Tune in to Fox News at any time in the past few days and you’d have heard someone drooling over the latest conservative hero – Benjamin Carson, the physician who lectured President Obama at the supposedly non-partisan National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday.
Dr. Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, spoke for more than 25 minutes, with the President sitting by his side. In between jokes and personal stories (such as those about his impoverished childhood as the son of a single mother) he spoke about political correctness and how it had made people afraid to say even “Merry Christmas”; he warned that America was in the midst of moral decline and was going the way of Rome; he worried about the national debt; he advocated a flat tax, something like the Biblical “tithing” system; and he spoke in favor of medical savings accounts that you would pay into from birth. He also spoke passionately in favor of education for all, but Fox hasn't picked this up too much.
The love-in at Fox News started almost immediately. Fox Nation's first post, "Amazing Conservative Speech Upstages Obama at Prayer Breakfast," has gotten nearly 2,000 comments.
Carson appeared on Hannity briefly on Friday night. When asked what he'd say to critics, Carson replied that it was rare these days for people to speak the truth. “One of the real dangers.. is the fact that people don’t know anything ...they know so little that the news media is able to tell them whatever they want them to think… and they don’t think for themselves.” (REALLY!? And he’s saying this on Fox News?! I choke on my crackers and Brie, gentle reader!) When Hannity asked if he’d run for President, Carson replied he didn’t intend to but, “If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would.” “I would vote for you in a heartbeat,” Hannity said, and promised to have him on the show again soon.
Then yesterday, Carson (dressed in white lab coat) gave a longer interview on Your World. What, Cavuto asked, would he say to critics? “There are a group of people who would like to silence everybody and have everybody go along to get along, but that’s not going to be very helpful for us in the long run.. and somebody has to be courageous enough to stand up to, you know, the bullies.” Cavuto asked if he’d run for President and Carson replied that if God grabbed him by the collar and made him do it, he would.
Need I go on, gentle reader? I bet just about every show on Fox has hero-worshipped Carson. So has the (Murdoch-owned) Wall Street Journal, which published an editorial entitled "Ben Carson for President."
As mentioned above, not everyone was enthused. On America’s Newsroom Bob Beckel called it “one of the most shameful appearances I’ve seen in Washington in my career.” Even some conservatives, like Cal Thomas, were unimpressed. “The National Prayer Breakfast is billed as one of the few nonpolitical events in a very political city," Thomas wrote. "If Carson wanted to voice his opinion about the president's policies, he could have done so backstage. ... Carson should publicly apologize and stop going on TV doing 'victory laps.'"
Do you think he will, though? (Sigh).