"That might be the greatest answer all week," observed Joe Scarborough (video below) a week or so ago on Morning Joe. The ex- GOP congressman was responding to Lindsey Graham's reply to Eugene Robinson's question about Ben Carson: "How do you explain his obvious appeal?"
The South Carolina senator answered "I don't think he has a clue about what's going on in the Mideast. So I don't know. I'm doing the best I can."
Good answer, and darned humorous. Again on Morning Joe, on Monday morning Graham was asked (video below) about the same candidate "Have you ever stabbed anyone? Or tried to?" So he ridiculed Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, then quipped "On our side you got the number two guy (who) tried to kill somebody at 14 and the number one guy is high energy and crazy as hell. How am I losing to these people?"
As stand-up this is great stuff, and says a lot about the "deep Republican bench" we kept hearing about until these players became candidates and it became clear what they really were made of.
Nonetheless, Graham answered his own question, "how am I losing to these people?" He's losing in part because they are "crazy as hell" or, rather, remarkably reckless and self-delusional. It is an asset.
Likely Republican caucus attendees in Iowa were asked in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll “I’m going to mention some things people have said about Ben Carson. Regardless of whether you support him for president, please tell me for each if this is something that you find very attractive about him, mostly attractive, mostly unattractive, or very unattractive." Salon's Bob Cesca summarizes
If we couple “very attractive” and “mostly attractive” responses, here’s how the numbers stacked up.
1. “He is not a career politician”: 85 percent
2. “He has no experience in foreign policy”: 42 percent
3. “He was highly successful as a neurosurgeon”: 88 percent
4. “He has said the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is the worst thing since slavery”: 81 percent
5. ”He has an inspirational personal story”: 85 percent
6. “He has raised questions about whether a Muslim should ever be president of the United States”: 73 percent
7. “He has said he would be guided by his faith in God”: 89 percent
8. “He has said that Hitler might not have been as successful if the people had been armed”: 77 percent
9. “He approaches issues with common sense”: 96 percent
10. “He has conducted research on tissue from aborted fetuses”: 31 percent
Steve M. recognizes conservative GOP voters believe the culture is tyrannical and "politically correct" (a catch-all for, roughly speaking, anything not conservative) and that
Carson and Trump actually are striking serious blows against this fascist dictatorship. Congress hasn't found a way to repeal Obamacare or crush Planned Parenthood or permanently block the next debt-ceiling increase or make gay marriage illegal again, and that makes GOP base voters furious at all the party's politicians because, dammit, they ought to be able to do something -- but Ben Carson can say "Nazi, Nazi, Nazi" and get away with it, and Donald Trump can say that undocumented immigrants are feral rapists and get away with that, and that, to Republican voters, is a real blow against the liberal-fascist power structure.
"Republican base voters" Steve M. argues, think of the 'politically correct' culture, in their words -- as a liberal-fascist dictatorship, just like the Obama presidency." Sunday, Carson equated abortion with slavery because
During slavery, a lot of slave-owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose. And what if the abolitionists had said, 'I don't believe in slavery, but you guys do whatever you want'? Where would we be?" I know that's one of those words you're not supposed to say, but I'm saying it,
Carson has a thing with Hitler. This past August he saw a "connection (between Planned Parenthood and Nazi Germany) in the sense that Margaret Sanger, their founder, and people like Adolf Hitler … felt there were certain people who were superior and certain people who were inferior. And the way that you strengthen the society was to enhance superior ones and eliminate the inferior ones.”
But it's not limited to abortion/Planned Parenthood. In a 2009 commencement speech he warned graduates “I daresay the vast majority of German people did not believe what Hitler believed. But they didn’t speak up, and you see what the result was. " Last month he suggested those events could come about in the USA because "If you go back and look at the history of the world, tyranny and despotism and how it starts, it has a lot to do with control of thought and control of speech."
In March 2014, again railing against the culture his supporters believe is destroying the nation, Dr. Carson had claimed his beloved country is "very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”
Probably, individuals are afraid to say what they actually believe because people will think they are stark, raving mad. Judging by the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Polotics survey and Carson's ascent to the top of the heap of dung in Iowa, they are not crazy but today's Republicans.