I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I like Ben Carson. I have immense respect for the man. He's more brilliant and accomplished than I could ever hope to be, and he is courageously spot-on philosophically with the direction back towards which American needs to be led.
But, I've said it before and I'll say it again: None of the above qualifies Dr. Carson to be the one to do that leading. The presidency, in other words, is not an entry-level job. Dr. Carson may be 100% right, but he has zero executive experience and has never run for any public office. And as much as some Tea Partiers glorify "citizen-politicians" and general political neophytism, the truth is that politics is a profession and you do need to build experience - a resume - just like in any other line of work.
And that reality is now landing on Dr. Carson with both feet:
The presidential candidacy of Ben Carson, a tea party star who has catapulted into the top tier of Republican contenders, has been rocked by turmoil with the departures of four senior campaign officials and widespread disarray among his allied super PACs.
In interviews Friday, Carson’s associates described a political network in tumult, saying the retired neurosurgeon’s campaign chairman, national finance chairman, deputy campaign manager and general counsel have resigned since Carson formally launched his bid last month in Detroit. They have not been replaced, campaign aides said.
The moves gutted the core of Carson’s apparatus and left the sixty-three-year-old first-time candidate with only a handful of experienced advisers at his side as he navigates the fluid, crowded and high-stakes contest for the Republican nomination.
I can hear the "Run, Ben, Run!" crowd now - these defectors are "turncoats," "traitors," they got "bought off," etc. Any finger-pointing excuse to escape the reality that perhaps, just perhaps, when these four political professionals got to see how their candidate rolls on a day-to-day basis, they realized that what had looked good on paper just isn't going to work in practice:
[Armstrong] Williams [the only top Carson campaign poobah left] portrayed Carson as a candidate who is still learning the nuances of politics. He said Carson is studying up on issues and is uninterested in campaign mechanics.
On the road, Carson receives hearty receptions, but his acquaintances said he is most content after public events to retreat to a pool table, where he touts the hand-eye coordination that made him a renowned surgeon. He also likes to do brain teasers or play golf.
Carson occasionally drops by his Alexandria campaign headquarters, but his main interaction with staffers is just once a week, at 10 a.m. on Sundays, when he participates in a conference call to go over his schedule for the coming week.
“Dr. Carson doesn’t get involved in the minutia,” Williams said. “You have to understand his personality. He’s informed, but this whole process is new to him, and he’s relying on the judgment of others.” [emphases added]
Or, in other words, Dr. Carson doesn't have the "fire in the belly," and even if he did, he wouldn't know what to do with it. Which political pros, and even a pajamaed hack like your humble pundit, can easily recognize. And the four top Carsonites decided their time was being wasted on a poseur/vanity candidate and decided to go elsewhere where their talents could be put to better use.
Now don't get me wrong; I actually sympathize with BC. Part of it is simply human nature. If I suddenly had a whole posse of fans and supporters across the country telling me how great I am and how much they love what I have to say and how I should be running for president because the country needs me, etc., etc., etc., it'd be a very heady thing, and a very difficult thing to which to say no. Plus, in my case, not having a net worth in eight figures and beholding the income-generating possibilities (See why I'd never make a good pol? I'm too gosh-darned candid) that could set up myself and my family for life, it would be, for me, well-nigh irresistible.
Dr. Carson, already being set up for life and then some, doesn't even have that motivation, and it is really showing. I think he got into the Republican presidential nomination race for others, not because he wanted to run himself. And to be a successful candidate, you must have that "fire in the belly" - along with the experience to both be an effective Chief Executive and win the election without which you can never attain office in the first place.
Ben Carson is oh-for-three.
And in baseball, that's a strike-out.