On Monday, Dr. Ben Carson, renowned neurosurgeon turned conservative presidential aspirant, implied that Barack Obama could be guilty of treason if he fights Congress on a clean bill for funding Homeland Security. On Newsmax TV’s America’s Forum, hosted by J.D. Hayworth, Carson hurled the hyperbolic accusation, stating:
I would say break the funding for Homeland Security up into parcels. Don’t present it as a whole bill. That makes it much more difficult for [Obama] to stand in the way. And, if he does stand in the way, particularly things that are vital to the security of this country, then we can start talking about treason. If things are done to the contrary to the security of this country, whoever does them is guilty of treason.
Treason is a crime that involves betraying the country by waging war upon the United States or by aiding and abetting America’s enemies. It is a capital offense, and a person found guilty of treason, can be sentenced to death and executed. Carson strongly disagrees with President Obama’s decision to fight Congress over their efforts to tie Homeland Security funding to rescinding his immigration executive order. However, nothing the President is doing, comes close to what any reasonable legal scholar would define as treason.
Engaging in hyperbolic rhetoric is nothing new for Dr. Carson. In his efforts to appeal to his Tea Party supporters, Carson is constantly ratcheting up his rhetoric to make the most shocking comments he can muster, in the hopes that it will rally his fanatic followers. In 2013, Carson infamously remarked that Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery”.
While Carson’s hyperbolic excess may please the extreme right-wing in the Republican Party, his penchant for making inflammatory statements is a non-starter for more sober-minded voters. Grabbing headlines may boost Dr. Carson’s ego, but they also show him to be lacking in the character and temperament needed to run a disciplined presidential campaign. Accusing the President of treason plays well at Newsmax, but it also demonstrates that Ben Carson is not ready for prime time.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.