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Saying the Quiet Parts Loud

[ 121 ] September 22, 2015 |

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Ben Carson edition.

I can’t wait for Michael Kinsley’s column about how we shouldn’t criticize poor Dr. Carson for his comments about how some classes of people should be ineligible for the presidency because he hasn’t actually called for Ahmed Mohamed to summarily executed.

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  1. Docrailgun says:

    Ben Carson will never be a Republican nominee for President – I think there might be a tiny minority of likely GOP voters that have a problem with brown people, or so it’s rumored. Some of these same people don’t think he’s even a Christian (being a Seventh Day Adventist).

    • DonN says:

      Well, they did get past Mittens being Mormon.
      DN

    • UserGoogol says:

      I don’t think racism works that way. It’s not about sheer animus for people of color (except for a genuinely small group which isn’t a key source of votes) it’s about a broader view of the world where minorities get the short end of the stick. But that leaves plenty of room for individual black people to still be praised.

      • NBarnes says:

        I think you’re largely correct. I do believe that there’s a non-zero, probably not-entirely-trivial number of ‘he’s a goddamn ni*CLANG*’ population in the GOP, who will never have the time of day for any black person, no matter how much of a reactionary apparatchik that black person is, I think the majority of functional racists there are prepared to be on board with a black person who otherwise agrees with them on all issues, including racial issues. One expects that they’re actually thrilled to have a real black friend that agrees with them, instead of the usual imaginary ones.

  2. so-in-so says:

    i’m not sure why the dance around “religious freedom is for Christians, and maybe Jews, on a good day”. They WANT to come out and say it, they come close, but candidates at least see it as crossing a line they dare not cross. Still, they come as close as they can, and wink and nudge to get the full point.

    That said, Carson didn’t say that a Muslim President was AGAINST the Constitution. He said it was “incompatible”. We could argue that those who favor Christian theocracy, or Fascism, serving as President are incompatible in their political beliefs with the Constitution.

    • Derelict says:

      Many do not dance around the notion–they come right out and declare “this is a Christian nation!” In the current GOP crop, Carson, Huckabee, and Cruz have made this declaration.

      The marvelous part is that they don’t even begin to think about which flavor of Christianity should rule the land. (I guess that will be decided by the cleansing fire.) Carson should be most acutely aware of this as he’s been directly targeted by other Christians for his faith. But, then, he refuses to believe that Blacks are discriminated against, so . . .

      • Alex.S says:

        My favorite part is when they say “Judeo-Christian” as a way to defend why their opposed to Muslims or to explain why their specific Christian views need to be adopted as the law. I never see it used to explain a Jewish value or as a reason to respect diversity of religion.

        • creature says:

          I always thought ‘Judeo-Muslim values’ was more accurate, being that the Christians have that addendum to that most important tome. Both Jews and Muslims refer to each other as ‘people of the Book’. Carson, Trump, et al., are just peeling back the veneer of respectability (or cover of darkness- your choice) and letting America’s real ‘freak flag’ wave high and wide. Also, G’mar tov, y’all!

        • BiloSagdiyev says:

          Maybe they like circumcision?

          I’ve just always interpreted it as, “Hey, conservative and neocon Jews! You can be one of our gang now!”

        • Joshua says:

          “Judeo-Christian” is just culture war phraseology. I’ve never heard it in any context except railing against somebody else, whether it is liberals, atheists, socialists, or now Muslims.

        • Linnaeus says:

          This. Outside of maybe an academic context, people who say that pretty much never care about the “Judeo-” part.

        • Lurker says:

          Indeed. The term is just a way to avoid being called anti-semite. Objectively, there is very little in common between Christianity and Judaism. They share some sacred scriptures, but the conclusions are completely different. In reality, there is no common ground at all, and any “Judeo-Christian” values you can name are basic monotheist ideas or ethical concepts which are shared by all major religions.

    • Brad Nailer says:

      “We could argue that those who favor Christian theocracy, or Fascism, serving as President are incompatible in their political beliefs with the Constitution.”

      We could argue that but we don’t. When’s the last time you heard anyone on the Sunday news shows use the words “Dominionism” or “theocracy” in relation to Ted Cruz or simply as a general statement of how some people think about democracy in America?

