I Was Wrong; Ben Carson May Be Genuinely Dangerous

Back in May, when Dr. Carson announced he was joining the GOP clown parade, I thought he stood the risk of damaging a long, worthwhile career in neurosurgery with a sideline in personal inspiration for an under-thought attempt to… sell more books, or improve his name recognition, or work through the grief of his beloved mother’s declining health. So I figured he’d be mostly ignored, maybe thumped around by some of the more aggressive GOPer candidates as a practice dummy, and eventually disappear into the triva-game mists with Lincoln Chafee and Larry Lessig.

According to the latest poll from Bloomberg Politics and the Des Moines Register, Carson is ahead of the pack with 28 percent of the vote. But more interesting are the facts behind his rise. Iowans aren’t just charmed by his demeanor, his experience, and his inexperience as a politician and policymaker—although that’s definitely true—they also support his most controversial, and entirely ludicrous, ideas…

… The vast majority of Iowa Republicans are still undecided. As the caucus comes closer, their preference might change. And other candidates, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, are also popular with GOP voters in the state. What it does mean, if anything, is that Carson speaks the language of Iowa Republicans. They like his rhetoric, whether it’s absurd, ignorant, or genuinely offensive…

What I didn’t appreciate was the Chauncey Gardiner effect — the degree to which a soft-spoken, well-intentioned innocent from within a sealed bubble could become a figurehead for some of the worst and most dangerous impulses in modern American politics. Dr. Carson is a devout Seventh Day Adventist, and a gifted surgeon, and his particular gifts and circumstances have apparently protected him from exposure to any information that might conflict with a trophy cupboard of 1950s moral axioms and 1980s neoconservative financial theories.

As the NYTimes perceives it, “Calm Manner Has Ben Carson Rising in Polls“:

… “That smile and his soft voice makes people very comforted,” said Miriam Greenfield, a farmer in Jewell, Iowa.

In an election season that has confounded party leaders and experts, the rise of Mr. Carson is another unexpected twist. His supporters cite Mr. Carson’s character, not his positions, as the main reason they back him. And they say his low-key approach is precisely what would tame Washington’s bitter partisanship, rather than Mr. Trump’s swagger.

“He is kind when he speaks, and he doesn’t have an agenda to set himself up as wonderful,” said Donna Christiansen, a retiree in Ames.

What is more, Mr. Carson’s provocative comments on topics like Nazism and slavery, which pundits and commentators regularly denounce, seem only to deepen the enthusiasm his evangelical base feels for him. He has connected with Republican women here, who prefer him to Mr. Trump. And he has built momentum far from the political establishment, which was unimpressed with his debate performances and his lack of governing experience. He conducts chats on Facebook and visits medical clinics and churches rather than the usual political stops…

And unlike some other candidates popular with the party’s grass roots, Mr. Carson has built a muscular financial base. His $20.8 million raised over the summer, most in small donations, was more than the total of any other Republican candidate. On Friday, he released his first television ad in the four early nominating states.

On Facebook, Mr. Carson answers nightly questions from his 4.3 million “friends,” covering personal topics (his ailing mother is “much better”), policies like a recent suggestion that he would end Medicare (he denied it) and the campaign (the debates are “just a boxing match”)…

On Sunday, Mr. Carson gave critics more fuel by opposing abortion in cases of rape or incest, saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way.”

Mr. Carson’s rise in Iowa is driven by his consolidation of evangelical voters, who constitute close to 60 percent of Republican caucusgoers, a trend that could carry him strongly into later voting states in the South with similar demographics.

“People are very attracted to Ben Carson’s bedside demeanor,” said Bob Vander Plaats, a leader of the Christian right in Iowa…

Well, I was right about that factor — after the first debate, when some commentors here were suspicious about GOP focus groups’ curious enthusiasm for that nice Dr. Carson, I said part of it would prove to be that older Midwesterners, especially the female ones, just don’t like people who yell all the time.

But if you think his forced-birth “medical” opinions are anti-science and frankly terrifying, just wait till you watch Carson defend his proposals to gut Medicare, Medicaid, and all those other undifferentiated “wasteful government attempts to get between the American people and their health care providers”…

Specifics on that start at the 4:20 minute mark. Health savings accounts would “largely eliminate the need for people to rely on goverment programs” — even Chris Wallace, of Fox News, sounds somewhat dubious. But, Dr. Carson assures him, “I do not believe in imposing things upon people. I believe in presenting things that are so attractive, that people will very quickly migrate to them…”

It’s clear Carson has only the vaguest grasp on the mechanics of his plan (the new plan, which is not, he says, the same as the old plan posted on his website) but he has a serene and unshakeable faith in that plan. He can’t explain it, but we can be sure that it will be a fine plan, more desirable than all the weak secular alternatives. We can trust him! He knows stuff!

Last politician I can remember exuding this kind of blissful confidence in buzzwords and blind optimism was Ronald Reagan. And for those of us who lived through Reagan years, that’s pretty damned scary.






172 replies
  1. 1
    greennotGreen says:

    Last politician I can remember exuding this kind of blissful confidence in buzzwords and blind optimism was Ronald Reagan.

    And by the time Reagan ran the second time it was clear, to me at least, that he had dementia. Maybe that’s what has happened to Ben Carson. Or a small stroke. Or maybe he’s always been a nutcase. Someone should interview people who worked with him 10-20 years ago to see if there’s been a change or he’s always been…peculiar.

  2. 2
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    President Pat Robertson is proof of how much Iowa Republican primary voters matter.

  3. 3
    Mr. Longform says:

    That uncle of yours who used to be a successful doctor and retired recently and then started watching Fox News and sending around emails about how Obama plans to sell our aircraft carriers to China so he can give free stuff to welfare cheats. That uncle, he’s running for president and is ahead in the Iowa polls. The party of Lincoln ….

  4. 4
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @greennotGreen:

    And by the time Reagan ran the second time it was clear, to me at least, that he had dementia. Maybe that’s what has happened to Ben Carson. Or a small stroke. Or maybe he’s always been a nutcase. Someone should interview people who worked with him 10-20 years ago to see if there’s been a change or he’s always been…peculiar.

    I agree something is wrong with him. He has two malpractice suits still pending against him and he “retired” at the woefully young age of 64.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    I guess a neurosurgeon has to develop a calm, comforting demeanor. Just saying “I’m going to saw a hole in your skull and fish around in your brain for the thing that’s not working right” isn’t going to have a positive effect on patients.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ben Carson is not in any way, shape, or form, dangerous to anybody but his family. The people who would vote for him on the other hand…. They’re everywhere.

  7. 7
    Big ole hound says:

    Time for this maniac to drill a hole in his own skull and let these evil thoughts drain out. On live TV.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Also Presidents Huckabee and Santorum.

  9. 9
    greennotGreen says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I’m not sure the existence of malpractice suits is pertinent. Many kinds of surgery are risky, and the outcomes are not always what were hoped for. That doesn’t mean the surgeon is at fault. Of course, he could be. Unfortunately, the judge and jury will not be made up of surgeons or knowledgeable people who can accurately assess the risks, so even the outcome of a malpractice trial may not tell the whole story.

  10. 10
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    He has two malpractice suits still pending against him and he “retired” at the woefully young age of 64.

    Every progressive writer always prefaces any mention of Carson with “He’s a brilliant surgeon but…”

    Not to be mean here, but is there any evidence of the “brilliance” or is every neurosurgeon immediately labeled brilliant? Are there any mediocre neurosurgeons?

    I think progressive writers go out of their way to be magnanimous when talking about Carson’s career. That says a lot about progressive writers.

    A liberal neurosurgeon would probably be called every kind of quack by the RW.

    I’m not convinced Carson is brilliant at anything, other than polling well with the base.

    Is there a code among doctors and surgeons? Is that why none of his colleagues have come forward with stories about his incompetence?

