Just as Ben Carson was soaring in the polls in the Republican presidential race, he’s had to come back to Earth. The retired neurosurgeon’s writings, including an autobiography named “Gifted Hands,” are coming under the kind of scrutiny any presidential candidate should expect.
Yet Carson seems surprised that inconsistencies, and there are many, in his personal story would be examined. He’s even resorting to the common shield of blaming the media for reporting on problems with his stories and previous comments. How could Carson run for president and think he’d somehow be immune to detailed examination of his life and work?
It’s strange that in an autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” and in other comments and writings, Carson would share stories that at least to this point cannot be confirmed.
And one of those stories, that he had dinner with Vietnam-era Gen. William Westmoreland in Detroit and was offered a full scholarship to West Point, has essentially been retracted. This, after no record of the meeting could be found, it was discovered Westmoreland wasn’t in Detroit and the military academy noted a general couldn’t promise anyone a scholarship. Carson’s story, then, was shown to be a lie.
A quick look at some of Carson’s statements also reveals that he has said he believes ancient pyramids were used by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain, though archaeologists say the idea is nonsense. Carson has also said that he doesn’t believe in evolution, that America is “very much like Nazi Germany” and that the Affordable Care Act is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
But it’s in the area of his personal story that Carson has walked into trouble of late. In addition to the West Point story, he’s often told of his tendencies toward violence in his youth, trying to hit his mother over the head with a hammer, trying to stab a friend in an argument. But no confirmation of these stories has ever been established.
Was Carson simply so wrapped up in telling his stories that he wandered from the facts to enhance a tale?
Given the problems thus far, Carson is about to experience something all veteran politicians expect: a close scrutiny of his biography and his record. The doctor says he’s being examined like no one ever has been, a laughable claim given the multitude of groundless criticisms of President Obama over the last six years.
Rather than blame the media for exercising their rights and their duty, Ben Carson needs to get his story straight and be prepared to answer for what he has written and said, to the people he wants to elect him president.