    • UserGoogol says:

      John Holbo had a post on Crooked Timber where he pointed out that this is a more general trend. The Republican Party is heavily dominated by its rightmost flank, but on a variety of issues haven’t remotely seen an Overton Window effect where views even more right than that have become relatively acceptable. It’s just a sharp drop from Ted Cruz to the unthinkable.

      My optimistic view in the comments was at some point you just start banging against the fundamental values of modernity, and even though those values are far from being universal they’re too ingrained in our society to easily push past.

  3. Todd says:

    The chances aren’t zero that Trump calls this Pope a ‘loser’.

  4. CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

    Did he really mean that Muslims should be barred from the Presidency, though, or just that he thinks having a Muslim President would be a bad idea? Because the idea that a candidate’s religion can be a reason to vote for someone else is, umm, not exactly unheard of on Team Blue.

    • Manju says:

      How Republicans allowed themselves to be called “Team Red” is beyond me.

      • Matt McIrvin says:

        The modern “red/blue” seems to have happened organically as a result of the discussion of electoral maps during the fight over the 2000 election results. The popular ones represented the Republicans as red and the Democrats as blue purely by chance, and it was a situation that focused people’s attention on the maps.

        Before then, there wasn’t really any consistent iconography associating the major US political parties with colors; election maps were all over the place.

        • Linnaeus says:

          They used to flip the colors from election to election, as I recall. I remember the Republicans being blue many years ago when I was watching election results on ABC.

          It’s a little strange – and I know that I’m not the first to notice this by any means – that in the US, blue is now identified with the more liberal party, given that blue has tended to be identified with conservative parties. But I suppose red would be off-limits for the Democrats, given our nation’s aversion to socialism and yellow would just throw people off.

          • Les Ismore says:

            In Canada, Conservatives are blue, Liberals red, the NDP is orange and the Green Party is…

            (Hint: it’s not purple.)

          • Derelict says:

            Republicans would love for yellow to be the Democrats’ color. After all, Democrats are the cowards because they do things like serve in gthe military, get badly wounded (including losing limbs), and win medals for valor. Republicans, OTOH, are courageous because they get deferments, serve a little bit in the National Guard before deserting, and wear Purple Heart band-aids to show their support for veterans.

            • so-in-so says:

              But Republicans ARE all in favor of the Military Industrial Complex, Defense Spending (on things that pay money to investors, not military personnel) and starting wars. And they say things like “bring it on” while surrounded by security personnel sworn to take a bullet or fall on a grenade for them, so they are much braver than Democrats.

          • JMP says:

            Well Red Lanterns represent anger, and Blue Lanterns hope, so it kind of fits – though the Orange Lanterns (greed) are probably an even better fit for the modern GOP.

            • NBarnes says:

              I’d argue that the core of the emotional impulses that define the mindset of the GOP is fear, the domain of the yellow power rings. But I’m generally of the opinion that fear is at the root of most negativist mindsets.

              Also, I’m absolutely prepared to believe that Donald Trump is secretly Sinestro. It’s as plausible as any other explanation.

    • Derelict says:

      Whose religion would you be referring to here? The last Democrat I can recall who was subjected to serious religious scrutiny was Kennedy. Reaching back more than half a century in order to make a “both sides do it” argument seems a it shaky.

      • Manju says:

        Well, “Obama is Muslim” started with Hillary Clinton voters. Also, Bob Kerrey dogwhislted it before the Iowa caucus.

      • David Hunt says:

        Then your memory is highly flawed. Obama has been the subject of constant,intense attack regarding his religious faith. Most of these attacks target what conspiracy theorist imagine his religion to be rather than his actual faith, but he’s still been under constant attack on the religious front.

        Also, I recall a concerted effort to link the actual church he attended in Chicago with violent anti-American rhetoric, and being subjected to endless replays of the the three seconds of footage showing his pastor saying “God damn America!” There was a concerted effort to to convince voters that anyone who attended his church should never be president…along with another concerted push to convince voters that he was a secret Muslim and should never be president because of that religion.

