In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Ben Carson responded to those who says he doesn’t have enough experience to be president with this staggeringly ignorant statement: “Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” He has since gone back and edited that statement, saying that they had no “federal office experience.” Gee Ben, ya think? I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out he’s wrong.
Let’s start with Thomas Jefferson, the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence. Years earlier, he had been a student at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. As luck would have it, the House of Burgesses met there, and so Jefferson as a student was able to witness legislative debates.
The House of Burgesses was the first European-style legislative assembly in the Americas, having first been formed in 1619. And in 1769, seven years before penning the Declaration, Jefferson was elected to the House of Burgesses. As an online biography of the signers said: “It was there that his involvement in revolutionary politics began. He was never a very vocal member, but his writing, his quiet work in committee, and his ability to distill large volumes of information to essence, made him an invaluable member in any deliberative body.”Now let’s look at the other members of the drafting committee: John Adams (Mass.) was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly in 1770, Benjamin Franklin (Pa.) had been elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 and served as speaker in 1764, and Roger Sherman (Conn.) had been elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1755. Only Robert R. Livingston (N.Y.) had minimal political experience.
Of the other 51 signers of the Declaration, we count at least 27 as having at least some elected office experience, primarily in Colonial assemblies.
So in fact, most of them had elected office experience. But what cracks me up is how he is trying to cover up his ignorance, by changing it to “federal elected office experience.” Uh, Ben….of course they didn’t have any federal elected office experience. You know why? Because there wasn’t a fucking federal government then. Every time he opens his mouth, something stupid comes out. Every. Single. Time. And he’s now the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. That speaks volumes about today’s Republican party.