The other day, I received a comment from a reader, Scott Horn, who took me to task for a tweet I had posted saying that Dr. Ben Carson would not be getting the GOP nomination to be president. In some well-done sarcasm, he wrote:
"I wholeheartedly agree with your incisive comments about Dr. Carson being President. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon, to realize that an exceptionally smart, articulate, calm, rational and practical man is the last person who should be elected President, because the President should essentially reflect the mental acuity of those who elect him or her. Right?"
I always appreciate people who take the time to write, even when they disagree with me, and particularly when they do it as politely as I try to be. I posted a brief response, but said that I would reply more at length in a piece here. Keeping my word, this then is my more detailed explanation.
Of course, as most of us understand, being smart in one field does not inherently or remotely make one smart in another, especially a field in which they're profoundly unqualified, as Dr. Carson is in politics. And while being calm and articulate are extremely nice personality traits and helpful if you work a customer service phone line, they're not implicitly high on the list of what makes a good president. However, Mr. Horn's definition of "rational and practical" (as well as that aforementioned "articulate") is very different from mine.
Me, I find someone who believes that Obamacare "is slavery in a way," and the notion of evolution "was encouraged by the adversary" (the devil), and women who get abortions are like "slaveholders," and our society is "very much like Nazi Germany," and people "go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay," and "There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women," and with the IRS "we live in a Gestapo age" (I suspect that actual victims of the real Gestapo might be more outspoken on their disagreement with the doctor), and “what’s happening with the veterans [having long medical waiting lists at the VA] is a gift from God" to expose bureaucracy, and the likelihood of the Holocaust "would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed", ignoring the reality of the German war machine that dominated the armies of Europe, and if Republicans didn't win the senate in 2014 he didn't know if “there will even be an election in 2016” because of widespread anarchy, and when told that the President of the United States looks clean and elegant replied, "Like most psychopaths. That’s why they’re successful. That’s the way they look. They all look great," and a 10% flat tax to balance the budget "is based on tithing, because I think God is a pretty fair," and "I would say, 'Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all'" to end gun massacres, and "I would not sign an increased budget" when asked about the debt limit, which is a totally different thing and confused the two again when asked a follow-up clarification, and we should "monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists” in total violation of the First Amendment, and "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," that also violated the First Amendment, and "Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, 'I believe that you want the guy behind the counter'" -- not to be rational and practical.
Being President of the United States, commander-in-chief, leader of the free world, requires certain skill sets and qualifications that don't just come with being smart, calm and practical, even if the person was all those things. Above all, it requires training, skill, aptitude and experience, just like any job we consider not just important, but crucial to our well-being.
If being exceptionally smart, articulate, calm, rational and practical was all it took to be President of the United States, commander-in-chief and leader of the free world, there would several million highly-qualified people filling out job applications today. Though George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan would not have been among them. Though, as whimsy and irony would have it, Barack Obama would still be on the job.
But above all that, the main reason I say that Dr. Ben Carson will not be the GOP nominee for president because, even if he was the most brilliant politician and wonderful person in the world, I do not see today's Republican Party nominating a black man to lead them.
For one thing, they'd have to go back to all those states that have created voter suppression laws to keep black people from registering and getting to the polls and try to figure out how to explain why they don't need them any more -- or at least for the next election, after which they can put them all back into place. And try to re-organize ACORN which they had hounded into closure in order to now register as many black people as they could convince to be Republican. And find a new test case to bring to the Supreme Court to re-engage the entire Voting Rights Act.
And then convince their base to stay at home so that as many of them as possible don't go to the polls to just vote for the white guy.
And then, the Republican Party would have to somehow come up with some sort of explanation as to why their outrage in 2007 that U.S. Senator and former Illinois State Senator Barack Obama was unqualified to be president because they said he was supposedly too inexperienced for the job didn't actually apply anymore, especially to someone with zero experience.
And then Dr. Ben Carson still wouldn't get the GOP nomination to be President of the United States because of...well, all the other reasons above.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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