        • Derelict says:

          Erm, I think you might be recalling how the GOP and the media reacted to that. I don’t remember Hillary’s campaign having much to say about it. Indeed, it was the GOP freakout over Obama’s religion that caused Bill Maher to observe “McCain never goes to church, which proves he’s a Christian. Obama attended radical Christian church, which proves he’s a Muslim.”

          • Shakezula says:

            Right, random PUMAs & Hillbuzzards =/= Clinton Campaign.

            But if someone ignores the difference between presidential candidates and random freaks on the street to make a point, that’s probably intentional.

          • Manju says:

            I don’t remember Hillary’s campaign having much to say about it.

            While campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton this week, former Senator Bob Kerrey became the fourth Clinton supporter this month to raise a false smear against Barack Obama…”

            • random says:

              Notably missing from this link is the part where Kerrey actually states that Obama is Muslim. Instead he explicitly states that Obama is Christian who attended a Muslim school when he was younger, and should address the accusations that were already in existence and that we know originated on Republican conservative website freerepublic.com well before that, it’s something you can confirm yourself.

              If that’s accusing Obama of being Muslim, then all of the republic candidates who are saying Obama isn’t Muslim are also engaging in a nasty smear tactic apparently.

              Notably present in the article is the mention that the two Clinton staffers who forwarded the pre-existing emails that actually do claim he is Muslim were immediately fired. When does anyone on the Republican side get fired for this sort of crap?

              • Origami Isopod says:

                Notably missing from this link is the part where Kerrey actually states that Obama is Muslim. Instead he explicitly states that Obama is Christian who attended a Muslim school when he was younger…

                “Alex, what is a ‘dogwhistle’?”

              • Manju says:

                Instead he explicitly states that Obama…attended a Muslim school when he was younger,

                Obama didn’t attend a Muslim School. At the time, Bigots were claiming that he did.

                On the eve of the Iowa Caucus and while endorsing Hillary Clinton, Bob Kerrey went out of his way to use the term “madrassa” in association with Obama and his schooling.

                He did this while simultaneously maintaining that he thought Obama attending such a madrassa was actually a good thing….for the same reason Reagan chose to say “States Rights” instead of “Segregation Now…”

        • Rob in CT says:

          Yeah, I think what Derelict meant was “the last Presidential candidate subjected to serious religious scrutiny by Democrats“…

      • Randy says:

        Jimmy Carter got some scrutiny in ’76 when he proclaimed he was a born-again Christian. There was a lot of musing about what, exactly, that meant.

        I recall that Ronald Reagan was quoted that year as saying he didn’t want to bring religion into the debate, because he personally had a lot of questions and doubts, and he didn’t want to have a public discussion about them. Then, he got the memo about the evangelical vote.

        • Snarki, child of Loki says:

          Jimmy Carter got some scrutiny in ’76 when he proclaimed he was a born-again Christian. There was a lot of musing about what, exactly, that meant.

          Clearly we can blame most of the current GOP’s insanity on Carter.

          He was, after all, a nut farmer.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Do you mean people being put off by super religious rhetoric from GOP politicians?

      Saying “I don’t want to elect a Christian theocrat” is not the same thing as “I don’t think we should elect a Christian.”

      • CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

        I’m talking about reactions to beliefs not directly policy-related, such as creationism; I’ve read a fair number of comments over the years to the effect that failure to believe in evolution is somehow disqualifying for a candidate. And there were a lot of comments about Romney’s beliefs (lol magic underwear) that the same people would consider unacceptable about a non-Western faith.

        • BiloSagdiyev says:

          That’s because non-Western faiths are ancient traditions and magic Mormon underwear is a hilarious, recent modern invention.

          Of course, I try to be fair, and point and snigger at all of them.

          Now let me peek into my hat and see what the stones tell me I should write next…

        • Origami Isopod says:

          I’ve read a fair number of comments over the years to the effect that failure to believe in evolution is somehow disqualifying for a candidate.

          …and you have a problem with this? Evolution is a fact, not a “belief.”

          • Pat says:

            Evolution is as much a fact as gravity. People who doubt evolution ought to be asked to “prove their faith in God” by jumping off a third floor balcony.

            If you really believed, he would prove himself to all non-believers by saving you…

          • CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

            Evolution is true whether Bobby Jindal believes in it or not, but I fail to see how believing in this particular thing is different from the other million varieties of nonsense that people believe–and make no mistake, the vast majority of people believe some sort of nonsense or other. Lots of good NPR-listening liberals believe in crystal healing, alien visitors, or various conspiracy theories! I think it’s possible that DXM made me mentally travel through time once, and that is, objectively speaking, crazy as shit. Hell, a lot of people believe pop stars write their own songs!

            So to say that creationism, specifically, is disqualifying just looks like tribalism or regionalism to me.

            • Rob in CT says:

              Except for:

              1) Education policy; and

              2) Strong evidence of magical thinking suggests the possibility that said magical thinking may be pervasive, rather than confined to one wacky belief. Rejecting evolution is often tied up with rejecting a bunch of other things that also tie into policy.

              • CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

                1) That is a point, but it’s also one corner of one subsection of one issue. Disqualifying a candidate on that basis seems like an irrational “dealbreaker” issue.

                2) OK, but then doesn’t Carson get to say the same thing about a Muslim candidate? A lot of Muslims support sharia! In both cases, of course, the obvious thing to do is ask the individual. But you don’t get to stereotype one and not the other.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  OK, but then doesn’t Carson get to say the same thing about a Muslim candidate? A lot of Muslims support sharia!

                  Now you’re comparing a specific assertion, that evolution is false, to an entire religion that is very large and encompasses a great diversity of belief.

                  Keep moving those goalposts.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  What OI said.

                  Candidate is Christian: yawn, so what? Every POTUS we’ve ever had was a Christian of some type.

                  Candidate is a Christian who rejects evolution: possible policy impact + evidence of magical thinking, more questioning required. How would they approach education policy? What other scientific theories do they think are bunk, and (if any) how will that affect policy?

                  Candidate is a Muslim: yawn, so what?

                  Candidate is a Muslim who has spoken about the benefits of Sharia: possible policy impact (dunno about magical thinking there), more questions required.

                • CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

                  In both cases, an individual has a belief that another person believes to be correlated with a harmful policy preference. In both cases, some people in the reference group do support that harmful policy, while many others do not. In neither case can we know with anything like certainty without asking the individual.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                I think 1 is especially important. Most people who, say, in surveys, reject evolution are just doing identification. But some want that belief to influence policy. I do not want people formulating lots of policy based on false beliefs on evolution.

                Being a climate change denier seems to be similarly disqualifying.

                If someone wants to say, “I’m a 6 day creationist 100%, but I don’t think that belief should affect secular policy” then fine. It’s the actions, not the mere belief that is the problem.

                I’m not so convinced by 2. Lots of people have isolated outlier kooky beliefs.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Re #2: agreed, they do, which is why you have to ask the candidate to say more. If it turns out that they generally hold beliefs that match up with reality, but have 1 or 2 oddball beliefs that won’t impact policy, many people would shrug.

                  Getting back to the “tribal identifier” thing: ah, but that ties back into what I was saying about rejection of evolution typically being associated with other wacknut stuff, like say also believing the global warming is a giant hoax, or that woman’s body can just shut that whole thing down, etc, etc, etc.

                  So you gotta ask.

                  So, with a Muslim candidate, you’d ask. And if that candidate turned out to, say, support Sharia law as anything other than an alternative dispute resolution option for devote Muslims, yeah that’s a real problem!

                  But just assuming it is bullshit.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Getting back to the “tribal identifier” thing: ah, but that ties back into what I was saying about rejection of evolution typically being associated with other wacknut stuff, like say also believing the global warming is a giant hoax, or that woman’s body can just shut that whole thing down, etc, etc, etc

                  Well, this is just Republicanism. It suffices to ask their party affiliation :)

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Sadly, now that’s true. Even fairly recently it wasn’t a given. Fucking hell.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              Lots of good NPR-listening liberals believe in crystal healing, alien visitors, or various conspiracy theories!

              False equivalence. How many of them are running for president? How many of them have ever run for president?

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                And if there was a left inflected movement with bad-for-healthcare-policy false beliefs, I’d be against them too! Like anti-vaxxers. And homeopaths. Or naturopaths.

                I’m perfectly happy if JFK Jr never holds office.

              • CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

                Carter was pretty sure he saw a UFO. But in general, how would we know? Weird beliefs that don’t have social sanction don’t wind up in stump speeches.

                For reference, though, more than 3/4 of Americans checked off at least one paranormal or conspiracy belief in the last survey I saw on it. What would make you think politicians are any different?

        • dr. fancypants says:

          …beliefs not directly policy-related, such as creationism…

          The teaching of creationism in schools is still very much a live issue, so I’d be hesitant to call that belief “not directly policy-related”.

        • JMP says:

          Well yeah, if someone believes in creationism, then they are one of the dumbest idiots on the planet and that most certainly should disqualify them from getting the votes of anyone with half a brain. Being unbelievably stupid is a very good reason not to vote for someone.

    • Bijan Parsia says:

      So what he actually said was:

      CHUCK TODD:

      Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what’s been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President’s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?

      DR. BEN CARSON:

      Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.

      CHUCK TODD:

      So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?

      DR. BEN CARSON:

      No, I don’t, I do not.

      CHUCK TODD:

      So you–

      DR. BEN CARSON:

      I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

      CHUCK TODD:

      And would you ever consider voting for a Muslim for Congress?

      DR. BEN CARSON:

      Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know. And, you know, if there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.

      It’s obviously confused, but there is a pretty natural reading that merely being any kind of Muslim is a bar to the presidency in his eyes. I don’t think you can derive that he is advocating a religious test per se (i.e., being barred by the courts). It’s unclear to me why the considerations he put forth for a congresscritter shouldn’t hold, in his eyes, for the presidency.

      His bigotry made him inartful in his comments, but if he stuck with his comments about congress then he’d be fine.

      • Joshua says:

        Here is how he “clarified” those comments.

        HANNITY: “Was that what you were thinking in your mind when you were answering the question, in other words, the way Muslim theocracies currently operate?”
        CARSON: “That’s correct. I mean, they currently do not tend to operate the same way that our system does. Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have, and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them.”
        HANNITY: “All right, so what I hear in your statement there is you kind of are tempering those remarks. For example, if there was a moderate Muslim that denounced Sharia, that denounced radical Islamists, that denounced quotes in the Koran about killing the infidels or not taking Christians and Jews for your friends, that denounced the controversial life of Mohammad, you would be open to that Muslim running for president?”
        CARSON: “Of course.”

        He seems to be saying that he just doesn’t want a Muslim theocrat in the White House, but there also seems to be this idea, prominent in right wing circles, that there is no Muslim but a Muslim theocrat.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          Yes, that last bit is the core of this bit of bigotry and it’s similar to ye old “Kennedy is a Papist” bullshit.

          Horrible.

          I will agree that if anyone is running on a platform that the US should move to any kind of theocratic system, then I will work against their election. This is one reason I tend to oppose Republicans.

        • CaptBackslap - YOLO Edition says:

          Most people assume that religions they aren’t very familiar with are practiced much more by the book (so to speak) than they are. I used to think, for example, that Buddhists were all nonviolent, which is pretty distant from the truth.

          • Rob in CT says:

            I once got into a nasty email argument with a relative over that.

            I said something like “people have an admirable ability to selectively ignore bits of their holy books” but it bounced right off her.

        • Mike G says:

          and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion

          More than a few Repukes are shaky on this item.

        • Randy says:

          For example, if there was a moderate Muslim . . .

          It’s funny how they use the term “moderate” here. If one were to substitute “Christian,” and ask about a Christian who denounced Levitical law, who denounced radical Christians, who denounced quotes in the Bible praising those who killed non-believers or that called on Christians to remain apart from the world, and who denounced the “controversial” aspects of Christianity, starting with the Crusades, you wouldn’t be talking about any freaking “moderate.” You would be talking about a liberal. It’s just that it would kill them to say the “L” word except through clenched teeth.

        • Linnaeus says:

          Would Hannity require similar statements from a Christian candidate? I’m guessing not.

          • Les Ismore says:

            Hannity: “…or not taking Christians and Jews for your friends…”

            Plenty of fundamentalist parents don’t want their kids befriending even milder Christians, let alone Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc.

        • Joe_JP says:

          considered infidels and heretics

          Some Christians would be considered too but yes there appears to be an implication here that “Muslim” of the run of the mill sort would require you to be a theocrat. This is absurd in the eyes of quite a few Muslims, and not just in this country.

  5. CP says:

    I haven’t decided what the worst candidate in the 2016 batch is yet, but Carson looks like a contendaa.

  6. Linnaeus says:

    I can’t wait for Michael Kinsley’s column about how we shouldn’t criticize poor Dr. Carson for his comments about how some classes of people should be ineligible for the presidency because he hasn’t actually called for Ahmed Mohamed to summarily executed.

    I think that’s Damon Linker’s bailiwick now.

  7. Manju says:

    It’s really “bestiality”? This whole time I thought it was “beastiality”.

  8. Gwen says:

    It is as true today as when John Kenneth Galbraith first said it: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    And whereas Galbraith probably meant the coveting of material things, the recent eruptions of casual racism, homophobia and religious bigotry sure look like privilege-hoarding to me.

  9. Alex.S says:

    It’s going to be great when Carson finally overtakes Trump in polls and all the Republican pundits cry out with joy that the crazy has finally been overcome.

    Just ignore everything Carson says.

  10. randy khan says:

    I think the most charitable reading of what Carson first said, and quite possibly what he meant, was that the tenets of Islam are such that a faithful Muslim could not faithfully execute his or her obligations as President under the Constitution.

    This is only charitable in the sense that it means he wasn’t actually making an argument that’s contrary to the text of the Constitution by suggesting that there’s a religious test to be President. Otherwise, it’s of a piece with the people who think all Muslims are radicals seeking to impose Shariah law with their Ground Zero Mosques and conspiracies to commit terrorist acts across the country – in other words, more or less crazy. It certainly will appeal to a meaningful segment of the Republican base, and so it might in fact improve his standing in the polls.

    I notice, by the way, that he’s now walked it back a touch, saying he meant only that the Constitution was incompatible with having a radical Muslim as President. (I don’t believe that’s what he meant because I don’t think he really distinguishes one Muslim from another.) Since the likelihood of that happening in the next, oh, 25 years is about the same as the likelihood that I will grow wings and fly to Jupiter, you pretty much have to read it as pure red meat for the nutters.

    • efgoldman says:

      I think the most charitable reading of what Carson first said, and quite possibly what he meant, was that the tenets of Islam are such that a faithful Muslim could not faithfully execute his or her obligations as President under the Constitution.

      There is no charitable reading of what Carson said. I can’t believe people are making excuses for it and trying to justify it.
      And that goes for the Huckster, Tailgunner Ted Cruz, and all the other Christofascist RWNJs, too.

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Carson’s gonna have to work hard to out-crazy/out-nonsense this:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/9/22/9368591/trump-global-warming

  12. Boots Day says:

    I really hope that someone asks Ben Carson if he thinks Keith Ellison is fit to serve in Congress. And if he says no, ask him what Ellison has done that is so objectionable.

  13. Crusty says:

    Carson comes across as having the depth of maybe a college freshman who’s challenged to think about these issues for the first time in his life. Now, that’s not an attack on his intelligence, rather, given his talent in medicine and surgery, I imagine that very early on in his life, he was surrounded by other doctors and students who (justifiably) referred to him as “brilliant” and for the rest of his career he was little challenged, quite adored and surrounded by sycophants. He ventures out of his field, republicans hear him mouthing the basics, e.g., Obamacare is the worst, if we help poor people we take away their incentive to help themselves, etc., and because he is brilliant in another field, his ordinary word turds are treated like genius pearls and both he and others start to believe he’s presidential material.

  14. dl says:

    Have we ever had a goateed president?

  15. Joe_JP says:

    Dog whistles can be hard to hear … some people help out by being a bit more explicit.

  16. I linked to this post in a non rigorous examination of the phrase in the title, but TypePad seems to have disabled trackbacks. My conclusion may very well be that the person responsible for its popularity may well be . . . Erik Loomis! The wingers will have his head on a pike if it’s true, I’ll bet!

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