  11. 11
    Tommy says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: My grandfather, rest his soul, was a very successful doctor. He was also a racist and a loon from a political point-of-view. It is my experience you can be good, very good at your job and still hold views that we’d dislike greatly. Carson is another case in point.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    Carson on MTP:

    Ben Carson on Sunday compared abortion to slavery, saying he’d like to see the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade overturned so that the practice can be made illegal.

    “Think about this. During slavery — and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do,” Carson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    Whereas asserting institutional control over another human being’s body is nothing at all like slavery.

  13. 13
    Mudge says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I propose we retire ever using the word “gifted” with neurosurgeon again. Competent or successful work just fine.

  14. 14
    Ryan says:

    I watched the MTP interview yesterday and was a little disappointed with Todd not pushing back on Carson’s plan to change health care insurance. Carson can’t possibly believe he’s doing anything other than BSing his way on that plan.

  15. 15
    jo6pac says:

    The only thing more dangerous than BC is the people that would vote for him

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Punchy says:

    TPM has a blurb up from Josh that hits on the very thing I noticed: when Carson speaks, he seems stoned. Or on painkillers. His cadence is so deliberately slow as to be unnerving. Is it a medical issue, or just his personality? Either way, it’s unnatural, and I think as he gives more interviews that’s going to become obvious to the non-crazies.

  18. 18
    MattF says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Both neurosurgeons and Johns Hopkins physicians generally are notorious for their arrogance. Carson’s air of calm certitude should provoke a trigger warning, “This person thinks he’s infallible.”

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mudge:
    Or maybe “still has a medical licence”.

  20. 20

    @MattF: Even the most extreme ideas and opinions can sound rational when they’re delivered as if someone is accustomed to saying, “All right, now let’s count backward from 100. 99, 98…”

  21. 21
    Mudge says:

    @greennotGreen: I do believe there is the issue of leaving a sponge in someone’s brain…he has denied it, but Republicans both breathe and lie throughout the day.

  22. 22
    sdhays says:

    @greennotGreen: Whenever I see Carson, I always think: “This man talks like he’s had a stroke, and the crazy things he says do nothing to disprove that hypothesis…”

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    Not to be mean here, but is there any evidence of the “brilliance”

    Well, one could always look for it. Wikipedia:

    Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson, Sr. (born September 18, 1951) is a former neurosurgeon, known primarily as a 2016 candidate for President of the United States. He was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013, after which he developed a reputation as an author and political commentator.

    Among his achievements as a surgeon were separation of conjoined twins, and a technique for controlling brain seizures. Both achievements were recognized in 2008 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Carson specialized in traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, achondroplasia, neurological and congenital disorders, craniosynostosis, epilepsy, and trigeminal neuralgia.[18] He was a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics, and was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.[18] In 1984, at age 33, he became the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history, as director of pediatric neurosurgery. He was also a co-director of the Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center.

    Carson figured in the revival of the hemispherectomy, a drastic surgical procedure in which part or all of one hemisphere of the brain is removed to control severe pediatric epilepsy. He refined the procedure in the 1980s, encouraged by John M. Freeman,[19] and performed it many times.[20][21]

    In 1987, Carson successfully separated conjoined twins, the Binder twins, who had been joined at the back of the head (craniopagus twins). The 70-member surgical team, led by Carson, worked for 22 hours. Both twins survived.[22][23][24]

    Wikipedia is hardly to be taken as gospel, but none of this is disputed by anyone.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    @Punchy:

    Yes, he looks stoned to me.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    Every Republican is genuinely dangerous. Because one of them is going to be a presidential candidate in 2016; they can count on an absolute worst-case floor of support of over 45%; and it doesn’t take more than a run of bad luck on the Democratic side to close the distance.

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    @Punchy: I am not sure what is going on with his cadence, but it is unnerving to say the least. Maybe it is because I am a “fast talker.” I don’t know but not sure I’ve ever met anybody that speaks the way he does.

  27. 27
    Fair Economist says:

    @greennotGreen: In spite of the propaganda from the right wing about medical malpractice suits driving costs up, most doctors never get even a frivolous suit and the entirety of malpractice claims and suits consumes only about 2% of healthcare expenses. At the same time, there is a tremendous amount of malpractice and medical errors kill HUNDREDS of thousands of people every year. Basically most doctors and nurses are good, and a small minority are awful.

    One suit could be bad luck, but multiple malpractice suits almost certainly indicate a problem doctor.

  28. 28
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I just mentioned the same thing in the previous thread. We were on our way out the door and about to turn the tv off when we heard him say this. My 12 year old looked at the tv with the WTF face that tweens do best. They manage to add a side eye/eye roll flourish that is very effective.

  29. 29
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Fair Economist: Carson has had six malpractice suits, only two are still pending.

  30. 30
    amk says:

    Mebbe what happens in Iowa stays in Iowa?

  31. 31
    philpm says:

    Does anyone besides me hear “Cult of Personality” in the background everytime they read about or hear about Ben Carson?

  32. 32
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    If Carson won the nomination, how would he do in a debate with HRC, when it came time to explain his positions on medicare, social security, abortion rights, etc.?

  33. 33
    bemused says:

    Hannibal Lecter was soft-spoken, iirc.

  34. 34
    Tommy says:

    @Fair Economist: My grandfather was known as the “baby doctor.” He delivered more than 3,000 children, myself included. I assume those kinds of medical procedures would be ripe for malpractice cases. He had one brought against him, a car wreck. He was a doctor for almost 50 years.

  35. 35
    MattF says:

    @Fair Economist: The reasoning works in the direction (Bad doctor -> multiple malpractice suits), but may not work in the other. Most physicians have thousands of patients in their ‘practice pool’– and some (e.g., radiologists) can have an order of magnitude more.

  36. 36
    amk says:

    @MomSense:

    And the best part, or the worst part I shouls say, is that he is being propped in polls mainly by Iowan women.

  37. 37
    MomSense says:

    @amk:

    It’s depressing.

  38. 38
    msdc says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Not to mention Presidents Buchanan, Huckabee, and Santorum.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    Even the most extreme ideas and opinions can sound rational when they’re delivered as if someone is accustomed to saying, “All right, now let’s count backward from 100. 99, 98…”

    Despite being stereotyped as screaming, raving lunatics, I’ve noticed that all of the fundiegelical preachers I’ve personally met work hard to cultivate this calm, measured, good-doctor’s-bedside-manner demeanor. At least when out in public among the heathen.

    I assume it’s their way of counteracting the fact that their ideas are considered batshit insane. You start off a nice innocent conversation with the guy sitting next to you on the park bench, and then slowly segue into the preaching.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    UM Takes Down State Flag
    University administrators heed campus-wide call to remove banner
    October 26, 2015 By Michael Newsom

    OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi Police Department officers lowered and furled the state flag in a Lyceum Circle ceremony as the campus opened Monday morning. The flag will be preserved in the
    University Archives along with resolutions from students, faculty and
    staff calling for its removal.

    The university’s removal of the flag is the latest development in
    discussions within the state about whether to change the official state
    flag, which includes the Confederate battle flag in one corner.

    Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks first joined other state and university leaders calling for a change in the state flag in a statement last June.

    “The University of Mississippi community came to the realization years ago that the Confederate battle flag did not represent many of our core values, such as civility and respect for others,” Stocks said. “Since that time, we have become a stronger and better university. We join other leaders in our state who are calling for a change in the state flag.”

    http://news.olemiss.edu/um-tak.....lanalytics

  41. 41
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Not defending Carson, but people sue at the drop of a hat these days. I’d bet there are fewer neurosurgeons who have never been sued than those who have.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn’t give Dr Carson’s win-loss record for malpractice lawsuits. Since he kept his licence to the end of his career, should we take it that four plaintiffs either lost or settled their cases?

  43. 43
  44. 44
    Keith G says:

    I Was Wrong; Ben Carson May Be Genuinely Dangerous

    Is this site going all click-baity…. the way of Gawker?

    Sheeeese.

    Show me that a Carson bubble is scalable beyond places were Fundie influence can have an inordinate impact, and I will take back my view that this is just about the silliest headline that i have seen at this site.

