Putting the “con” in conniving…
Posted October 19, 2015on:
For those of you tuning-in for MB’s weekly affirmational activism, she is pulled seven ways from Sunday with work and travel. She will be back next week, but not to worry, she will be popping in with comments and keeping an archangel’s watchful eye upon us.
Before I begin, I have to check-off some mandatory disclaimers. First, Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon and from all reports a fine one. Second, he was a pediatric neurosurgeon, so extra points there. Third, by all reports he seems to be a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Fourth, he seems to be a sweet, soft-spoken, thoughtful human. Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, he’s a platinum-certified, tra-lah-lah-lah cuckoo crackpot.
Just for the record, numbers one through four do not make number five impossible. I’ve known plenty of brilliant people who enjoy howling at the moon. In all fairness, number five seems to be somewhat conclusory so I suppose I should offer some supporting rationale.
Here are some of the things, in summary form, the good doctor has professed:
- Obamacare is worse than slavery, America is a Gestapo state;
- He’s never seen a bullet-hole uglier than a gun law;
- Gayness is a choice because prisoners are raped and come out of prison all “gayed up”;
- The Big Bang theory is a fairy tale and evolution is the work of Satan;
- There’s no racism in America;
- There’s no war on women, but there might be a war on women’s insides (I don’t even know what that means);
- Planned Parenthood is an orchestrated plot to kill black babies; and
- A devotion to Cleon Skousen, an activist author described by the conservative National Review, as an all-around nut job.
The choice of Skousen as a philosophical beacon for your world view is bizarre to say the least. Skousen believed “agents of communism” had “penetrated every echelon of American society—including some of the highest offices of the United States Government.”
In addition, Skousen maintained that the Founding Fathers were direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel and contended that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world. Among other things he also hated abstract art and thought of it as a nefarious plot. I could go on with quotes from Skousen about “naked pickaninnies running about,” but why – you get the picture.
At this point, you probably think this is just a post about trashing Ben Carson. Admittedly it does do that, but there’s more to consider. Carson consistently polls second in national polling behind Forrest Trump and in the IBD/TIPP poll that many consider to be the most accurate, Carson is first with a seven point advantage over Trump.
And the kicker, the 20% of the Republicans who support Carson ponied up Twenty Million Dollars last quarter – that’s $20,000,000 – the largest fundraising haul of any Republican. Here’s what he did with it – spent over $11,000,000 on direct mail, online fundraising, and various other money-raising gimmicks. In other words, his burn rate for fundraising is around 60% — so for every dollar some unsuspecting, but believing, rube sent him, sixty cents went to bilk that same person or some other unsuspecting rube out of another dollar. This shakedown rate puts him in spitting distance of the Michele Bachmann/Sarah Palin Hall of Shame for Shakedowns.
So after a $20 million haul, what does the good Doctor do? He temporarily suspends his campaign. To do what you ask? To go on a book tour and sit in some latte scented corner of Barnes & Noble and read to converts. With this decision he joins the pantheon of Ron Paul’s “buy gold” newsletter, Huckabuck’s cinnamon diabetes cure, and the grande dame herself, Sarah Palin’s single-handed defense of Christmas. Why does it surprise so many Republicans when their Foxy time is punctuated by so many of the very same people to whom they contributed during the campaign? It is unsurprising that the campaign was little more than an audition.
Ben Carson is a grifter, perhaps not a grifter by design, but in practice. By analogy, white collar criminals don’t commit muggings, but they are common thieves nonetheless. Carson’s con is book sales begetting higher speaking fees begetting enhanced pundit value begetting greater celebrity begetting additional influence begetting more book sales – the life-cycle of a professional grifter’s con.
Carson is not unique in his con, but I have chosen to focus on him because of the rather crass manner of how he appeared on the national political stage. In 2013, Carson chose to get up in President Obama’s grill at the National Prayer Breakfast – a non-political event that has been around since Ike’s first term. Never before had anyone had the temerity to violate its nonpartisan heritage until Carson used it as his successful Fox audition. That my friends is not a good and pure heart – that is the heart of a grifter.
When you combine the poll numbers of Trump, Carson, and Fiorina (her con is promotion through ever-increasing failure) you have over 50% of the Republican Party supporting these grifting cons. Not a day of government service among them. Not a whit of mission beyond feeding an unquenchable ego. And most importantly, because of the Foxification of the media, no one to call their con what it is – one long scam.
Take this conversation in any direction you might like. Enjoy your Monday!
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