Along with the steady rise of Donald Trump, the other recent noteworthy feature in the Republican presidential race is the steady decline of Ben Carson. Whereas Trump seems to thrive despite saying and doing things that would sink anyone else’s candidacy. with every supposed gaffe simply adding to his appeal, Carson is finding that his support is less solid and has been on a steady slide for the last month.
This is true even among evangelicals, his strongest base where it has dropped from 32% to 19%. Carson is discovering something that the rest of us have known for a long time, that they are a super-sensitive bunch and that his content-free platitudes that people found attractive at one point no longer seem to have the same magic. His latest bromide following the Planned Parenthood shooting that all sides should tone down the rhetoric has been seen by some evangelicals as a betrayal.
Asked if he believed critics who said antiabortion rhetoric resulted in the shooting, Carson equivocated — and was later blasted by key members of his base.
“There is no question that hateful rhetoric, no matter which side it comes from, right or left, is something that is detrimental to our society. This has been a big problem,” Carson said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think both sides should tone down their rhetoric and engage in civil discussion.”
He has since faced significant backlash. Conservative radio host Steve Deace, a prominent Iowan among evangelical voters, published a column Tuesday accusing Carson of providing “ammunition for those opposed to life to target pro-lifers with.” The article ran under the headline “Ben Carson throws pro-lifers under the bus.
“Both sides do it” is the mainstream media’s way of claiming the much-desired mantle of neutrality. It is usually a safe option when you don’t have anything useful to say, But these Christians think that they are definitely not to blame for anything. They want nothing less than total allegiance to their cause and even a hint that they might be partly responsible for anything bad is enough to infuriate them.
Carson’s appearance before Sheldon Adelson’s group the Republican Jewish Coalition also did not go well. His comatose delivery style was made worse this time by his decision to read his speech from beginning to end. But he read it badly, never looking up from his podium. I have not listened to his speech but reports say that his speech had a large part devoted to the history of Israel, which would seem redundant for this group. He also kept pronouncing the name of the group Hamas in a way that made it sound like hummus, a trivial thing no doubt, but problematic for a candidate fighting the sense that he is not ready for prime time.
But what was extraordinary was that his speech, in an effort to pander to Jews, contained another bizarre theory of his that rivals his ‘pyramids were built to store grain’. This was that the $1 bill contains a Star of David and that it was deliberately put there by George Washington in gratitude for a wealthy Jewish supporter.
Addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition today, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told a story about how the Star of David came to be on the U.S. dollar bill.
Only one problem: There’s no Star of David on the dollar bill.
Carson was telling the story of wealthy Jewish merchant Haym Salomon, who is said to have been a major financier of George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War.
“Salomon gave all his funds to save the U.S. Army and, some say, no one knows for sure, that’s the reason there’s a Star of David on the back of the one dollar bill,” Carson said in Washington, D.C.
There is a conspiracy theory that a design of stars arranged above the eagle on the U.S. seal printed on the bill forms a Jewish star and that this was done as a way to thank Salomon for his generosity.
But the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s Wayne Homren says there’s no evidence to suggest any truth to support the theory that the stars were intentionally arranged to represent the Jewish star, let alone that it was done in Salomon’s name.
“If you squint, you can say there’s some resemblance but that certainly was not the intention of the designers, that we’re aware,” Homren told ABC News.
This was not even the most egregious example of pandering by the Republican candidates at this forum, with Ashley Feinberg ranking Carson’s efforts at merely sixth.
Are we seeing the end of Ben Carson? If so, it would bring down the curtain on one of the strangest presidential candidacies in recent times, and that is in the face of strict competition from Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, and Herman Cain.