  45. 45
    Gavin says:

    @MattF:
    These days, all doctors will have a malpractice suit brought against them at some point.. because the definition of malpractice can be as simple as “I met a lawyer who asserted [lied] to me that something was wrong, so here’s a lawsuit.”

    Given the degree of risk of dr.carson’s procedures, it makes sense that he’s had several.
    Even in the list of cases profiled, I can’t see what he did that was egregiously wrong… the human body is terrifically complex, and the modes of failure even more so. Just because something happened doesn’t mean that the infected lymph node / brain tumor / etc would have been as easy to remove as a Lego block.

    The appropriate question would be: Does he have more than what would be expected given his peers in the field of pediatric neurosurgery… not simply does he have more than zero.

    Do I want him president? Never. Is he a bad doctor? I really don’t see the two as correlated..

  46. 46
    Walker says:

    @Chris:

    I assume it’s their way of counteracting the fact that their ideas are considered batshit insane. You start off a nice innocent conversation with the guy sitting next to you on the park bench, and then slowly segue into the preaching.

    This is exactly why the line “There you go again” is still remembered today, when it did nothing to address the matter at hand.

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    He’s a straight up slave catching coon.

    Of course, he’s dangerous – that goes without saying.

    Having said that, the path to blowing him out of the water is simple:

    but, it requires a MSM willing to seriously ask questions.

    One, how is it ok for his entire life to be given to him because of GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, but now, he spouts the nonsense that he does?

    Two, ask him, considering the serious behavioral issues that he had as a youth, and the repeated chances he was given to get his act together, what does he think of the very reality that in 2015, he’d be firmly entrenched in the SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE, no matter how brilliant he was, and what are his thoughts about that?

    Three, his abolishment of Medicare.

    Four, what about the 20 million people who have gotten access to healthcare because of Obamacare, which he likened to slavery.

    I wouldn’t ask him any other question…just make him answer those…over and over and over.

  48. 48
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    Not to be mean here, but is there any evidence of the “brilliance” or is every neurosurgeon immediately labeled brilliant? Are there any mediocre neurosurgeons?

    Carson was the first neurosurgeon ever to separate siamese twins conjoined at the head (in 1987). He was Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1984 to 2013. I think his brilliance as a neurosurgeon has to be conceded, and also that the malpractice suits don’t mean much. His frightening positions and odd disconnection from the reality he’s standing in seem more disqualifying.

  49. 49
    Tommy says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I am with you. My grandfather wanted to keep practicing medicine but stopped because of the amount he had to pay in insurance. This was back in like 1995. He had one malpractice suit brought against him in the close to 50 years he practiced. As you said people sue at the drop of the hat. My grandfather was a small town rural doctor. I assume Carson, opening up somebodies skull, well things could go really wrong and him not make an error.

  50. 50
    greennotGreen says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: In terms of misdiagnosing his own cancer, I think this is the Dunning-Kruger effect (as mentioned in your link) wrt to reading an MRI. Maybe reading an MRI is a different skill from reading a CT scan, but my oncologist whom I have trusted with my life does not rely on her own reading of the multiple CT scans I have had during the course of my cancer.

    There’s a saying that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. The same could be said for physicians.

  51. 51
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: They could have won, with Carson still keeping his license. There are a lot of variables, but in the vast majority of cases the insurance company settles things and requires everyone to shut up. But as I said, people sue quickly for any adverse outcome, and if it’s surgery, they will name as a defendant every person who set foot in the operating room while the procedure was going on.

  52. 52
    oldgold says:

    There is an old joke that ends with this punch line: “No, that’s God, sometimes he likes to play doctor.”

    At the end of the medical school and residency gauntlet, generally speaking, humility is in critical condition.

  53. 53
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Beginning in October 1994, according to a claim she filed at the dispute office, Perna’s left-sided facial pain was “virtually left unchecked” even though she took prescription pills. That month, Perna was referred to Carson, who scheduled “glycerol rhizotomy”, a procedure that involves inserting a needle into the face and injecting a small amount of glycerol, alleviating the pain – in theory.

    Except, with Perna, it allegedly didn’t work. So Carson scheduled a second injection, according to the filing.

    Again, Perna says it didn’t work.

    “In fact, after the second surgical procedure, Ms. Perna’s left-sided facial pain actually seemed worse,” the filing stated, “and her face was left extremely swollen by Carson’s invasion of a blood vessel during the procedure.”

    Carson then opted to perform a type of brain surgery intended to relieve her pain, but, according to the filing, it would have been ineffective because the source was lesions on Perna’s brain stem.

    The operation didn’t work.

    Carson then looked at Perna’s most recent MRI, the filing stated, “because he had not reviewed [the studies] prior to three surgeries he performed”.

    After reviewing the MRI, the filing said, Carson returned to Perna’s room, visibly agitated, and told her “they did not tell me there are lesions on your brainstem. Had I known that, we would have never done the [surgery].”

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-.....-president

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    @Gavin: This.
    Ben Carson might have been a good surgeon, but that has nothing to do with his campaign for Presidency. He’s preaching internet rumors.

  55. 55
    Zinsky says:

    Remember Sinclair Lewis’ warning – “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross”.

  56. 56
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Betty Cracker: The problem is that overturning Roe will not automatically make abortion illegal. Only overturning Griswold will do that. What it will do, however, is turn women down the path to second-class citizenship; Roe determined not that abortion was explicitly legal, but that a woman has the right to elect her own healthcare, and that her husband/father/elder-brother/eldest-son can’t overrule her. The Reichwing seems determined to ensure that their wimminvolk have to ask their husbands or their fathers if they can go get a mammogram, a biopsy or just a routine physical – and they’re masking that with all the “pro-life” rhetoric. Carson seems fully on board with that, which just makes him sound crazier because he’s advocating for oppressing women and saying that abortion is more comparable to slavery than that.

  57. 57
    Hoodie says:

    I see no reason to doubt Carson’s bona fides as a surgeon or to look for dementia or other causes of his weird beliefs. It’s not particularly surprising that Carson is a nutcase, as history is replete with stories of genius paired with bizarre ideas and behaviors. There is nothing in Carson’s career as a neurosurgeon that suggests he has any particular aptitude for politics or governing. In fact, many people that excel in narrow technical pursuits are odd and dogmatic and, thus, ill-suited for things like colloquy and debate because they can’t relate to any logic beyond the music in their own heads. Good politicians are generally the antithesis of that.

  58. 58
    Mike in NC says:

    It’s just sad that Iowa Republican primary voters — mainly God-bothering lunatics — have such a disproportionate voice in choosing presidential candidates.

  59. 59
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Gavin:

    Do I want him president? Never. Is he a bad doctor? I really don’t see the two as correlated..

    They’re really not. But the Reichwing has convinced itself that if you’re good at what you’re specifically trained to to, then you’re good at anything.

  60. 60
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @MattF:

    “This person thinks he’s infallible.”

    That describes pretty well all of the Right Wing leadership;elected, media, and bankrollers. They rarely admit mistakes or failure, especially if it challenges their philosophy/belief system.

    What’s that saying again? “RW policies can’t fail, they can only BE failed.”

    Carson fits into that perfectly.

  61. 61
    Lori says:

    @greennotGreen: Salon recently had a pretty good piece written by a Johns Hopkins colleague:
    http://www.salon.com/2015/10/2.....t_partner/

    She attributes his behavior to a “God complex”: specifically “a culture of medicine that not just allows but rewards the unchecked growth of professional egos” and “a profession that rewards doctors for thinking, and acting, like they are gods.”

  62. 62
    Woodrowfan says:

    @MattF: what’s the old joke about God, “he thinks he’s a doctor>”

    Sorry, I hadn’t seen Oldgold beat me to it…

  63. 63
    tamiasmin says:

    @MattF: Sedate the patients first. Then you can say anything. That procedure has been working with Republican voters for decades. But sadly, most of them never come out of it.

