A video of prominent neurosurgeon Ben Carson blasting President Obama at last week's National Prayer Breakfast has gone viral. With Obama sitting a few feet away, Carson criticized the notion that the wealthy should pay more taxes and proposed a flat tax, saying that God had spelled out such a system as fair with descriptions of tithing in the Bible. Without mentioning ObamaCare, he also said that the best health-care reform would be to give every American a health-care spending account at birth, so everyone would take charge of his or her care to keep spending low.
Since the breakfast, conservatives have been lavishing Carson with praise. The Wall Street Journal even went so far as to publish an editorial under the headline, "Ben Carson for President." Carson, a devout Seventh Day Adventist who rose from poverty to prominence preaching against the culture of dependency, is already a "black celebrity role model." Could he really be a contender for the presidency — presumably for the GOP — in 2016?
Carson certainly showed he has the courage to be a national political figure if he wants to, says Elahe Izadi at National Journal. "Raised by a single mother in a poverty-stricken home," he "went on to become a top Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon," and didn't break a sweat as he politely criticized Obama while the stone-faced president sat just a few feet away.
If conservatives are looking for a political outsider with an inspiring rags-to-riches story and who could effectively challenge President Obama's policies on health care and taxes while also quoting Scripture and criticizing political correctness, look no further than Ben Carson. [National Journal]
Dr. Carson is undeniably "a phenomenon on the right," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. His speech has a million-plus hits on YouTube, and he has followed it up with two appearances on Fox News. Still, "it's completely unrealistic, needless to say, for a total political novice to contend seriously for a presidential nomination, even one as personally accomplished as Carson." Conservatives will need a national figure with a track record to win back the White House.
Senator is a more likely bet, but Carson has the misfortune of living in one of the most reliably blue states in America. Maryland hasn’t sent a Republican to the Senate in more than 25 years... He could, of course, move across the border to Virginia and take his chances there, but the next Senate election is in 2014 against Mark Warner — who won with 65 percent of the vote last time. Second look at running for the House instead? [Hot Air]
Plus, there was nothing presidential about Carson's speech, suggested Cal Thomas at Fox News. If anything, he owes Obama an apology. The prayer breakfast is supposed to be an occasion for politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, to set aside their differences for one morning. Carson only showed that "our politics have become so polarized and corrupted that a president of the United States cannot even attend an event devoted to drawing people closer to God and bridge partisan and cultural divides without being lectured about his policies."
Carson is a great example of what perseverance can accomplish and his success is a rebuke to the entitlement-envy-greed mentality. By lowering himself to mention policies with which he disagrees, he diluted the power of a superior message.
His remarks were inappropriate for the occasion. It would have been just as inappropriate had he praised the president's policies. The president had a right to expect a different message about another Kingdom. I'm wondering if the president felt drawn closer to God, or bludgeoned by the Republican Party and the applauding conservatives in the audience. [Fox News]
And "it requires some pretty selective editing to see Dr. Carson's speech as some kind of conservative manifesto," says the Baltimore Sun in an editorial. He spent more time calling for society "to reward good students as it does successful athletes than he did on the flat tax or HSAs combined."
That could all change, though, suggests Thomas Lifson at American Thinker. Carson is "not avidly pursuing the presidency, though he tells Neil Cavuto that if he had a nickel for every time he has been urged to run for president, he could finance a campaign." Plus, the good doctor is retiring from surgery in part so he can pursue his passion for politics, which, he says himself, "does open a lot of possibilities..." Sounds like we might be hearing more from Dr. Ben Carson.
See for yourself: