In the grand tradition of Christine O’Donnell doing a campaign ad telling voters “I am not a witch,” Ben Carson told the annual meeting of the Republican National Committee that he’s not “crazy” despite a long string of bizarre and idiotic statements on a variety of issues.
Ben Carson—a Washington outsider, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, a favorite among tea-party insurgents—had a message Thursday for the Republican Party’s most influential establishment figures: I’m not “crazy.”
Speaking to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, Carson tried to challenge the caricature of him as a right-wing zealot by addressing—one by one—many of the individual controversies that have surrounded him, and dismissing them as lies from “the liberal media.”
Carson defended, among other things, his statements about Obamacare being the worst thing since slavery; comparing present-day America to Nazi Germany; and calling last year’s Veterans Affairs scandal “a gift from God” because it revealed holes in the system.
“I stand by those” remarks, Carson told the crowd. “I don’t think there’s anything crazy at all.”
Still, the significant time devoted to explaining and debunking these incidents suggests Carson is keenly aware of the damage they could do to his White House run.
I have tried not to tall things crazy for quite some time, so I’ll just go with saying that he’s said some staggeringly stupid things on a regular basis. But note his audience. The RNC is the Republican establishment. The rank and file, the Tea Party types, eat up stupid statements with a spoon. They love shit like that. They especially love it when you compare the things they don’t like to Hitler and make bizarrely hyperbolic statements about the policies they oppose. That’s how you win the Republican nomination.