  64. 64
    Boots Day says:

    I have no doubt that Carson was a brilliant surgeon. The problem is, being a brilliant surgeon has nothing at all to do with running the government. And if you know very many accomplished doctors, you know they have spent most of their lives being told how brilliant they are, which leads many of them to assume they’re brilliant in any field of endeavor they choose to try.

    That’s the sense I get with Carson. I suspect that even though he’s been in politics for a while now, he has made no effort to learn anything about governing or political history or anything like that. Why should he, when he’s more brilliant than those simps in Washington?

    I don’t find Carson dangerous at all. I think it’s extremely unlikely that the GOP would be fool enough to give him the nomination – Donald Trump is more qualified, for heaven’s sake, having actually run things before – but if they do, he’ll lose 40 states.

  65. 65
    Face says:

    @Tommy: People will sue their OB/GYN if their child is born with a birth defect. They’ll sue their pediatrician if their kid develops autism around the time the kids receives somes vaxes. People will sue anyone for anything if they are told it may result in a windfall income.

    I believe basing a doctor’s competence and brilliance on the number (rather than the merit) of pending lawsuits is ridiculous.

  66. 66
    Gavin says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    So?

    That has ZERO relevance to the insanity that he spews as a candidate.

    That’s not his “norm” – he did 300+ surgeries a year while he was the head.. and more when he was part of the staff. If you want to make the case that he is nothing but a screwup, go find a writeup on every case.

    The denominator is every single case he performed….. NOT just one [or 8, or 10] which makes for a fun HuffPo article but does not compare to the number of similar cases for neurosurgeons across the country.

    The relevance to him being a surgeon is the air of superiority that doctors translate to every endeavor anywhere… yet they’re only trained in one. Does he have a high IQ? Yes, of course. Do doctors have a God complex? Yes – and frankly you want your surgeon to have that.

    Do you want his uninformed drivel as your political leader? Absolutely not, because he’s not humble enough to dig far enough to identify the difference between his current state and wherever objective reality is for each issue.

  67. 67
    Keith G says:

    To sum up a line of reasoning I see above:

    Hitler sucked at painting.
    Charlie Manson was a shit musician.

    Okay. Got it (even if not actually analogous to Carson).

    Surely it is the case that Carson’s policy positions are disqualifying not only to a majority of the national electorate, but also to a majority of the type of folks that he must get campaign funding from to be able to try to be a successful national candidate.

  68. 68
    NotMax says:

    @rikyrah

    In an instance of a tidbit of reality out-Onioning The Onion, story I read last week about the demands to remove the flag mentioned that the name of the student leader (or one of them) behind the drive for removal happens to be named (wait for it) Coon.

  69. 69
    rk says:

    In an election season that has confounded party leaders and experts,

    Maybe they should let the amateurs have a go at it. Because I’m better than an expert at this point. I knew since the 90s that republicans are idiots, their ideas are shit so they have to rile up the population with craziness to get votes. I knew the Iraq war was sheer lunacy and nothing good would come out of it. I knew that Bush was an incompetent and Cheney was evil. I know that Ben Carson is mentally challenged, and the rest of the field does not have enough intellect to even make 1/5 Barak Obama. How’s that for expertise? 16 republicans put together are less than 1/5 of a black man.

  70. 70
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Given the complexity of the surgeries he performed (including separating conjoined twins), he’s probably a brilliant surgeon. Someone can be brilliant in his/her job performance but be dimwitted otherwise.

    Dr. Carson is obviously a rightwing hack but that doesn’t take away from his medical accomplishments. It’s just disappointing how extreme he is.

  71. 71
    rikyrah says:

    Dr. J. Michael Pressimone, Fontbonne University president, was featured as a guest columnist in the July 23 edition of the St. Louis American.

    Why Black Lives Matter

    My wife Cathy and I could easily be classified as upper middle-class, middle-aged, white Americans. I serve as president of Fontbonne University in St. Louis, and Cathy is pastoral associate at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Parish.

    We have seven biological children, ranging in age from 20 to 32. We have an adopted daughter from Ecuador who joined our family as she was entering young adulthood. We have four African-American children who were adopted in 2011 and now range in age from 6 to 10. We also have an African-American son-in-law.

    Cathy, the youngest four children, and I moved to St. Louis in July 2014, just before the Michael Brown Jr. death in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.

    Not too long ago, our 9-year-old son David asked why we did not have a “Black Lives Matter” sign in our yard. A valid question, to be sure.

    Several weeks later, with the help of a colleague at Fontbonne, we had secured a sign, which we put on display in our front yard. We happen to live in the university president’s home on Wydown Boulevard in the affluent Clayton suburb of St. Louis.

    On June 30, one of my young adult and white daughters was sitting on the front porch when a middle-aged white gentleman came walking by. He gestured to the sign and said to my daughter, “They never have and they never will.”

    She sat flummoxed and unable to respond as the stranger proceeded on his way.

    http://www.fontbonne.edu/infoc.....icle/4494/

  72. 72
    Tommy says:

    @Face: Sue, sue, sue. I can’t wrap my head around that.

  73. 73
    RSA says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    But the Reichwing has convinced itself that if you’re good at what you’re specifically trained to to, then you’re good at anything.

    Also that if you’re on the other side, you’re bad at everything. I’m thinking of the right wing’s view of Obama’s accomplishments in college, for example.

    I’ve done it too (both sides!) with George W. Bush, but with a lot stronger justification.

  74. 74
    Elizabelle says:

    Have to read your comments, but this is Exhibit A for taking the first in the nation away from Iowa.

    All it does, on the GOP side, is give a mega-megaphone to the most whacked out evangelist or conservative (pretending) desperado out there.

    Plus, think of all the people who don’t get to go caucus.

    Get rid of it. Has outlived its usefulness; might even be hurting or distorting our political process. Iowa is hardly a bellwether.

    Go to a system of rotating regional primaries.

  75. 75
    Mike J says:

    @Tommy:

    Sue, sue, sue. I can’t wrap my head around that.

    Much of it is because of what healthcare costs in this country.

  76. 76
    Peale says:

    @Face: or, they sue because the damage done has resulted in a condition that will require expensive medical for the rest of their lives, so that “windfall” isnt like winning the lottery at all.

  77. 77
    Peale says:

    @boatboy_srq: unlike, say liberal arts majors, who think they’re qualified to do everything because they know a little about so many things?

  78. 78
    Eric U. says:

    the average retirement savings in the U.S. is abysmal. Couple of days in the hospital and its all gone. How are people also going to save for medical care?

  79. 79
    cokane says:

    I aint scared. I cannot see Carson winning a general, or even making it a close election.

  80. 80

    @Peale:

    This. Most people sue for malpractice because they’re not going to be able to afford further treatment without that money because our healthcare system is so insanely expensive.

    IIRC, countries with universal healthcare have fewer malpractice suits and those suits pay out less, because people don’t have to worry that further treatment is going to bankrupt them.

  81. 81
    Hildebrand says:

    Its Carson’s plan for the Department of Education that everyone should find pretty damned terrifying – using the department to ‘monitor extreme bias’ on college campuses. Even Chuck Todd wondered whether that wasn’t a full frontal assault on the First Amendment. Dr. Carson blithely swatted away such a notion, ‘It’s not a violation of the First Amendment because all I’m saying is that taxpayer funding should not be used for propaganda …. There is just no way that our institutions of higher education should be used for indoctrination.’

    My guess is that he thinks ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a depiction of a glorious, hoped-for future.

  82. 82
    Keith G says:

    @Patricia Kayden: My brother was a physician, an internist, for over 30 years and at the end of h is life, a CEO of a hospital. It was his contention, one shared widely with other physicians, that surgeons were extraordinarily ill-informed outside of their area of expertise.

    Surgeons are hyper-specialists, hired guns, extraordinarily focused on doing one very difficult thing. Outside of that one area, My brother felt that surgeons were not to be listened to.

