Why Ben Carson is flying high

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Star Parker - Guest Columnist

Star ParkerSo many Americans are repulsed by the sleaze occupying the center of political power in America that even GOP candidates who are politicians are suffering the collateral damage.

Americans are now in a historically long period of distrust and dissatisfaction regarding their government and their country.

This goes a long way in explaining why political outsiders are dominating the polls in the Republican presidential race. Even quality conservative candidates such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz lag far behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

They are tainted by the mere fact that they are politicians.

The Pew Research Center reported data last year covering a period of 56 years, showing the percentage of Americans saying they trust the federal government to do what is right "always/most of the time."

From October 2006 to February 2014, the percentage of Americans expressing a high level of trust in Washington went from 30 percent to 24 percent. This was the longest stretch over the 56 years reported that trust never rose above 30 percent.

By contrast, in December 1958, 73 percent said they trust the federal government to do what is right "always/most of the time."

Last August, according to Gallup, 26 percent of Americans expressed satisfaction with the direction of the country.

Satisfaction remains consistently well below 36 percent, which has been the historical average for this poll dating back to 1979. It dropped to a record low of 7 percent in 2008.

Consider what the candidacy of Hillary Clinton adds to this already deep cynicism about Washington.

Former New York City mayor and federal attorney Rudolph Giuliani says he has identified "a list of 13 criminal statutes that Hillary allegedly violated with her conduct."

Now, as Clinton emerges from her testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, we see, with little doubt, that she is indeed a world-class and totally shameless liar.

The hearings revealed that although Clinton was telling the American public that the attack on our embassy in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of our ambassador and three others, was a spontaneous act of violence protesting an inflammatory video about Islam, she was delivering a different message in private.

She emailed her daughter that the perpetrator was an "al-Qaeda-like group."

And then she told the Egyptian prime minister in a phone conversation that "the attack had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest."

Can it really be that someone with this kind of character is likely to be the Democratic Party's candidate for president of the United States?

Bloomberg's Mark Halperin lists 19 reasons that Clinton will be the next president. He includes that "Republicans are erroneously convinced that they can beat Hillary solely with talk of Benghazi, e-mails, and other controversies that have nothing to do with the economy and the real lives of real people."

But doesn't having a ruthless liar in the White House -- committed to expanding the power of government and using that power for personal enrichment -- have important implications for our economy and the "real lives of real people"?

Because so many Americans are repulsed by the sleaze occupying the center of political power in our country, even Republican candidates who are politicians are suffering the collateral damage.

It becomes less hard to understand why a candidate such as Ben Carson, despite having no political experience or even managerial experience, is still flying at the top. Why? Because many Americans so long for a leader they see as decent and genuinely honest, and whom they can trust.

Many even believe that Carson could be that Republican candidate that can break the ice with black voters. (See related article)

President Eisenhower was the last American president to never have held political office prior to the presidency. And back then, in the 1950s, over 70 percent of Americans expressed a high level of trust in the federal government.

And it is also worth recalling that when Republican Eisenhower was re-elected in 1956, he received 39 percent of the black vote.


Star Parker (parker@urbancure.org) is an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

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