(Disclaimer from Elementary Politics Staff. These articles were compiled in April. There has not been a single debate. We fully admit that it is too early for any rational person to settle on any one candidate. A dark horse that we now think has no chance may rise, someone who looks great may find their inner Todd Akin and blow it. The most we can do is look at the limited information we have at present and look for glaring red flags on which to completely dismiss a candidate at this early stage. But at this point no clear endorsement is being made by Elementary Politics…although we do believe several of them have some glaring red flags).
Ben Carson will announce whether or not he’s running on Monday, May 4th.
Where to begin with Ben Carson? He is a self-made man who came from nothing, went to medical school and is still regarded as a brilliant neurosurgeon. His medical skills and track record is indisputable. He is by all accounts a very smart man. His politics however are a bit of a mix, mainly due to his mostly vague statements.
He claims to have been raising a lot of money since he launched his exploratory committee, and says he will make a final decision in May as to whether or not to run.
Like every presidential candidate will, he has declared that the national debt is at unsustainable levels.
Ben Carson follows the idea of letting the market do its job, operating in a Free-Market system. This would involve getting rid of certain, unspecified government regulations. Additionally, should he ever reach higher office, he would cut 10% of the budget of every federal agency without exception.
Carson has remarked, either very optimistically or very naively, that the economy will be easy to fix once we have a conservative president. Through tax reform, cutting down on regulations, and exploiting all our natural resources while simultaneously developing alternatives, we can flourish. Of course, all conservatives agree.
He has spoken out against universal health care. As for ObamaCare, he has claimed that it prevents us from controlling our own lives. He thinks that we are in dire need of healthcare reform, and health savings accounts are one solution he has proposed. He would do a serious overhaul of the mandate. He even drew parallels between Obamacare and slavery. His solution is less government involvement, empowering the individual and stiffer penalties for insurance fraud. He also believes that insurance companies should operate as not-for-profit.
He believes we need a pension system due to increasing life expectancy, but that Social Security should only be supplemental and people should save as much as they can for retirement. He wants to raise the age at which people can start collecting Social Security. In the same interview, he said that “greed” was largely responsible for economic downturns and that some regulation of investment banking is needed. Which could be potential turn-offs to adamant fiscal conservatives and libertarians. His belief that a flat tax is ideal, however, may be redeeming.
He mentioned in his book “One Nation” that we could incorporate some aspects of “socialism” while remaining a largely capitalist society. For example, the government could subsidize medical school for everyone, encouraging more people to go and lessening their stress levels when they start their careers.
If economic policy like this sounds familiar…it should. It’s the same stuff we heard from Ricky Santorum last time…and the social issues are pretty much the same as well.
Although Carson has no experience relevant to foreign policy, he has made comments about it. For example, he believes that a war against an enemy like ISIS should be fought with “no rules,” meaning our side does what it takes to win. ISIS needs to be wiped out, according to him, and Iran should never have a chance at nuclear weapons. He has said that if Iran launched a nuke, they should be made “nonexistent.”
He supported getting rid of Saddam Hussein, but opposed the war in Iraq. As for Afghanistan, he thought it wasn’t worthwhile to attempt to bring peace and democracy to a society with so many inter-ethnic tensions. He thinks our issues in the Middle East would be lessened if we became energy independent.
He is in no way isolationist or anti-war, but he wants us to pick our fights carefully. The details of how to do this have yet to come.
When it comes to immigration reform, Carson supports a guest-worker program, holding employers responsible for hiring illegal aliens, and preventing current illegal aliens from ever achieving citizenship.
Although some worry that he supports gun control, he says he does believe in the Second Amendment, but thinks some types of weapons could be banned in cities.
Carson is a social conservative. Some of his views may be a turn off to moderates (or people who ever want to win), especially those on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, which, let’s face it, a candidate might have to express some openness to these days. He has made controversial statements, such as including gay couples in the same sentence as NAMBLA and proponents of bestiality, and claiming that prisons show homosexuality is a choice. He has openly endorsed Indiana’s RFRA, claiming it is “vital” we support such First Amendment protections. He has claimed that abortion is murder, although he has also stated that abortion is a secondary issue for him – something staunchly pro-life voters might be concerned about, but which might make him more appealing to moderates. Carson makes “faith and family” central to his speeches. He talks a great deal about God and reading the Bible, which will appeal to Christian conservatives, though it could be a turn-off to conservatives and moderates who are not Christian.
He pretty much just lost the gay vote. Or it will be incredibly difficult for him to regain it. His comment about how being gay is a choice has landed him into very hot water. Social issue voters will find it hard to connect with Carson. It will give him an edge with radical social republicans. But there are very few of them.
Where foreign policy is concerned he’s still learning, something he himself has stated and, while that is excellent for him, a president should already know something about foreign policy. He himself stated “I‘ve read a lot in the last six months, no question about that there’s a lot of material to learn. There’s no question about that.”
The Bible is a tool for him that he has used and bases a lot of his politics out of. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, however it will make him less appealing to non-Christian, moderate, and liberal voters. Faith is important and we cannot ask any presidential candidate to be impious. However using the Bible as a source for every decision will make it difficult for him to find supporters who are not strictly religious.
Is he qualified to be President? He’s very smart, but has no experience in politics. He has had leadership roles, such as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, and he and his wife started the Carson Scholars Fund to support young people with outstanding achievements and to establish Carson Reading Rooms in several states. But he has never run a company or a state or anything even could tell us if has the skill set needed to run the executive branch.
There would be some issues with him as a nominee: a tendency to make controversial comments that offend many, lack of experience holding public office, the possibility that he will be seen as a “token” black Republican. He’s also a bit on the older side, though younger than Clinton.
There’s a concern for the black community – and let’s face it, race is an issue in our politics. He has a success story to share. He also might be refreshing to people tired of politicians, whom they view as phony, hypocritical, and corrupt. He certainly feels no need to toe the party line on anything, or to go along with what’s popular – which has won, and will continue to win him, a lot of fans and a lot of haters.
Honestly he would work best as a man in charge of healthcare, either as an adviser, or something else relating to that field. This is his strength, this is what he had done best. He has no political experience and despite his appeal to the Tea Party he could do more harm than good. Have him in politics, but he doesn’t seem to understand exactly what he’s getting into.
Experience means a lot and sadly, while Carson has written a number of books, is a very successful man, and a very smart one, his lack of political experience is concerning. Granted one does not need to be a career politician in order to be president, but a certain amount of experience in decision making and the political sphere would be welcome.