  83. 83
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @cokane: I don’t see Carson or Trump actually winning if general conditions stay as they are. I do see them quite possibly winning if the House Republicans hand them a catastrophic global economic collapse to work with.

    Trump maybe does best, because he’s not closely identified with the existing Republican Party, and doesn’t even need to pretend the House Republicans didn’t do it; he can go ahead and bash them, and he comes across as a straight talker with the know-how and negotiating mojo to save us all from that foolishness where Obama couldn’t.

  84. 84

    Ben Carson is a kook. He is not alright in the head. That he can rise to such prominence in the Presidential race does not say good things about the Republicans.

    ETA: What is sad is that the Republican legislators are making own goals against their own country and significant number of voters don’t even seem to realize it.

  85. 85
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Keith G: I would agree with your brother. Not sure why people put so much trust and prestige when it comes to doctors. There were doctors who assisted Nazis with gruesome experiments. (Sorry for Godwinning).

  86. 86
    cokane says:

    Btw, people in this thread need to recognize that you can be highly intelligent and still incredibly wrong headed about a lot of stuff. Isaac Newton believed in alchemy — which was absurd even in the 17th/18th century. So it’s not absurd to think Carson was a stellar practitioner of medicine while simultaneously being ignorant of say evolution.

  87. 87
    Eric U. says:

    I don’t think it’s typical for physicians to lose their license as a result of malpractice suits. As mentioned above, anytime there is a bad outcome, there is a chance of a suit. Thought crossed my mind after I had a failed surgery, I think it’s natural.

  88. 88
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne (tablet):

    This. Most people sue for malpractice because they’re not going to be able to afford further treatment without that money because our healthcare system is so insanely expensive.

    For some

    Our society has a portion of folks willing to use our jumbled up tort system as a lottery – with slightly better odds. A lot of malpractice litigation (and threats thereof) have little to do with the costs of accessing care.

  89. 89

    Ben Carson is a kook. He is not alright in the head. That he can rise to such prominence in the Presidential race does not say good things about the Republicans.

    ETA: What is sad is that the Republican legislators are making own goals against their own country and significant number of voters don’t even seem to realize it because they are blinded by their hatred of Obama.

  90. 90
    Keith G says:

    @cokane: Exactly. Which is why this thread seems click-batey.

  91. 91
    cokane says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Nah, it would take some serious confluence of fucked up bullshit to put either of those idiots in the White House. Like maybe a recession coupled with some horrible terrorist attack on US soil and additionally some truly scandalous revelation about the Dem nominee…

    Seriously those two are going to wilt under the media scrutiny of the general election campaign. Keep in mind that both Carson and Trump are STILL being treated like flavors of the month by the national media. Real, indepth coverage of either of them really hasn’t happened yet. But if either were to win the nomination, that gives journalists the green light to do months-long investigations, and there is sure to be embarrassing shit out there for both of them. Not to mention both are more than capable of a “47 percent” type gaffe.

    Hell Trump I think is a real disaster and would probably spark a convention outrage. His policy platform is way too outside what congressional Republicans want.

  92. 92
    Gex says:

    @Face: Fair enough. But the case where he performed three procedures on someone THEN read previous diagnostic work and declared that he wouldn’t have done those procedures if he’d realized there were lesions on the brain stem doesn’t sound like it’s run of the mill nuisance malpractice suit. Sounds legit to me.

  93. 93

    @greennotGreen: I hesitate to diagnose Carson’s health because it makes me feel like Drudge. After Clinton testified last week, Drudge speculated that her measured speech meant she was drugged up

  94. 94

    @Keith G: I don’t think that Carson will win either the nomination or the Presidency. What scares me more than Carson is the people who support him and what he is saying.

  95. 95
    slag says:

    @cokane:

    So it’s not absurd to think Carson was a stellar practitioner of medicine while simultaneously being ignorant of say evolution.

    I agree that he can be a stellar medical practitioner while being an awful leader/person. But being a great doctor while being ignorant of evolution? I’m skeptical.

    At best, he’s faking ignorance or maybe he’s got serious cognitive dissonance around it. He can hardly be ignorant of evolution, given the educational requirements for most doctors (even back when he was in school).

  96. 96
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Face: Orac, a surgeon blogger who’s done a lot of great work debunking alternative-medicine nonsense, thinks that Carson’s association with Mannatech is damning but that the malpractice suits aren’t. He points out that the sponge incident in particular is more likely to have been a mistake by somebody else on the surgical team.

  97. 97
    WereBear says:

    The RWNJ thrill with Carson is 0% his real-world accomplishments and 100% what he says.

    The ridiculous and cruel things he says. They love it. And he should go ahead. Show the world what Republicans really are all about now. I’m sick of people cloaking their own idiocy and bigotry by voting for candidates who outright lie about what they are going to do.

    It’s the only way to get rid of them. No more stealth candidates!

  98. 98
    Anoniminous says:

    GOP is chalk-a-block with religious Know-Nothing whack jobs. It’s no surprise a religious Know-Nothing whack job has support, especially in Iowa where the GOP caucus has had a recent history of voting for the biggest religious Know-Nothing whack job in the running.

  99. 99
    Paul in KY says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Hillary would have to keep a p0ker face & not let those looks of Exasperation/incredulity/bemusement/WTF that hurt VP Gore cross her face. Debatewise, she should wipe the floor with him.

  100. 100
    Paul in KY says:

    @amk: Very weird Iowa women.

  101. 101
    J R in WV says:

    @rikyrah:

    This is depressing in the extreme, isn’t it?

    And the talk of Dr Carson being a brilliant doctor – if he performed any kind of procedure without seeking out every kind of diagnostic information BEFORE doing two relatively low-risk procedures and brain surgery, NOT GOOD medical practice at all.

    “If I had known…” it was Dr Carson’s duty to know that, and the fact that you didn’t means you don’t know as much as you think you do , even in your specialty.

    Cray-Cray is as crazy does.

  102. 102
    Zinsky says:

    @rikyrah: Carson is a “slave-catching coon”? That’s a little raw and racist, isn’t it? I think we attack him on his policies, which would hurt millions of innocent people, including children. If he were really pro-life, he would be for more pre-natal care, not less. And, no, churches aren’t in a position to provide health care services that he government, defunded by Republicans, can no longer provide.

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    @slag:
    In my experience, cognitive dissonance on evolution is not uncommon among the devoutly religious who go into the sciences. It’s not just a Christian thing; I’ve seen it in Muslims who are scientists themselves, or at least well-educated in science — doctors and teachers and so on. I guess that early indoctrination in religious dogma and peer pressure from co-religionists are hard to shake off.

  104. 104
    sharl says:

    Even without watching Morning Joseph, they can provide me some welcome laughs:

    Graham: I Can’t Believe I’m Losing To Carson, Who ‘Tried To Kill Someone’

    There’s a video at the link, which I didn’t watch; this post title is plenty for my entertainment needs.

    Stay in the race, Sen. Pittypat, and ignore the haters and naysayers – you’ll do just fine.

  105. 105
    Keith G says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Indeed.

    I feel that this number (low-info, intellectual bottom feeders and those unduly influenced by invented fears) is mostly a constant. Barring some cataclysm, there is a ceiling on that number and we know who they are. No Democratic leader in this era will get their votes.

    We just need to make sure that there is not an ideological contagion that can be spread. That is where strong policy and strong candidates come in. And, believe it or not, this is where Bernie has helped the Democrats by pushing a message that is less “coastal” than what is the norm for recent Democrats.

  106. 106
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Peale: There may be little observable distinction between the two, but knowing you know something about something, and overestimating that, is very different from knowing nothing about almost everything and convincing yourself that because you know a lot about a very specific thing all that rank ignorance doesn’t matter.

    There’s also the ingrained incuriosity in the latter case that’s notably missing in the former: liberal arts BAs are taught how to learn in in general, where specialists like Carson are taught a great deal about a very finite subject; the former are more likely to go on picking up information in the absolute, where the latter are more likely to keep up to date on their specific field and pay little if any attention to anything outside it simply because it keeps their skills current and marketable rather than due to any intellectual curiosity.

