Sunday, November 15, 2015

Carson: Not Ready for Prime Time

Ben Carson is not ready. He’s not just unprepared to be the president. His behavior in the last week or so has shown us he’s unprepared to even run for the office.
First, the press began questioning Carson’s claim, made in books and public appearances, that the former commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, Gen. William Westmoreland, met the 17-year-old Carson at a dinner in Detroit on Memorial Day 1969 and was so impressed that the young man was soon offered a “full scholarship” to West Point.
Except, as investigators from the online news site Politico pointed out, West Point doesn’t work that way. You have to apply to be nominated, preferably in the spring of your junior year. Then you undergo a “rigorous vetting process,” and if you’re accepted, the government covers all the costs.
You don’t just get offered a scholarship after dinner, even if that dinner was with a four-star general. In any case, there’s no record of Carson ever applying. Oh, and as it turns out, records show that Westmoreland was in D.C. that Memorial Day of 1969, not Detroit.
Pressed by reporters, Carson’s campaign backpedaled, telling Politico that Carson’s meeting with Westmoreland was “brief,” and that he “couldn’t remember it with any specificity.” As for the date, they said, well, maybe it was February 1969, not May. Except as Esquire reporter Robert Bateman pointed out, the spring of Carson’s junior year, when the process would need to have begun, was in 1968.
Even more bizarre was the controversy regarding other claims Carson has made about his youth, when his “violent temper” caused him to try to attack his mother with a hammer and, on one occasion, to attempt to stab a classmate.
A CNN investigation, however, found no one from the area or the time period who could remember Carson being such a violent kid or recall any of the incidents he described. So then we were treated to the surreal spectacle of a major political campaign trying to insist that the candidate was TOO a murderous little thug, and they could prove it, but they didn’t have to — so there, liberal media.
It seems that, faced with the type of scrutiny one should expect when one becomes a front-runner for the most powerful job in the world, Carson immediately fell back to the old tactic of whining about how he’s being picked on by the “liberal media” and then added the patently ludicrous claim that no one ever says anything bad about President Obama.
“I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite.” Carson went on to say that “no one wanted to talk about” figures from Obama’s past such as Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Jeremiah Wright.
If Dr. Carson thinks that, then all I can say is he must have been locked away in surgery every moment of the years 2007-2012, and that operating room must have been on a desert island with no TV, radio, or Internet. He also doesn’t seem to realize that the fact that all those names come so quickly to his lips directly contradicts the idea that nobody talked about them.
In fact, the so-called liberal media talked incessantly about all of those people, along with questioning Obama’s religion, his college drug use, his grade school, his father, his father’s friends, his sexuality, even whether he was a native-born American. As I’ve pointed out before, when a wingnut complains that Obama was never “vetted,” what he or she is really saying is “nobody bought into the ridiculous stuff we made up about Barack Obama.”
It is absolutely true that, during the now-eternal presidential election cycle, the media engage in a frenzied search for the scandal or gaffe of the week. It is true that they obsess over trivia, to a point so extreme that it’s almost impossible to parody. Remember “Tip-Gate,” when the “serious” pundits were all abuzz about whether Hillary Clinton left a tip in a diner, or whether the tip was too big? Remember Chris Matthews’ shock that Barack Obama ordered orange juice instead of coffee in a diner?
I will agree, it’s all very, very stupid. But that stupidity gets directed at every candidate, and how you deal with it is one of the tests of your ability to lead. To cry that you’re the only one being picked on when it happens to you is the sign of a rookie. An amateur. Someone who’s not ready to play in the big leagues.And this week, Ben Carson proved that he is not ready.