Ben Blew It in The Saturday GOP Debate

About three-quarters of the way into the debate Saturday night, moderator John Dickerson threw Ben Carson a hanging curveball.   He reminded Carson that he’s repeatedly spoken out against political correctness and, in effect, invited him to say something politically incorrect.  The Baltimore neurosurgeon replied with a few not very coherent and completely unmemorable sentences.  Ben’s response was not even mentioned in USA Today’s blow-by-blow recap.

It was the usual take-away from Carson’s debate performances -- that he’s a nice guy, he’s not a politician, he’s for smaller government, that he ought to have a tall espresso rather than a bottle of water under his lectern, and that he has some great plans on his website.

He could have hit Dickerson’s hanging curve out of the park.

Carson is the only guy on stage who can talk about African-Americans.

He might have mentioned several things, starting with the black crime rate.

According to the most recent Uniform Crime Reports of the FBI, African-Americans, 13.2% of Americans, committed 52.2% of murders, 56.4% of robberies, and 31.3% of rapes. The 52% figure is consistent over three decades.

Carson might have said the obvious.  This is much too high.  The majority of victims are African-Americans.  Nineteen Americans were killed by jihadists in 2015.  That’s 469 fewer murders than in Chicago last year.  The GOP field is happy to talk about San Bernardino.   Chicago goes unmentioned.  The majority of the Windy City homicides were blacks killing blacks.  Carson might have said the problem is not cops targeting African-Americans.  It’s African-Americans targeting European-Americans and each other. 

Thanks to Colin Flaherty, AT readers are familiar with black mob violence across the country, especially on summer and holiday weekends.  Most Americans aren’t, though they’re aware of “incidents” involving “youths” at their local malls.  Ben might have mentioned the epidemic of flash mobs.  He might have talked about the real “root causes” -- a culture that idealizes violence, and the inability or unwillingness of African-American parents to teach their children to respect the lives and property of others.

Behind this failure is the nearly 75% illegitimacy rate among blacks.

This is another politically incorrect subject Carson might have explored.  The rate was only 25% in 1965, when Daniel Moynihan sounded the alarm.

Carson has, in the past, called for “compassionate action” rather than Affirmative Action, though tentatively and infrequently.  Why not repeat this in response to Dickerson’s question, without equivocation, and add that Affirmative Action is simply unfair?  It’s unfair to African-Americans as well as European- and Asian-Americans.  High-achieving blacks are stigmatized by it, and those who are admitted to colleges that they would not have otherwise qualified for struggle and become resentful.

Ben would have a lot of African-Americans on his side if had had the temerity to oppose Affirmative Action.  In one recent poll, 44% expressed the view that college admission should be based strictly on merit.

While the rest of the field was busy attacking each other, Carson might have landed a blow against the race hustlers.  Bernie Sanders had a widely publicized meeting with Al Sharpton last week.  Ben might have pointed out that while white leftists suck up to them, Al and Jesse are not respected by the African-American middle class.

Again, Carson was the only person on the stage who could have mentioned the unmentionable.  With his polling numbers in South Carolina sinking to the 2% he got in New Hampshire, one would think it would occur to him to take advantage of his great asset:  he does not have to be mealy-mouthed about race.

European-Americans voted for Obama in 2008 with the expectation not only that the election of an African-American would appease blacks, but that, inevitably, he and the First Lady would have to tell African-American kids some hard truths.  You need to do what successful minorities, including West Indians, have done:  stay in school, work hard, respect your parents, keep off drugs, don’t get pregnant, don’t blame others, etc., etc. 

Ben Carson has not convinced voters that he would do much to bridge the great racial divide in this country.  That requires candor and tough talk.  When Dickerson threw the hanging curve, the bat never left Carson’s shoulder.

About three-quarters of the way into the debate Saturday night, moderator John Dickerson threw Ben Carson a hanging curveball.   He reminded Carson that he’s repeatedly spoken out against political correctness and, in effect, invited him to say something politically incorrect.  The Baltimore neurosurgeon replied with a few not very coherent and completely unmemorable sentences.  Ben’s response was not even mentioned in USA Today’s blow-by-blow recap.

It was the usual take-away from Carson’s debate performances -- that he’s a nice guy, he’s not a politician, he’s for smaller government, that he ought to have a tall espresso rather than a bottle of water under his lectern, and that he has some great plans on his website.

He could have hit Dickerson’s hanging curve out of the park.

Carson is the only guy on stage who can talk about African-Americans.

He might have mentioned several things, starting with the black crime rate.

According to the most recent Uniform Crime Reports of the FBI, African-Americans, 13.2% of Americans, committed 52.2% of murders, 56.4% of robberies, and 31.3% of rapes. The 52% figure is consistent over three decades.

Carson might have said the obvious.  This is much too high.  The majority of victims are African-Americans.  Nineteen Americans were killed by jihadists in 2015.  That’s 469 fewer murders than in Chicago last year.  The GOP field is happy to talk about San Bernardino.   Chicago goes unmentioned.  The majority of the Windy City homicides were blacks killing blacks.  Carson might have said the problem is not cops targeting African-Americans.  It’s African-Americans targeting European-Americans and each other. 

Thanks to Colin Flaherty, AT readers are familiar with black mob violence across the country, especially on summer and holiday weekends.  Most Americans aren’t, though they’re aware of “incidents” involving “youths” at their local malls.  Ben might have mentioned the epidemic of flash mobs.  He might have talked about the real “root causes” -- a culture that idealizes violence, and the inability or unwillingness of African-American parents to teach their children to respect the lives and property of others.

Behind this failure is the nearly 75% illegitimacy rate among blacks.

This is another politically incorrect subject Carson might have explored.  The rate was only 25% in 1965, when Daniel Moynihan sounded the alarm.

Carson has, in the past, called for “compassionate action” rather than Affirmative Action, though tentatively and infrequently.  Why not repeat this in response to Dickerson’s question, without equivocation, and add that Affirmative Action is simply unfair?  It’s unfair to African-Americans as well as European- and Asian-Americans.  High-achieving blacks are stigmatized by it, and those who are admitted to colleges that they would not have otherwise qualified for struggle and become resentful.

Ben would have a lot of African-Americans on his side if had had the temerity to oppose Affirmative Action.  In one recent poll, 44% expressed the view that college admission should be based strictly on merit.

While the rest of the field was busy attacking each other, Carson might have landed a blow against the race hustlers.  Bernie Sanders had a widely publicized meeting with Al Sharpton last week.  Ben might have pointed out that while white leftists suck up to them, Al and Jesse are not respected by the African-American middle class.

Again, Carson was the only person on the stage who could have mentioned the unmentionable.  With his polling numbers in South Carolina sinking to the 2% he got in New Hampshire, one would think it would occur to him to take advantage of his great asset:  he does not have to be mealy-mouthed about race.

European-Americans voted for Obama in 2008 with the expectation not only that the election of an African-American would appease blacks, but that, inevitably, he and the First Lady would have to tell African-American kids some hard truths.  You need to do what successful minorities, including West Indians, have done:  stay in school, work hard, respect your parents, keep off drugs, don’t get pregnant, don’t blame others, etc., etc. 

Ben Carson has not convinced voters that he would do much to bridge the great racial divide in this country.  That requires candor and tough talk.  When Dickerson threw the hanging curve, the bat never left Carson’s shoulder.