  107. 107
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    What scares me more than Carson is the people who support him and what he is saying.

    They’ve got a media empire telling them everything they want to hear.

  108. 108

    @Paul in KY: Present company excluded, of course.

  109. 109
    Gavin says:

    @Tommy:

    Why not? What do you think the term “ambulance-chaser” means in practice?

    When malpractice lawsuits are filed against a location or person, the person/entity pays increased malpractice insurance costs… regardless of whether or not the lawsuits have any merit.

    Go read up on what happened to OB units in Philadelphia hospitals to learn how lawsuits [or the threat of potential lawsuits in an area that hands down high payouts] affect actual care delivery.

  110. 110
    Adam L Silverman says:

    What I think is being overlooked or left unsaid is that you’re seeing a combination of three things:
    1) The discussion of his violent teenage years is the classic, coded for Evangelical ears, redemption from sin story;
    2) As has been mentioned in other comments, his cadence and demeanor are a combination of what was likely his bedside manner, his public, I’m a safe, thoughtful, temperate African-American professional demeanor; and his preaching from the heart demeanor;
    and
    3) Trying to channel and translate what Walter Williams is telling/teaching him. And its this last one that’s tripping him up.

    You may all remember about a month ago where Dr. Williams, who is Carson’s campaign manager and primary/principal advisor, cut off a live interview when he didn’t like the questions being asked. This was likely because they were questions of things that Dr. Carson had not yet been prepped on. It is important to remember that while Dr. Williams is a legitimate PhD in economics, his career as an academic and commentator has placed him on the far side of the freshwater school of economics (extreme Friedmanite macro as practiced and interpreted by his Friedman’s students at Chicago, Minnesota, etc) where it begins to morph into the Hayekian.

    My take on the Carson campaign is that what you are seeing is Dr. Williams projecting through Dr. Carson. I used to read Dr. Williams columns and commentary when they were published in real newspapers and before so much of it migrated to places like Townhall. And I’ve seen him do live TV. My impression was always that Dr. Williams, who is very smart and well educated, was trying to position himself like Alan Keyes before Ambassador Keyes went off the rails, but was unable to do so. The reason for that is that his columns and tv appearances always seemed to be not just content dense, but jargon heavy – despite the clear attempts to try to make them accessible for not just non professional economists, but also for those that aren’t freshwater economics types. There was almost a sense of “if I just explain this right, then it will make so much self evident sense, you’ll convert to my way of thinking.” And his tv appearances were also hampered by not being particularly telegenic. I think Dr. Williams found himself a willing and largely blank policy canvas and is in the process of trying to construct a masterpiece.

  111. 111
    Poopyman says:

    Good thing I did a search on “Santorum” in this thread (ewww!) before making the comment. But yeah, not gonna happen.

    Forget it Anne, it’s Iowa Republicans.

  112. 112
    RaflW says:

    Apparently, to Ben Carson, low income people just haven’t been attracted enough to health savings accounts. The fact that the money doesn’t exist to be magnetically pulled into HSAs of course doesn’t occur to him, since poverty would be an unattractive thought to have.

  113. 113
    Paul in KY says:

    @rikyrah: Not sure how the government program riposte plays against him. He can say that was back when we (the govt) was flush with cash. Voters could naively assume his parents made him take all that ebil government money, he had no say in that decision…

    I think his crazy ideas are the way to sink him. Ask him about sending the robber off to rob the fast food worker & then his idea that kids should rush the gunman & stuff like that.

  114. 114
    Paul in KY says:

    @Keith G: Saw an article with David Crosby & he said Manson wasn’t so bad at music. Wasn’t as good as he thought, but didn’t suck either.

  115. 115
    Paul in KY says:

    @rikyrah: I think ‘Fuck you, racist loser’ would have been a nice riposte.

  116. 116

    @Adam L Silverman: A lot of economics is not that different from quackery, unfortunately.

  117. 117
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I think Dr. Williams found himself a willing and largely blank policy canvas and is in the process of trying to construct a masterpiece.

    Very persuasive. But why does Williams’ masterpiece look so much like Guernica?

  118. 118

    @Keith G:

    Some people stage car accidents, or exaggerate their injuries in a genuine car accident, to try and get a bigger payout. Other people fake or exaggerate an injury at work to get workers comp. The fact that some people try to do the same with malpractice claims doesn’t mean that malpractice never happens or is even uncommon, any more than a bogus car accident claim means car accidents don’t happen.

  119. 119
    Seanly says:

    “That smile and his soft voice makes people very comforted,”

    I think the word she is looking for is somnolent

    The guy’s a loon. And he closes his eyes when he zombie-mumbles.

  120. 120
    Paul in KY says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Of course :-)

  121. 121
    msdc says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Go to a system of rotating regional primaries.

    I don’t like this idea. I mean, WTF do we do in the cycle when the South gets to pick the nominees for both parties? A little regional variety is a good thing.

    However, there is an excellent case to be made for giving the early primaries and caucuses to absolutely anyone other than the fundies in Iowa, the libertarians in NH, and the Dixiecrats in South Carolina.

  122. 122
    Keith G says:

    @Mike J:

    Much of it is because of what healthcare costs in this country.

    Less about costs and more about two other things:
    1) The impersonal way that much care is dispensed in the USA.
    2) Tort law practices.

    edit

    re: Impersonal medicine

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06......html?_r=0

  123. 123
    lol says:

    @Tommy:

    One lawsuit in 50 years yet his malpractice insurance is through the roof. Maybe the problem isn’t people filing “frivolous lawsuits” but rather insurance companies fleecing doctors?

  124. 124
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne (tablet): Dude(tte) When did I type that it never happens?

    Oh, lordy.

  125. 125

    Let’s see. Of those four polled traits…

    The one that reflects whether he’s a political outsider is by far his least attractive trait.

    The other three, polling 73% to 81% attractive, are A) racist hate speech, B) not specifically racist, but one of white supremacy’s major hobby-horses, and C) racism just barely falling short of ‘open hate speech.’

    Got it.

  126. 126
    feebog says:

    Carson may be playing well with the Iowa fundies, but that does not mean he will be an attractive candidate in other regions. No matter how smooth and low key he comes across to people, he has, ahem, a pigmentation problem. Alabama Rednecks and Georgia Crackers are not going to vote for him. Period. And those red states are loaded up with additional “bonus” delegates just because they have voted red in the last election. He may make it to Iowa, and even do well there, but what is the path forward after that? He is not going to do well in New Hampshire, and the next two states are So. Carolina and Nevada. Just don’t see it.

  127. 127
    Mike in NC says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Walter Williams is 100% owned by the Koch brothers, too. His columns push their nihilist anti-government agenda week after week.

  128. 128
    Archon says:

    @Zinsky:

    Comparing Obamacare to slavery suggests he’s genuinely crazy or that he’s putting on a modern day minstrel show for white conservatives. There isn’t a third option.

  129. 129
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: everything in the social and behavioral sciences, no matter how properly quantified, always needs to be qualified. I can’t tell you how many briefings I’ve started dealing with socio-cultural dynamics with: “what I’m going to tell you is accurate until it isn’t…” The problem isn’t that its quackery, the problem is that the people presenting their results and findings purposefully forget this reality, if they ever actually knew it.

  130. 130
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @boatboy_srq: That I cannot answer.

  131. 131
    yodecat says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Not a surgeon’s job to count sponges.

  132. 132
    Mandalay says:

    @Keith G:

    Is this site going all click-baity…. the way of Gawker?

    Yes.

    SATSQ.

  133. 133
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Walter Williams is 100% owned by the Koch brothers

    That sounds like slavery.

