Ben Carson, the world-renowned African American neurosurgeon, could be the new black face of the Republican Party.
Considered a rising star in the conservative movement, Carson has implied that he’s open to running for president and proved he certainly isn’t shy about criticizing President Barack Obama.
Carson, 61, who grew up in Detroit, says Obama is dangerously divisive.
“Let’s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation,” Carson said during last month’s National Prayer Breakfast. “I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now.”
And this past weekend, during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Carson received a standing ovation after he speculated about what could happen “if you magically put me in the White House.”
Republicans can hardly contain their excitement about Carson mentioning the “White House” at a political confab.
I don’t have a problem with Carson jumping into politics. And I don’t have a problem with Carson running for president as a Republican if he plans to call out Republican leaders for being racially insensitive, racially divisive, and unresponsive to minority voters.
If Carson seriously intends to run for the highest office in the land, then he should be honest about the Republican Party and shake up the party by telling the truth.
But when Carson told conservatives that the Affordable Care Act should be dismantled; and that wealthy Americans have always given back; and that people are not going hungry on the streets, that government social programs are providing for them, his rhetoric sounded like it came straight out the Republican political playbook.
And Carson didn’t stop there. He also took aim at blacks who chastised him for criticizing Obama.
“When did we reach a point where you have to have a certain philosophy because of the color of your skin?” Carson asked.
Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon and could possibly become a brilliant politician, but even with the best of intentions, Carson would have an uphill battle changing the entrenched mindset of some bigoted Republicans who refuse to acknowledge America’s rapidly changing racial demographics.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Carson is flirting with Republican politics at a time when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced that Republicans plan to spend $10 million this year on a campaign to reach out to black and Hispanic voters.
“We’re going to be announcing a $10 million initiative just this year and it will include hundreds of people, paid across the country, from coast-to-coast, in Hispanic and African American, Asian communities, talking about our party, talking about our brand, talking about what we believe in,” Priebus said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
“We have become a party that parachutes into communities four months before an election,” said Priebus. “In comparison to the other side, the Obama campaign lived in these communities for years. The relationships were deep, they were authentic.”
Does this speech-making sound familiar? It should. Republicans always talk about minority outreach after they get a political beat down.
But Carson is a Republican’s dream candidate: He grew up in poverty but became one of the world’s most celebrated pediatric neurosurgeons.
And he’s black.
It doesn’t matter if Carson runs for president in 2016 because he’s already emerging as a powerful voice in the Republican Party and says he’s impressed with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, an ultra-conservative and Tea Party favorite.
I just hope Carson uses his voice to push for racial inclusion within the GOP instead of simply going along to get along.