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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson for President

Tom Fontaine the well respected reporter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asked me to comment on the chances Dr. Ben Carson as a presidential contender. Here is my take on Carson.

Iowa Republicans love Dr. Ben Carson. He's been several times and gotten rousing applause. He's very quiet but his fierce conservative position is admired. His statement that "America is like Nazi Germany" went over well in 2014 at the Polk County, Iowa GOP straw poll, but probably would not be a good campaign motto for him going forward. 

He just won the Georgia GOP County Chairs straw poll with 76%, which is amazing. 

He and Carly Fiorina are the most interesting and "outsider" candidates since neither has held office and is not a politician. One is black the other a woman so that will split their attraction to the GOP caucus and primary voters. They and the two Hispanic GOP contenders give this field lots of diversity. However in Iowa 12-15 Repubs running for prez will no doubt badly split the voters.  So even though there is excitement about Carson (and Fiorina who actually got even bigger buzz at the big GOP dinner recently), there are others like Walker, Huckabee, Bush (Carson tied with Jeb in the latest poll for first place), Rubio, and Ted Cruz who are seen as more likely to build a strong caucuses machine. 

On Iowa caucus night organization is 97.6% of victory because you need your people one at least, to push the voters in each of 1700 precincts. 

Running a nation is not exactly like separating twins in surgery. You've got to work with a lot of powerful people in Congress and you have to balance all kinds of contradictory and conflicting interests in a process we call "politics". If you hate politics that's tough luck because government and Democracy functions because of politics do you have to learn how to make it work. 

One of my wisest GOP activist friends in Iowa told me a couple of weeks ago, "Steffen. All those goofballs posting dumb comments about Carson changing things because he's not a Washington insider may be hoping for better. But, if you don't know how it works – the political process- it's like a person whose never flown a 747 taking over the cockpit. The plane may never take off but if it does watch out for the landing!" 

I'm afraid on "D" Day (or "C Night" as we call caucus night),  many Republicans may come to the same conclusion. Or else maybe they'll give Ben Carson a victory as a symbolic gesture as they did with Huckabee, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, and Michelle Backmann@ the Ames Straw Poll. 

For now he is certainly getting a lot of GOP buzz. 

 There are still spaces open in the FREE Internet class on the caucuses and presidential selection that I'm preparing for Sept 1. Reserve your place here.

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