Donald Trump is not the only person that is upsetting the conventional wisdom as the 2016 presidential race continues to rev up toward the caucuses and primaries beginning in February.
Another who is making short shrift of what is expected of and thought about those who seek the highest job in the land is a retired neurosurgeon – Dr. Ben Carson.
Carson, like Trump, is an unconventional type who is climbing in the crowded Republican field of presidential wannabes. He has never held public office. He says what he thinks sometimes to the chagrin of his campaign staff and supporters. He does not always get it right and has to clarify or backtrack.
But Carson is making steady inroads and has moved into the #2 spot in the Iowa polls. He has pulled within 5 points of Trump with 18% to 23%. Nationwide Carson has a 10.5% composite compared to Trump’s 23.5%, good enough for the second pole position.
Who exactly is this world-renowned surgeon?
His quip at the first debate earlier this month garnered the most laughs. Carson noted that he is a brain surgeon, but that politicians in Washington seemed to have not waited on him before having a lobotomy.
Carson has a certain folksy way about him that is attracting fans from the most conservative to moderates. His appeal extends beyond Republican voters to independents and some Democrats.
As I noted earlier, Carson has opened his mouth to insert his foot a few times. One such incident was when he claimed that prison makes one gay.
Many see Carson as this campaign season’s GOP response to President Barack Obama. Carson, I am sure, will not hold voters’ color against them.
He believes that it is passed time for the nation to move beyond race. A belief that has rankled some within the African-American community.
The doctor is decidedly pro-life. He is for a balanced budget amendment. On education, Carson is firm on “local control” of elementary and secondary schooling. He is resolute on protecting the Second Amendment and right to bear arms.
The doctor sees Israel as the bulwark ally in our fight with terrorism. He is for a 15-minute tax form, thus paring the current, over-the-top tax code. Carson believes that the Guantanamo Bay prison to contain terrorists should remain open.
Faith is essential to our society, Carson believes, and must be guarded. The doctor advocates health care savings account over the Affordable Care Act and a return to greater patient/physician interaction.
Lastly, the good doctor, as Mitt Romney before him, sees Russia as a danger we must be prepared to withstand. He sees the aggression in the Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a warning of how, if we let our guard down, Russia will keep marching and seizing territory.
On his website (http://bencarson.com), the candidate does not flesh out the policy positions beyond a paragraph or two. There is a link to sign-up and proclaim, “I Stand with Ben”, on every page. There is also a suggestion to get the doctor’s books to understand his positions.
The fundamental question voters must ask of candidates such as Carson and Trump, who have never held office, is whether the lack of experience will hurt, hinder or be a disqualifier. Many Republicans over the last seven years have pointed out that lack of experience with President Obama. The experience question has been a rallying cry and a good fundraising appeal.
Will the GOP voters give Carson a pass on experience because of the irritation and anger with the typical politician?
From the Desert with my feet firmly planted in the Cornfield, he may not be getting the media attention, but Dr. Ben Carson is striking a chord in the heartland with GOP and independent voters tired of the way things have always been.
Carson will be interesting to view, learn about and listen to as the race continues.
While his time was very limited in the first debate, when the doctor had the mic, he made the best use of it and time with repartee which rang true with voters.
Come September 16, when CNN hosts the next debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, will the doctor get more time?
Will Carson be able to spark interest and still the sound bytes once again?
The Doctor will see you now – are you ready for your examination?