A year ago I wrote a piece arguing that Ben Carson would be an excellent vice president, but he needed more political experience before filling the Number One spot.
It was arguably very impudent for me, an Australian, to advise Americans on their political leader, though, like the rest of the civilized world we Aussies have a very big interest in the election’s outcome. Your hopes and fears are ours.
Anyway, I am changing my cheeky advice: Carson is presidential material — in fact the most plausible president among the front runners.
In a long and grueling campaign he has shown patience, adamantine dignity, a thorough grasp of the issues. He has remained calm under fire.
He has answered the objection that he lacks political experience: the campaign has salted him there, and in any event, the professional politicians in the race have not shown themselves any more competent.
His astonishing early life and career are adequate testimony to his splendid intellect and, most important of all, to his strength of character. No one can read of his early life without being staggered at the obstacles he overcame on the path to high achievement.
Unlike Obama’s ridiculous Nobel Prize, Carson’s rewards have been earned. His life story, unlike that of many contemporary leaders, is a testament to what can be accomplished by sheer willpower.
In a Western world led by political featherweights he offers gravitas and as fundamental seriousness of purpose.
Though it is a relatively minor matter, in his first speech that I heard I was struck by his comparison of the gargantuan rewards offered to sports stars and rock musicians as against those offered science “geeks” from school days onwards. It was, early in the piece, an example of brave and necessary iconoclasm, a real and needed assault on a destructive sacred cow. It was something many a politician would not have dared say, and he is a fine, even an inspiring, speaker: he has shown that a politician can be a person of thought, not merely speechwriter-composed eloquence.
Unlike Obama, his background is an open book. He even (an unfortunately relevant consideration in the present age) looks presidential.
In every comparison with Obama of fitness for the office, Carson aces him: a brilliant neurosurgeon who rose to the top of his profession in contrast to a “community organizer,” an editor who as far as I know never published an article of his own, a lawyer who as far as I know never conducted a trial in his life.
He has no links with the Weather Underground or with America-hating, anti-Western Marxists or race-baiters and constitutional wreckers like those surrounding Obama and who have now sunk deep roots in the Democrats. He seems ideally positioned to undo the damage Obama and his crew have done to race relations in America, as he may undo the damage the Clintons have done to standards of public life. He is a man, and comes from a family, that America can be proud of. He might be said to embody in himself the great American values and virtues. Who could say that of Clinton or even Biden?
He has none of Obama’s nauseating smarminess. His brother has not been abandoned by him to penury in an African village — his brother rose out of the ghetto like him and became an aeronautical engineer. He appears to care deeply for the bedrock values of Western civilization and its scientific and technological achievements, where Obama’s attitude seems flippant and cavalier at best, contemptuous and hostile at worst. I am quite sure that, as a distinguished scientist in his own right, he would not direct NASA to make its mission a feel-good drive to make Muslims feel better about their scientific achievements.
Like Churchill, he sees the need for Western Civilization to be sheltered from barbarism by “the strong arms of science.“
He comes across as the kind of man America’s enemies would be reluctant to mess with. Putin’s open contempt for Obama wouldn’t fly with Carson.
In brief, he has displayed extraordinary intelligence and force of character such as any of the possible Democrat contenders would be hard-put to match.
It seems a part of the genius of Western Civilization that, in what Churchill called “an era of confusion and decay,” it can suddenly bring forth great leaders who saved the situation: Churchill himself, preeminently in modern times, but also Thatcher, Reagan, Truman, and others, leaders who are like teak compared to papier-mâché.
Leadership is a much-abused word, but at a time when not only America but Britain and the West in general (my own country not least) have been suffering from a real deficiency of leadership of character, Ben Carson has shown that leadership that grown out of real inner strength.
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