In an effort to draw attention to his Kim Kardashian-style vanity campaign, Ben Carson took his contrived outrage mongering against Cruz to a new level yesterday. During one of his numerous media appearances over the past three days, which is more actual campaigning than he’s done for the past few months while he took a hiatus to sell books, Carson compared Cruz’s behavior in Iowa to Hillary following the Benghazi tragedy.
Enough is enough.
If Carson wants to talk about the depths of deception and dishonesty he should “start looking at the man in the mirror.”
I was born and bred in Baltimore and grew up in the shadow of Dr. Carson’s stupendous reputation as ‘America’s Surgeon.’ I’ve never thought anything but admirable sentiments towards him, but his behavior this week reveals a man who is either running a scam or should be disqualified from running for office due to incompetency.
A few months ago, when Donald Trump referred to Carson as pathological and compared him to a child molester, Carson had nothing to say. He was completely impotent. And in fact, his numbers tanked shortly thereafter. Yet, when Cruz’s campaign took Carson’s absurd and bizarre campaign statement about going home to Florida as a sign he was dropping out of the race, Carson went nuclear. And despite Cruz’s gracious apology, Carson accepted it… but then went on the media circuit savaging him.
The definition of a coward is someone who “lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.” When facing Donald Trump, Carson knew he would endure unpleasant things by confronting him. Whereas when confronting Cruz, Carson knows that he will never attack him personally. Moreover, he knows that because the media is out to destroy Cruz they will grant him an audience for his languishing campaign and slurp up any allegation he launches at him, irrespective of the facts or soundness of his charge.
What is more insidious is that Carson is using this attack to further obfuscate his seemingly scam campaign and in doing so he is actually proving the point of the Cruz campaign and why they thought he was dropping out in the first place.
Why did Cruz and other campaigns believe that “returning to Florida” might signal he was dropping out? First, because he told the media before the caucuses were even finished of his odd post-caucus plans. Even two of Carson’s former aides have gone on the record stating this was a mistake and all but clearing the Cruz campaign. Add to that the fact that Carson has not, until mid-day Friday, held a single event in New Hampshire and South Carolina during the heat of the campaign. Just this week, he has let go 50 “non-essential” employees (non-essential, just like federal bureaucracies!). He has, by any objective measure, dropped out of the race. Yet, he is only in the race to the extent that he is attacking Cruz on TV and raising money off his feigned outrage…..not so that he can use that money to campaign for the nomination, but continue reinvesting it in his direct mail vendors. Thus, the circuitous cycle of a what appears to be a scam operation that has raised almost $54 million – more than any other candidate except Bernie Sanders – but burn through 88% of it and poll roughly the same as Carly Fiorina in New Hampshire.
There are other candidates who have not performed well, such as Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Carly Fiorina. But those candidates, especially after they tanked in the polls, didn’t raise significant sums of money and used the few dollars to barnstorm through the early states. Rick Santorum actually had more campaign stops in the final week of the Iowa campaign than anyone else. Where has Ben Carson been?
What appears to be the actual deception and dishonesty here is Ben Carson’s fleecing of his donors and supporters. The media is still not interested in asking Carson tough questions as to why he has not made it back to the early states. He stopped in North Carolina yesterday but didn’t go to South Carolina, which holds its primary sooner. What has he done with all the money he raised?
In some sense Ben Carson is right about Ted Cruz. Carson’s behavior this week demonstrates that indeed Cruz does owe him another apology. Cruz should apologize for thinking Carson would respond to his apology honorably. As such, the only logical conclusion anyone could make from such a bizarre campaign announcement, which came on the heels of months of sparse campaigning in Iowa, is that he was dropping out of the race. Nobody would ever suspect he’d spend the week doing vanity media, raising millions of dollars, and not stepping foot in New Hampshire or South Carolina…unless the entire campaign served as nothing but the sole purpose of raising money. There isn’t a strategy on earth where a candidate can finish fourth in Iowa, skip most campaign days leading up to New Hampshire and South Carolina, and then somehow take the rest of the nation by storm.
It’s a real shame what politics can do to people. Unfortunately, while Carson has been slow to pick up the policy knowledge of a career politician he has been quick to learn the worst acts of chicanery that are characteristic of career politicians.
Had Cruz run such a vanity campaign, raising millions spending most of it on fundraising mailers while declining to run a serious campaign, the media would be asking tough questions. Had Cruz announced he couldn’t find the nearest dry cleaners and was returning home for a week to get some clothes, thereby missing the critical campaign days in the important states, he would have been the subject of endless parodies on Saturday Night Live.
But given that Carson is using his own exercise in self-parody to project dishonesty on Ted Cruz, the media is stone silent. And meanwhile, Ben Carson is having the time of his life.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.