  134. 134
    mark k says:

    Gin and Tonic you are full of shit. As a health care worker/technologist since 1984: 1.) People do NOT “sue at the drop of a hat nowdays” What complete horseshit!!. If anything, lawsuits have dropped dramatically due to “tort reforms” passed by Republicans. Even in the 90s, Harvard did a huge study showing after only 5% of medical malpractice was a lawsuit filed. Less than 10% went to court as doctors, insurance companies, hospitals have great lawyers on retainer. Why do liberals still give neofascist Cancervatives the benefit of the doubt? It’s so fucking weak!

    The guy is a quack. Every hospital has them. He is a liar and deeply offensive. When will someone call him out to his face?

  135. 135
    Josie says:

    @Elizabelle: This is the main point to me. These polls are from a small percentage of the voting public – a percentage of the Republican party in Iowa, for heaven’s sake. Don’t take that to mean that Carson has a chance in a wider election. I fail to see why Iowa, or even New Hampshire, should set the tone politically for the nation as a whole.

  136. 136
    rikyrah says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    You may all remember about a month ago where Dr. Williams, who is Carson’s campaign manager and primary/principal advisor, cut off a live interview when he didn’t like the questions being asked.

    I would say a joke about we all look alike, but I don’t believe Walter Williams is Carson’s campaign manager. I do believe you are thinking about grifter ARMSTRONG Williams.

  137. 137
    Creigh says:

    Dr. Carson is clearly intelligent, but it’s not the kind of intelligence that would make him a good President. It’s the kind of intelligence that makes him overconfident in subjects he knows little about.

  138. 138

    @Adam L Silverman: True but the quackery in economics goes beyond the uncertainties inherent in social science research. It starts with incredulous assumptions (rational choice) that lead to erroneous results. Nowhere is this more apparent than macroecon. See for example the debate about the Philips curve.

  139. 139
    rikyrah says:

    @Zinsky:

    Carson is a “slave-catching coon”? That’s a little raw and racist, isn’t it

    No. It is as raw as it should be.

    We have a slave catching coon on the Supreme Court, who takes out his hatred of himself on the rest of the Black community.

    Black people don’t care if you hate yourself. Just do it in private. What makes slave catchers like Unca Clarence and Unca Ben dangerous is that they are willing to shin, grin and buckdance for their White overlords for policies that are detrimental to the Black community. Giving Black face to White racist policies is a long time tradition of slave catchers.

    All the while, like Unca Clarence, Unca Ben BENEFITTED FROM THE SAME GOVERNMENT LARGESSE THAT HE PRESENTLY RAILS AGAINST.

  140. 140
    Brachiator says:

    So I figured he’d be mostly ignored, maybe thumped around by some of the more aggressive GOPer candidates as a practice dummy, and eventually disappear into the triva-game mists with Lincoln Chafee and Larry Lessig….

    What I didn’t appreciate was the Chauncey Gardiner effect — the degree to which a soft-spoken, well-intentioned innocent from within a sealed bubble could become a figurehead for some of the worst and most dangerous impulses in modern American politics.

    Pundits and others who dealt with Carson with condescension and Trump with derision are now scared shitless because these two continue to lead almost all the opinion polls.

    At the same time, many Balloon Juicers continue to show Bernie Sanders love because they think or hope that he will nudge Hillary Clinton more to the left.

    Neither Carson nor Trump are fools or innocents. With respect to abortion, Carson is saying what evangelicals and hard core conservatives have been believing for years. Oh yeah, and the Catholic Church. And obviously, reproductive choice is endangered in many red states.

    Carson’s love of medical savings accounts is odd, but understandable GOP circular reasoning. Year ago, the GOP fell on the idea that vouchers are good for everything from schools to health insurance. This has become an article of faith in the party, without any recourse to reality checking their faith in these products.

    The GOP conservative base is deeply unhappy with their mainstream politicians. To this end, their love for Carson and Trump seeks to push the mainstream candidates to the right.

    It is still unlikely, but not impossible, that either of these two could end up the nominee. It depends on the national mood. I don’t know that any seasoned journalist or political commentator predicted the recent outcome of the elections in Guatemala, where a comedian has been elected president.

    Jimmy Morales, a former TV comedian who has never held office, swept to power in Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday after milking public anger over a corruption scandal that deepened distrust of the country’s political establishment.

    The 46-year-old Morales overwhelmingly beat center-left rival and former first lady Sandra Torres in a run-off vote despite his lack of government experience and some policy ideas that strike many as eccentric.

    Sound familiar?

  141. 141
    Stella B says:

    @mark k: we’ve had “tort reform” in California since Gov. Reagan signed the bill. It hasn’t changed the number of lawsuits, just the nature.

    Neurosurgeons get sued more than other specialties, but most doctors do get sued although the lawsuits rarely go to court and rarely get decided against the doctors. I did a Pap smear on a three pack per day smoker and got sued four years later for failing to detect her future lung cancer (hint: lungs and cervix are at opposite ends and crystal balls for viewing the future have gone out of fashion). The lawsuit was eventually dropped.

    There are plenty of non-physicians at my husband’s stupid country club who hold the same economics views as Ben Carson. It’s more a function of belonging to the bourgeoisie than any particular career choice.

  142. 142
    LAC says:

    @Ryan: disappointed in chuck Todd not pushing back? Unless it is the president, chuck Todd “journalistic” style with his guests is relegated to ” how much of a shine do you want on your balls, sir?”

  143. 143
    kc says:

    On the bright side, I guess, it’s nice to know that the 28% of GOP voters who are nuts don’t mind voting for a black guy as long as he’s nuts too.

  144. 144
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Fascinating post.

  145. 145
    catclub says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The people who would vote for him on the other hand…. They’re everywhere.

    this. The dangerous ones are the median GOP voter.

    I also thought that the statement “Does Not want Muslim president,” is a whole lot of soft soap for:

    “Does not think that a Muslim president would even be legal.”

  146. 146
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @lol: state medical boards are self regulation, doctors policing doctors, usually without meaningful oversight

    doctors won’t take out the trash, and that makes malpractice insurance high for everyone

  147. 147
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You’re being far too kind to the fail parade that is freshwater economics

  148. 148
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    We sue because we have no other way for “justice.” Our system is set up so that professional people rarely will be accused of any criminal wrongdoing in their work life, unless it is so egregious that it can not be hidden. We sue if we are the victim of an auto accident. We sue if we are the victims of police abuse. We sue. We have equated money with justice and so money is the driver of our times. It’s more “civilized.” Of course if you are wronged and are poor, suing is very probably out of your abilities.

  149. 149
    Ruckus says:

    @Elizabelle:
    Better.
    Go to a same day primary everywhere. Better yet have the federal government run all elections for national office and all of them are on the same day.

  150. 150
    Brachiator says:

    @mark k:

    The guy is a quack.

    How do you know this to be the case?

  151. 151

    @greennotGreen:

    I agree something is wrong with him. He has two malpractice suits still pending against him and he “retired” at the woefully young age of 64.

    I’m really no fan of Ben Carson (in fact, he scares me more than Donald Trump), but this is utter nonsense. As a study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011 found, neurosurgery is one of the riskiest medical specialties for malpractice suits. Every year, 19% of neurosurgeons face at least one malpractice suit, and 99% of them face at least one malpractice suit by age 65. That Ben Carson had a few malpractice suits against him during a three decade long career says almost nothing about his abilities as a neurosurgeon. He probably faced about an average number for a typical neurosurgeon doing high risk surgeries in an urban area. Neurosurgery is the specialty that has a higher risk of malpractice lawsuits than any other, obstetrics included.

  152. 152
    Marvel says:

    Chauncey Gardiner — BRILLIANT!!!

  153. 153
    TG Chicago says:

    QOTD from Ben Carson’s spokesman:

    “We spent 54 cents on the dollar to raise money this quarter,” he said. “Last quarter we spent 64 cents on the dollar. That is an 11 cent reduction.”

  154. 154
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: You are correct. Please ignore most of my initial comment. My apologies. And no, no one group all looks alike.

