Roger L. Simon

America's Test: Imagining a Clinton Versus Carson Election

When I read Ben Carson’s phone interview with the Des Moines Register today, taken after Carson suddenly jumped ahead of Donald Trump in two Iowa polls by significant numbers, it got me speculating on the “what if” possibility of a Hillary-Carson election.

It was only a day after Clinton appeared in front of the Benghazi Select Committee, scoring what the mainstream media declared  a great victory by seeming “presidential.” Ironically, the same performance made me dislike her more than ever, as now we had absolute email evidence she lied to the parents of the Benghazi victims at their funeral when she already knew the four had been killed in a terror attack, not because of some amateurish video.  (Yes, I had always strongly suspected it, but now there was concrete evidence.) Yet as Charles Woods, Tyrone Woods’ father, wrote in his diary from that day: “I gave Hillary a hug and shook her hand. And she said we are going to have the film maker arrested who was responsible for the death of my son.”

As a parent, I can’t imagine anything more despicable than the secretary of state (and the president) lying to me at my son’s funeral about his death while in service to our country. What kind of human being does that?  It makes my head spin.

Now here’s the Ben Carson phone interview that caught my attention:

“I expected that I was going to sort of inch past Trump, but I didn’t think it would be that giant leap,” Carson said.

The latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll, released just hours before the interview, showed Carson at 28%, leading the billionaire businessman by 9 percentage points, with the rest of candidates trailing far behind.

Front-runner status in Iowa comes with an inherent target on your back. It’s a spot held this year by only two others: Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who dropped out of the race last month after a rapid decline in polling.

“For me, since I’m not a politician, I don’t really spend a lot of time strategizing about how I’ll do this and how I can get this and that,” Carson said, noting that it’s been a point of tension with campaign staff.

“I’m going to be who I am, and that’s it. If that works, great, and if it doesn’t, that’s fine, too.”

The passivity begged a follow-up: Do you really want to maintain the lead and win the GOP nomination?

“I would prefer that. But it’s not about me. It’s about the people,” he said.

Indeed it is.  And I doubt he’s as “passive” as the Register reporter thought. Carson, the pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon, is certainly smart enough to know that his great appeal comes from the very fact that he is an anti-politician who sees himself as a citizen first.

But that’s obvious.  Let’s take this a step further and actually imagine a Carson-Clinton election.  At first glance it would seem to be  a slam dunk for the battle-hardened, skilled debater Clinton.  But I suspect it would be the reverse.  If you close your eyes and see Carson and Clinton standing together on a stage, you are almost envisioning a confrontation between good and evil, the forces of light and darkness, with the black man being light, of course.

I know that sounds Manichean, but there is no question that Carson is the kind of person the Founders had in mind to lead our country, the private citizen  who had led a noble life come to serve the public, a soft-spoken American Cincinnatus from Johns Hopkins by way of the Detroit ghetto. Yes, they might have been surprised to find that he is black, but I suspect some of them would not have been that surprised. And, although you may not agree with everything Carson says, it’s clear his convictions come from the heart.  They are not “political.”

Hillary Clinton is the antithesis.  Deep down, everyone knows it.  The question is, will they acknowledge it?  Will they have the courage to overcome their ingrained traditions and a liberal media that will be threatened by Carson as they have been by no one in our lifetimes?  He represents everything they can’t accept — a black man who pulled himself by his bootstraps to accomplish more than they could ever dream of without swallowing their cant, indeed while contradicting it.  He is also an exceptionally moral man who would be standing next to a woman who has lived a totally immoral life, lying and conniving first in the defense of her lying and conniving husband and then of herself.

What a contrast.  What a test for America.  Who knows?  Maybe it will even happen.