Bad news for Republican voters: Dr. Ben Carson might not have been a “thug” who was saved by Jesus in his Detroit bathroom.
CNN was unable to corroborate the tear-stained stories of redemption Seventh-day Adventist Ben Carson tells on the trail, from attempted stabbings to top polling GOP presidential candidate.
On the hunt in the 2016 Republican presidential candidate’s native home of Southwestern Detroit, CNN talked to nine neighbors and friends trying to find anyone who recalled the “pathological temper” Carson describes in his book, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story”.
Nobody recalls that Ben Carson. No one remembers the Ben Carson who supposedly tried to attack his mother with a hammer or punched a classmate in the face or hurling a rock and smashing the nose of a young boy.
Instead, they tell CNN they remember a nerdy Ben Carson, quiet, bookish, with a pocket protector. “That was not his demeanor around here,” a neighbor told CNN. “With us he was always calm, easy…” the neighbor continued. His sister said she never saw violence or anger and he was a “nice young man.”
Timothy McDaniel, a friend of Carson’s, told CNN the descriptions Carson gives on the Trump are not the guy he knew. He remembers Carson as an academically driven young man, “… never stooping to the level of the common thug.” His friend suggested that maybe Carson tried to hide this side of himself out of embarrassment. A tenth person said maybe he heard about the attempted stabbing at school.
Yes, that’s right, Dr. Carson might just be an ordinary kid who studied really hard and became a great neurosurgeon, and now he’s a leading contender for the GOP nomination for president.
What’s so bad about that? Well, working hard to rise above your circumstances doesn’t resonate with evangelicals. You have to be a stereotyped version of a sinner first and then be saved. If you’re black, best to be a thug. If you’re a pretty white woman, see Roxie Hart. Etc. You need a good story to be a good con artist, and the good story needs to fit in with the bigotry of your marks, to validate their prejudices and make them feel elevated, chosen, and ultimately, superior. So Carson needs to be a dangerous, violent thug saved by the Bible.
Carson’s campaign won’t help CNN with their “witch-hunt”, aka they can’t or won’t provide names of any of Carson’s alleged victims.
What does it say about the modern Republican party that one of the leading Republican candidates for president calls CNN saying maybe he wasn’t a thug a “witch-hunt”.
It’s bizarre isn’t it. They don’t trust President Barack Obama because he’s black and therefor a “thug”, but they love Ben Carson, who claims he was a thug until Jesus saved him in his bathroom. But if Carson wasn’t really a thug, that will be bad news for him with Republican voters.
Luckily, when courting evangelicals or Fox News watchers, a candidate needn’t bother with reality or facts or evidence.
Carson was a violent thug because he said so. Sure, no one is coming forward to claim their 15 minutes of fame as one of his many alleged victims, but disregard this and just believe.
Carson is okay being a liar with Republican primary voters, but in a general election, lying about your past to this degree will not play well. So dies the “but he’s such a great person” comeback to Carson’s increasingly troubling statements on the trail. Now he’s going to be branded as dishonest and unauthentic, and nobody wants to have a beer with that.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.