  155. 155
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: as a criminologist I always find it interesting that the discipline in which rational choice theory originates, which Bentham’s concepts of punishment, is the discipline that ran the concept out hard back in the early 20th century and other than a very modified form for routine activity theory of crime, refuses to allow it back in.

  156. 156
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Holocene Human: other than the bit that Rikyrah caught: that I’ve confused Dr. Walter Williams with Mr. Armstrong Williams.

  157. 157
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Its a mess to be sure. The assumptions are a mess, and despite the seeming sophistication of the statistics, I don’t think they are showing what they are being interpreted to show. Moreover, they completely ignore the portions of Friedman’s work that do overlap with Keynes. Its basically a bunch of students who instead of taking their teacher’s work and building upon instead became acolytes, reified the work, developed exceedingly elaborate quantitative methods to demonstrate their misunderstandings and misapplications of their teacher’s work, and then proceeded to tell everyone else they simply didn’t understand the elegance of their models. When you have to argue that reality needs to conform to your models, because the models really can’t and don’t describe reality, rather than you need a more realistic model, you’ve got a problem.

  158. 158
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    When you have to argue that reality needs to conform to your models, because the models really can’t and don’t describe reality, rather than you need a more realistic model, you’ve got a problem.

    Wouldn’t this be exactly the same as conservative ideas are correct, they just weren’t applied properly? Example, Kansas.

  159. 159
    Elie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He is definitely pushing all the right emotional buttons for alienated white people. And you know, he is getting away with it! Yes, while there have been columns and blogs noting his craziness and extreme views, not one of the opponents has taken this guy on. Trump mumbled a little somsom about Carson being dull, but not one other candidate has stuck it to this guy — even the known losers who have already quit or probably will. Like someone said upstring, yes, Carson is sick, but think about the people who support him! Wow! Its like being around werewolves — people who seem normal day to day, but under the influence of the full moon or having someone like Carson say the right things to activate the beast inside, become monsters.

  160. 160
    Elie says:

    @kc:

    I wouldn’t push it that far yet. Not sure this would hold up head to head with another white Republican strong enough to really take him on. They just would have to push it and right now, no one is doing that but are letting him run with it. He is a narcissist — explicitly. Though he has been calm and cool, he hasn’t really been tested. My guess is that like most narcissists, there is a very thin skin under that cool first impression. Pricking it a few times might reveal a not so pleasant person underneath.

  161. 161
    Elie says:

    I would also add that he is saying all the right things that a black man should say and think — if you are a white racist. It gives them license to support the N—r — “see we aren’t racists!”

  162. 162
    Montysan0 says:

    I’m fairly certain of two things: 1) Ben Carson will never be the GOP nominee, and 2) D. Trump is not actually running for office. He’s brand-building and getting his ego stroked. There will be some event (personal issues, health) that will cause him to leave the race.

    At that point, the GOP is stuck with Jeb! and Ted Cruz. Good luck with all that….

  163. 163
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ruckus: yes

  164. 164
    john b says:

    @TG Chicago:

    “We spent 54 cents on the dollar to raise money this quarter,” he said. “Last quarter we spent 64 cents on the dollar. That is an 11 cent reduction.”

    eh. could be accurate if rounding worked out in an unfavorable way:
    53.5 -> 54 and 64.4->64 would be an actual difference of 10.9 cents. He should have thought how those three numbers used in the same statement would appear very dumb, of course.

  165. 165
    Brachiator says:

    @Montysan0:

    I’m fairly certain of two things: 1) Ben Carson will never be the GOP nominee, and 2) D. Trump is not actually running for office. He’s brand-building and getting his ego stroked. There will be some event (personal issues, health) that will cause him to leave the race.

    Are you really certain of this?

    I would like to agree with you, and ultimately, we will have to wait to see what happens in the primaries to see what happens.

    But the continued popularity in the polls of Trump and Carson represent huge dissatisfaction with the mainstream GOP politicians, and so far none of them have really acknowledged this. They give lip service to the hard liners, but still mainly stick to their stump speeches and pre-determined campaign strategy.

    And this may be an extreme outlier, but consider the recent outcome of the elections in Guatemala:

    Jimmy Morales, a former TV comedian who has never held office, swept to power in Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday after milking public anger over a corruption scandal that deepened distrust of the country’s political establishment.

    The 46-year-old Morales overwhelmingly beat center-left rival and former first lady Sandra Torres in a run-off vote despite his lack of government experience and some policy ideas that strike many as eccentric.

    Could this happen here?

  166. 166
    mclaren says:

    Dr. Carson is a devout Seventh Day Adventist, and a gifted surgeon…

    Do you have any evidence to support that claim about his surgical “skills”?

    Ben Carson apparently makes a habit of leaving surgical sponges in the brains of his patients.

    There are many ways to describe that behavior, but “gifted surgeon” is not one of them.

  167. 167
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @john b: Two plus two equals five, for large values of two.

  168. 168
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Almost anything is possible of course.
    But I’d say that while tRump or Carson are staying popular with their base, I don’t see either of them getting a lot more than that. I am one who thinks that one of these two will quite possibly be the republican nominee, their power has stayed fairly consistent in the polls. Neither one of them is overwhelming the other and either would be horrible for the country but the only way I see either getting out is if tRump is a ratfucking of the highest order or Carson steps so hard on himself that everyone can see that he’s nuts. I don’t see any of the rest of them having enough support from the money changers or their own personalities to take charge but if both tRump and Carson blow it on the way to the nomination one of the stragglers will have to be vaulted into center stage.
    Others talk about the conservative establishment but that to me is laughable. The closest thing conservatives have/had to an establishment figure was the speaker. And they’ve crushed him. Who on the conservative side is going to play the establishment role? The Koch bros? They are just as loony or even more than any of the candidates and their boy is gone. Conservatives at this point are a rudderless ship, one that still has the engines running at full throttle while the captain is drunk and has fallen off the bridge. We can all say what we’d like to happen or what we think will happen but really no one has any idea.

  169. 169
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I think Dr. Williams found himself a willing and largely blank policy canvas and is in the process of trying to construct a masterpiece.

    Thank you; I hadn’t paid much attention to Dr. Williams’ prior history.

    Of course, it does kinda feed into the suspicion that many economists — especially those from the ‘Chicago school’ — are less scientists than theologists!

  170. 170
    MCA1 says:

    Agreed with many upthread that while Carson’s got some enormous headwinds and will never be the nominee, the simple fact that he’s where he is, now just a few months from the start of the primaries, is a massive indictment of the Republican party, its voters and our media. Here’s the off the top of my head tally – Carson:

    – has said that Obama wants to cancel the 2016 elections and impose martial law
    – repeats constantly a Nazi gun control fantasy counterfactual history that’s mostly tied to white supremecists
    – stated just last week that he’d like the federal Dep’t of Education repurposed into a Stasi like investigator of complaints against academics
    – is a Seventh Day Adventist (who have mutual hatred relationships with both evangelicals and Catholics)
    – has said that evolution is a Satanic delusion and subscribing to natural selection means you think given enough repetitions a tornado could build a functioning airplane (or something like that)
    – has a curious penchant for analogizing literally everything to either Hitler or slavery
    – has never held either political office or any executive position in a company
    – is excessively somnambulant
    – admits to having been a terror as a teenager (I get Silverman’s note about redemption story appeal to evangelicals from way upthread, but keep in mind this is a black guy describing himself as a violent teenager to Iowa Republicans)
    – definitively proved that he does not even understand distinction between debt limit and actual budget debt/deficit

    That is the person currently winning the race in the Iowa polls and running second nationally in Republican wish lists. Directly ahead of and behind a reality TV buffoon, and together they’ve corralled over half of the party. Any single one of those above items would have immediately disqualified any candidate just a decade ago.

    In other words, Peak Wingnut is a lie. Or it’s finally arrived, I don’t know. But I think it’s probably a lie. :^)

  171. 171

    @MCA1: You forgot where he gave the example of the solar system as an example of intelligent design.

  172. 172
    Duane says:

    @MomSense:

    My eyes rolled so hard one came loose.

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