The Black Reagan

On February 15, 2013, I published a column titled “The Black Reagan,” in which I compared Dr. Benjamin Carson, former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, in Baltimore, to Ronald Reagan, the most beloved president of the 20th century.  Now, as we approach the 2016 presidential campaign, we find Dr. Carson launching his political career in much the same way that Reagan did on October 27, 1964.  It was on that day that Reagan made a speech on behalf of Senator Barry Goldwater that few conservatives, or liberals, will ever forget.

Dr. Carson’s February 7, 2013, speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, will also be remembered as a historical turning point.  To put it bluntly, with Barack Obama seated within spitting distance, Dr. Carson proceeded to take Obama and all of his liberal friends out behind the woodshed for a long-overdue public ass-kicking.

Dr. Carson, is a black man who typifies exactly what any young man or woman… regardless of race, creed, or color… can achieve in the United States with a little bit of non-Benjamin Spock parenting, some good study habits, a solid work ethic, and some intelligent life choices.  In fact, Dr. Carson is the exact polar opposite of the long-oppressed plantation slaves that liberals and Democrats want black men to be because the very existence of the Democratic Party depends on the continued belief among black Americans that they are the victims of white racism.

Dr. Carson is the product of a single parent home in Detroit.  His mother, who dropped out of school in third grade and who married at age 13, worked two or three jobs in order to make ends meet.  Yet, as her two sons were growing up, she was wise enough to limit the amount of time they spent watching TV each day.  Instead, she required them to read two library books each week.  And although she, herself, was unable to read, she required her sons to write book reports on each of the books they’d read.

After earning an undergraduate degree in psychology from Yale University, Carson attended the University of Michigan School of Medicine.  Following med school he served his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, where he eventually became Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery.  Finally, having proven himself to be the ideal role model for black children… far beyond what liberals and Democrats would ever expect or want a black man to achieve… he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on June 19, 2008.

In his 1964 speech, Reagan reminded us that the Democrats were attempting to convince the people that the primary issues of that election were the “maintenance of peace and prosperity,” and that “we’ve never had it so good.”  In response, Reagan said, “But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn’t something on which we can base our hopes for the future.  No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income.”  He continued, “Today, 37 cents of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector’s share, and yet our government continues to spend $17 million a day more than we take in.  We haven’t balanced our budget in 28 out of the last 34 years.  We have raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times greater than the combined debt of all other nations in the world.”  Multiply those 1964 statistics by a factor of ten and Dr. Carson could have used the same statistics in his 2013 prayer breakfast speech.

In his 1964 speech, Reagan ridiculed Senator Joseph Clark, (D-PA), who once described liberalism  as “meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.”  Reagan said, “This was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize…  A government can’t control the economy without controlling people.  And they knew (that),  when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose.”

Dr. Carson opened his remarks by quoting Proverbs 11:9, which King Solomon must have written with Barack Obama in mind.  The proverb tells us, “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.”  Obama should have taken that as a hint that he was about to receive a major league tongue-lashing.

In a direct challenge to Obama’s idea of “fairness,” Dr. Carson said, “When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see?  I see the fairest individual in the universe… God.  He’s given us a system.  It’s called (the) tithe.  Now, we don’t necessarily have to do it, 10 percent, but it’s the principle.  He didn’t say, if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithes.  He didn’t say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes.  So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality.  You make $10 billion, you put in $1 billion.  You make $10, you put in $1… but now some people say, that’s not ‘fair’ because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made $10.  Where does it say you have to hurt the guy?  He’s just put a billion in the pot.  We don’t need to hurt him.”

But the most interesting parallel to be drawn between the Reagan speech in 1964 and the Carson speech in 2013 is the way in which both speakers made the point that it is not liberals and Democrats… those who exist by taking money from those who have it and giving it to those who don’t… who are the most loving, caring, and compassionate.

In commenting on the cruel way in which Democrats attempted to demonize Goldwater in 1964, Reagan told his audience some things about Goldwater that few people were aware of.  He told of how, before he entered politics, Goldwater instituted a profit-sharing plan in his business long before trade unions ever thought of it; how he provided health insurance for all of his employees; how he set aside 50% of his business profits, before taxes, in order to establish a retirement plan for his employees.  And he told of how Goldwater sent a regular monthly check, for life, to a former employee who was ill and could not work, and how he provided daycare for the children of mothers who worked in his stores.

Reagan told the story of a returning serviceman, during the Korean War, who found himself stranded at the Los Angeles International Airport in the week before Christmas, trying to get home to Arizona.  Many other returning GIs were having the same problem; there simply were no seats available on any of the commercial airlines.  But then a voice came over the public address system saying, “Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such.”  When they arrived at that location they found Sen. Goldwater waiting there in his plane.  Then, in the days before Christmas, Goldwater spent every day, all day long, flying planeloads of Arizona servicemen from Los Angeles to their hometown airports in Arizona.

In his Prayer Breakfast speech, Dr. Carson described how, some16 years earlier, he and his wife heard of an international study which showed that, in terms of their ability to solve math and science problems, American eighth graders ranked 21st out of the 22 countries surveyed.  It was then that he and his wife created the Carson Scholars Fund.

Instead of receiving only sports trophies for victories on the playing fields, the Carsons saw to it that schools and students were also recognized for scholastic achievement.  The Scholars Fund awarded scholarships to students from all backgrounds for superior academic performance…  Those who demonstrated academic excellence received cash awards.  As Dr. Carson explained, “The money would go into a Trust.  They would get interest on it.  When they would go to college they would get the money…”

Dr. Carson reports that, “Many teachers have told us that when we put a Carson Scholar in their classroom, the GPA of the whole classroom goes up over the next year.  It’s been very gratifying.  We started 16 years ago with 25 scholarships in Maryland, now we’ve given out more than 5,000 and we are in all 50 states, but we’ve also put in Reading Rooms.  These are fascinating places that no little kid could possibly pass up.  And they get points for the amount of time they spend reading, and the number of books they read…  In the beginning they do it for the prizes, but it doesn’t take long before their academic performance begins to improve.”  It’s the sort of thing that conservatives regularly do.  Liberals, on the other hand, are noted only for their generosity with other peoples’ money.

In his prayer breakfast remarks, Dr. Carson told the story of a very successful young businessman who loved to buy his mother exotic gifts for Mother’s Day.  When he ran out of new ideas he came across some very expensive birds.  The birds could dance, they could sing, and they could talk, but they cost $5,000 apiece.  He was so excited, he bought two of them.  And when he sent them to his mother he couldn’t wait to call her up on Mother’s Day.  He said, “Mother, mother, what did you think of those birds?”  To which she replied, “They was good.”

The young man was horrified.  He said, “No, no, no, Mother!  Surely you didn’t eat those birds.  Those birds cost $5,000 apiece!  They could dance, they could sing, they could talk!”  To which the mother replied, “Well, they should have said something.”

Ronald Reagan said something very important in his 1964 speech and it was the launching pad that ultimately sent him to the White House.  Dr. Ben Carson also said some very important things in his speech on February 7, 2013, and it will be interesting to see how far and to what heights it takes him.  Like Ronald Reagan, Dr. Carson knows what he believes and does not have to pause to think about which political constituency he might offend before he speaks.  His honesty and sincerity, like Ronald Reagan’s, is such that it appeals to nearly all Americans.

Conservatives have been hungering for a true conservative leader since the day that Ronald Reagan left the White House in January 1989.  It is easy to see how Dr. Ben Carson, the “black Reagan,” could fill those very large shoes.



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