Brain surgeon, Hollywood inspiration — and the next Republican hope

Republicans eye neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson


(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

As Republicans launch a new effort to recruit more candidates among racial minorities, one is already emerging into the national spotlight: a brain surgeon who happens to be African American.

Dr. Benjamin Carson is retiring as the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, where he has drawn international acclaim as an expert in separating conjoined twins. He has dozens of honorary degrees, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a life story that is the stuff movies are made of: Cuba Gooding, Jr. played Carson in a 2009 film version of his rise from an impoverished childhood in Detroit’s inner city, where he was raised by a single mother with only a third-grade education but the highest expectations for her sons. Today, his foundation funds thousands of scholarships and reading rooms in poor schools.

Earlier this year, Carson electrified Republicans with a rousing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington that mixed his gospel of personal responsibility (“I came to understand that I had control of my own destiny”) with conservative policy. He advocated replacing Barack Obama’s universal health insurance with individual health savings accounts and swapping the progressive income-tax system for a Biblically inspired flat tax. (“When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe.”)

As the Obamas sat nearby, he implicitly criticized their choice of careers—saying there were too many lawyers running Washington. “I’ve got news for you: five doctors were involved in signing the Declaration of Independence. We need doctors, scientists and engineers—we need all those people involved in government.” At the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of Republicans, he got a standing ovation for his speech.

Not all his views align with GOP dogma. For example, he opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he has influential boosters. The conservative Wall Street Journal enthused, “Ben Carson for president.” Fox News host Sean Hannity said he’d vote for him. Rush Limbaugh said he’d scare Democrats. Carson has allowed that he’d run “if the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it,” but later said the chances are “small.”

Of course, a presidential run is a tough place to start—just ask the last black Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain. Conveniently, a U.S. Senate seat in Carson’s native Michigan will be up for grabs in the 2014 mid-term elections, and a Carson campaign would draw a flood of national media attention and cash. According to Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley: “Carson would help a party addicted to white suburban candidates intrigue young and urban voters, black and white, who grew up looking at his picture hanging on their classroom walls.”


Brain surgeon, Hollywood inspiration — and the next Republican hope

  1. Those are some incredibly stupid things to be said by a man with supposedly difficult to obtain credentials.

  2. Liberals have already called him:

    Negro, Uncle Tom, Oreo, etc

    But go ahead…ignore all that since it comes from the left. Tell us again how the Tea Party are the real racists. That story *never* gets old.

  3. Of course there is also this little gem from the good doctor:

    “My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a
    well-established fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they
    gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it
    doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition,”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/ben-carson-gay-remark-apology-89475.html#ixzz2PE97eesN

  4. This story was filed Monday? it’s a little bit behind the times.

    Carson has already stepped down from speaking at the John Hopkins commencement after he made comments comparing gay marriage to bestiality and pedophilia.

    It’s also been revealed that in a 1999 book he compared gay marriage to murder. From “Ben Carson compares homosexuality to murder”, by Alex Seitz-Wald:

    After a gay couple brought their child in to be examined at Carson’s clinic, a colleague told him, “I know you don’t approve of homosexual relationships … but I was impressed with that couple … Think what you want, but it’s just your opinion.”

    Carson writes that he replied thusly:

    My response wasn’t nearly that politically correct. “Excuse me, but I beg to differ,” I said. “How I feel and what I think isn’t just my opinion. God in his Word says very clearly that he considers homosexual acts to be an ‘abomination.’” Whenever I point out that God calls homosexual behavior a sin, I am usually quick to add that the Bible just as clearly calls a lot of other things wrong — lying, cheating, adultery, murder, gluttony — and I am not going to try to justify any those things in order to be politically correct either.

Sign in to comment.