November 7, 2015

PURE REACTION:

Ben Carson's Fall Is a Damning Indictment of Conservative Politics (Brian Beutler, 11/06/15, New Republic)

Ben Carson's popularity among conservatives has been marked by their imperviousness to questions about his honesty and fitness. Carson has made dozens of statements about federal policy that have transcended garden-variety conservative over-promising and reached the realm of Chauncey Gardner-esque absurdity. He has also faced serious questions about the veracity of stories he tells about his youth and young manhood. Through it all, conservatives have not only stuck by his side, but actually become more taken with him. They've brushed off scrutiny with glib mockery, accusing white liberals of "othering" a black man for having the temerity to leave the "thought plantation."

That all likely changes now that Carson has confessed to fabricating a seminal story about having declined admission to West Point in his youth. When you've lost Breitbart, it stands to reason that you will also lose talk-radio fawning, viral email forwards, and all the other mysterious sources of conservative cult status.

But there is room for genuine doubt here: Could Carson's supporters prove so uninterested in his genuine merits and demerits that they might look past this transgression? 

Just as the Right believes there has to be some kind of illegal conspiracy at the bottom of Benghazi or the IRS kerfuffle, simply because they are associated with Democrats, so too are they unwilling to look at the flaws of Trump and Carson because they are being exposed by the media.  Like the identical symptoms on the Left, they are a function of reacting along partisan lines, instead of thinking for oneself. Thus ever the true believers.

Posted by at November 7, 2015 8:23 AM

  

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