Photo: Gage Skidmore
At the Values Voters Summit in Washington, I listened to a Ben Carson speech–start to finish. Reporters, readers and voters usually catch a selected clip; listening to an entire speech is worth your time when you’ve got it.
Even with Dr. Carson.
Even if “speech” doesn’t quite capture what the retired neurosurgeon does when he takes a microphone in hand and starts talking.
Love him or hate him, Texas Senator Ted Cruz holds an audience captive when he delivers a speech that includes a prelude (usually a political joke), an introduction, a body, and a powerful conclusion.
Carson is another story. It’s been written that Lincoln (not to compare the two men) won the Civil War with the power of his rhetoric. It’s hard to imagine Carson as anything more than a rhetorical non-combatant in any struggle.
Who said the following? Ben Carson or Sarah Palin?
Even if you didn’t have a silver spoon in your mouth you could go to the library and it didn’t cost you anything to go there, unless you turned your book in late. So, you know, those are the kind of opportunities that I want to preserve for other people. And I really get irritated when people complain about America and they say that we are a terrible place and we are the source of all evil in the world. If we were so bad, why is everybody trying to get in here and nobody’s trying to escape? You know, that’s craziness.
You know, craziness.
Carson also took a stab at addressing his ongoing disagreement with the press over whether he said a Muslim should not be president of the United States.
His quote on Meet the Press was: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
What did he really intend?
And by the way — by the way, not advocating that they be president of the United States in no way precludes them from running. The last I checked, we all had the right to decide who we wanted to advocate for. We don’t have to, in any way, say that you must say this or you must say that. You know, political correctness is ruining our country and we need to stand up for what we actually believe. It’s ridiculous.
Again. Sarah Palin or Ben Carson?
Let me venture into political incorrectness.
Ben Carson is getting a bit of a free ride because he’s not a professional politician and therefore not expected to speak like one, name one, Rubio, Christie, whose speeches include road maps that provide the listener an idea of where the speaker is going.
And perhaps he’s getting a free ride because he’s black. Call it, quoting George W. Bush, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Reporters, his party, people responding to pollsters don’t expect much and aren’t getting it.
Carson is sincere, charming, disarming, and quite evidently intelligent. And he’s not a long-running joke, as was his party’s last African-American candidate for the presidency, Herman Cain.
Dr. Carson is not going to be president of the United States. So this is his moment. He ought to seize it and say something.
Something a little less Palinesque than:
Also, one nation under God. We have to stop allowing the progressives to drive God out of our land.
Lou Dubose is the editor of The Washington Spectator.