Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series covering why each and every candidate for president in 2016 is an awful human being who should not for the love of God be elected to any position of responsibility ever.

Doctor Ben Carson is chilling his way to the presidency. Alright, maybe the world-renowned, retired neurosurgeon and author of eight books is not going to win, but neither is he going to get off the national stage in a timelier manner than he got onto the New Hampshire debate one.

The funny thing about Carson is that he had a moment before he ended up in his current limping, four-delegate strong place. For part of the fall he was polling as high as anyone except for Donald Trump. He even had similar outsider cred, being a famous-ish surgeon instead of a politician.

Savvy pundits might claim he lost his footing because of his complete ignorance of foreign policy was revealed in rambling answers. But it truly seems to be that Carson exists on a more somnambulant plane of existence than the rest of us. Trump is a straining Rottweiler about to break his chain, and Carson is a puppy curled up on a sunny windowsill too dozy to remember his opinion about Crimea. However, even if Carson ever got a cup of good coffee in him — or let’s be honest, something a little stronger — he would still have plenty of horrible qualities that would disqualify him from the highest (heh) office in the land.


Carson has said some very weird things about gay people over the years, most memorably that it’s a choice because sometimes in prison men have homosexual contact. He believes gay people are protected under the Constitution and all and should have their contracts and visitations honored, but they shouldn’t be able to get hitched. Like so many other candidates, he has curtly nodded to the Supreme Court ruling of “tough shit, gays have federal marriage rights,” but he is not excited about it.

When it comes to reproductive choice, Carson might accept abortion if a woman’s life is in danger. No other excuse will do, including rape and incest, which is both terrible and sort of consistent. According to Carson himself, he even talked a patient out of aborting her fetus, which suffered from hydrocephalus, and the mother was later glad. This could be bullshit, or it could be true and a convenient pro-life parable.

Like any good would-be president, Carson had a dramatic, poverty-filled climb to the top. As a young man he also had problems that resulted in him attacking his mom, a classmate and trying to stab a friend. This stabbing was later portrayed and possibly exaggerated in the 2009 TV movie Gifted Hands, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. In fact, Carson allegedly exaggerated a great deal of his baditude, which is a weird angle to take in a country that was tough on crime five minutes ago.


Anyway, the point is that Carson gets to tell a tale of how he became virtuous and rose out of poverty to become an (admittedly ballsy) neurosurgeon. And now that he’s fully risen, he gets to suggest terrible ideas such as picking up the pace on the war on drugs. Carson is unafraid of clichés such as marijuana as a gateway drug, and he is confident in any and all studies that say it makes you stupid. He is, however, willing to let it be used for medical cases if truly necessary.

Carson admits that racial profiling with cops does happen (he might know all too well about such things), and he is for body cameras on cops, though you have to wonder if he will keep being for such steps if the criminal justice reform backlash continues the way it has among prominent Republicans such as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

In spite of the stupid shit he says about President Obama being “raised white,” or a Muslim not being able to be a U.S. president, Carson has proved himself to be an impure defender of free speech. In one his books Carson suggested that the Supreme Court erred in defending the rights of the troglodytes at the Westboro Baptist Church to protest funerals. However, Carson repeatedly violated Godwin’s law by comparing the U.S. and its “PC” climate to Nazi Germany. He also memorably said in 2013, “You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

For a while Carson had one of the more humanitarian policy plans about immigration. He wanted a path to citizenship. By August 2015 he was rambling about how drones could be used to blow up caves that immigrants hide in, but not to kill them.

Being a staunch Seventh-Day Adventist, Carson has a rich history of doubting evolution, carbon dating and the Big Bang. He has vaguely spoken in support of freedom of religion. It remains to be seen how staunchly he would support anti-science policies if we fell into the equally-fanciful-as-Carson’s-scientific-beliefs scenario in which he becomes president.

Poor Carson couldn’t keep up with how much warmongering America and the GOP wanted in 2016. First he was the man who was both opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and who noted the dangers of having the U.S. military all over the world. Then he foundered horribly when asked about his foreign policy plans during debates.

He also might be in favor of going to war against Russia, if need be, which is something the U.S. avoided for the last century, but sure, why not now?

At some point he went into war overdrive: torture is fine, ISIS must go and caring about dead innocents is unrealistic. That hasn’t helped improve his poll numbers, but at least it makes him look like he’s one of the boys when he uses nonsensical patient tumor-removal metaphors when attempting to answer questions about civilian casualties. He also might be in favor of going to war against Russia, if need be, which is something the U.S. avoided for the last century, but sure, why not now?

They were there, and then they weren’t. Did they move over to the bouncier outsider Trump, or did they just forget about Carson the way everyone else did once he won eighth place in the New Hampshire primary? He didn’t do that badly in the Iowa Caucus, the Nevada one or the other primaries. He’s just done unexceptionally in every single one. However, Carson’s money-raising machine finally ran aground this month, and did multiple members of his campaign were called into question for possibly deliberately mishandling the large amounts of revenue raised. Basically, Carson’s supporters were the ones making money off of working for Carson.

Kid Rock is down with Ben Carson, and so is MMA fighter Vitor Belfort. That certainly runs the gamut of endorsements from a to b.

Like any other non-traditional candidate, this could have been Carson’s year if not for Trump. Some people like a Seventh-Day Adventist who doesn’t even sound particularly hateful when he’s saying homophobic stuff or suggesting that more bombing would be good for America. Carson can tell tall tales like any other candidate, be it enhancing the troubled quality of his troubled youth or claiming the delegates at the Constitutional Convention prayed when they didn’t or that the pyramids of Egypt were grain silos. However, he is most of all a wispy, space cadet of a man who appears to mean well but also not be 100 percent sure what he means.

Furthermore, being a neurosurgeon – hell, writing a bunch of stupid inspirational books even – is much more worthwhile than being the president. Like Sen. Rand Paul, Carson has already spent part of his life actually helping people with medical care, not oppressing them in some form. Whatever knack or soullessness a truly gifted politician must possess, Carson does not seem to have it. It is not a bad thing that the TV movie about Carson’s quixotic campaign will not be called Gifted Mouth. Trump also speaks in gibberish, but he has the swagger to somehow pull it off. The people have spoken, and they have chosen the more confident bullshitter.

Lucy Steigerwald is a contributing editor for Antiwar.com. Twitter: @lucystag.


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