matter to Ben Carson. Some question his decisions to quote the preamble, but millions appreciate that he is in this race for them, not for himself. After quoting those words, which some of the other candidates might not quite remember, Carson told the audience that it is not too late for Americans to make the right decision. That may have passed over the heads of most because they were still recovering from the onslaught of “I,” “me,” and “my” from the politicians on stage.
Carson did not enter the race to perform as a dancing puppet for the media or for the political elites who strive for control of the public mind. He was drafted by the people because they were inspired by his integrity and the way he embodies the American Dream.
When Carson heard the voice of the people demanding that he run for president of the United States, he heard and weighed the call. The only other time in American history that such a drafting effort was successful was when Barry Goldwater was drafted by Republicans in 1964. The GOP establishment resisted that effort, too.
The idea of a common man or woman running for high public office seems appalling to political professionals who make a living off of our corrupt political system. Chris Christie remarked during the debates that it was amazing to try and decipher the words of the Washington politicians running; they squirm and twist their words to squelch any harm that may come to their candidacy.
Most people who play within the corrupting political arena learn how to lie out of convenience. They use their words to attack or defend, not to proclaim truth, because the arena is just one more public spectacle—a political “Hunger Games.”
That politicians work mainly for themselves and not for the nation says a great deal about them, but it says more about our political system. Because of the media, campaigns and the public mind can be manipulated by the political propaganda crafted by well-paid political marketers who are “just doing their jobs.”
Employees of big media conglomerates do the same; they “do their jobs,” whatever they are told by their bosses.
The “Dean for America” campaign imploded in 2004. Most people remember his meltdown in Iowa when, after leading in the polls weeks before the caucuses, he came in third. Many people get the memory backwards; they attribute his loss to the meltdown.
Joe Trippi, Dean’s campaign manager, revealed in his book, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” a number of behind-the- scenes antics that many people will brush off as “just politics.” He says that he orchestrated a strong attack ad against all three of the Democratic opponents that hurt the Gephardt campaign the most. Opposition ad companies went to work as if they were hard-selling guns.
“With a week to go, [before Iowa voting] and Gephart bleeding from our Iraq ad, his campaign made the decision … to take Dean down with him … they put up these ads aimed only at us. And as it turned out, these ads were even more deadly than they’d imagined. They took us both out of the race … both campaigns cratered, hitting their lowest poll numbers within just days left to go. We got Gephart’s people to call a truce and both sides pulled their ads, but by then the damage was done. Gephart had committed a murder-suicide, with us as the murder victim.”
Ronald Reagan tried to follow what he called the “11th commandment,” that one didn’t attack GOP opponents personally. That rule is ignored by some GOP candidates in this year’s combat. Reagan was accused of being too much of an ideologue, too old. He often ignored the insults or returned them with good-humor, as he did in his debate against Walter Mondale. “I want you to know that … I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
Carson is much more comfortable with Reagan’s amiable style than the other GOP candidates, especially when it comes to deflecting attacks against him. He doesn’t attack simply because it would guarantee him greater media coverage.
“We the People” persuaded Carson to run. He sees attacks against his fellow candidates as a way to weaken the GOP, as it did Democrats and the Dean campaign. But the media know how to push people’s buttons. A serious question is whether it is the media’s fault for baiting a fight, or the fault of the people for falling for it.
Carson and other “outsider’ candidates have risen in public favor because they inspire and excite voters. Americans are rejecting polished, professional politicians, men and women prepped and packaged for sale to the public. These politicians rarely have the interests of average Americans at heart. Power and money corrupt. Voters hardly count anymore.
Our system of representative democracy is predicated upon trust. It was woven into the Constitution. The most basic expectation is that elected officials will obey the law of the land and at least consider the will of the people.
Americans have seen this system erode as elected officials listen to money, not the will of the people. Elections are the only time when “We the People” have any say, and party establishments have tried to silence us even then. Hence the “outsiders”; we still care about integrity and trust.
When is the last time Americans sent an honest man to the White House?
“We the People” see the honesty and integrity of Ben Carson as the most important qualities that any president could possess. And Ben Carson sees that the people are still the most important element of the United States of America.