Ben Carson had hit a bump that pretty much every campaign hits. Some hit it early, some hit it later, but everybody hits it sooner or later. After a wonderful rise in the polls that saw Carson vault to number-one in the GOP primary race, something hit him in the face…Politico (not exactly a right-leaning publication), decided to hit him with the fact that in interviews, and in his book, he mentions that he was “offered a scholarship to West Point, but turned it down”. The truth of the matter is, West Point doesn’t offer scholarships (they offer “appointments”), and secondly, Carson never applied to West Point, so he could never have received a scholarship there, even if it existed.
What he WAS told was, there were groups that would help him get into West Point if indeed he wanted to attend the elite military academy. He declined to go that route.
So, what happened to Carson, was a crazy, one-day ride that saw him plummet, then rise, based on his response to Politico’s article. And the fact that Politico had to back down and retract its story was the real story as it turns out.
And the result? Friday and Saturday, Carson received over 10,000 contributions per day, and raked in over $3.5 million.
That’s called making chicken shit into chicken salad.
Now, don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that Ben Carson is the most qualified man (or woman) for president. And that doesn’t mean that I’m backing him. I really don’t know who I back at this point, and since Arizona’s primary isn’t until late March, I just sit by and observe at this point. I can tell you pretty much who I DON’T want to see as president, but you’ve probably already read those blogs, so I won’t bore you with that!
The point to take home here is that there are two ways a candidate can respond to bad press. You can do as Ben Carson did, which is set the record straight, tell the truth and come forward with the correct version of the story, if the correct version isn’t being told…in which case, the whole thing blows over quickly and you’re able to get on with your campaign either unscathed, or as in this case, with an extra boost in your coffers.
Or, you can take the Hillary Clinton approach, which is to lie, obfuscate, blur, parse, mince, and dice the words into meaningless actions and symbols, then have your campaign staff go out and attack whomever is attacking you with twice the force. Again, adopting a Fox News, “We report, you decide” attitude here, which do you think has been more productive for the candidates?
Reaching the pinnacle of politics is not for amateurs. Well, let me rephrase that. It hasn’t been for amateurs until this year. But you have to count Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, AND Hillary Clinton as amateurs. None of them know squat about politics other than what all of us know (and yes…Hillary IS in that bunch). None of them have had what I would call a political career, much less a “stellar political career”. And it would be wrong to call any of them qualified. Hell, Jim Gilmore, and Jim Webb (who dropped out) have more political capital in the game than any of those four!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!