In his book, America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Carson argues that health care needs fixing, but that in his view, the solution lies with providers and consumers, not the government — and as a successful medical practitioner, he knows a thing or two about it.
But after earning considerable trust as a trailblazing neurosurgeon and philanthropist, Carson has propelled his political second act by filling the role of provocateur — specializing in verbally tweaking the president — rather than using his cred to painstakingly and logically explain why he believes that the same coverage plan that worked for Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts is now a nonstarter for the Republican Party that put Romney forward as its standard-bearer a year ago.
It’s an approach that’s earned Carson gigs as a Fox News analyst and Washington Times columnist — jobs at which he excels. But in the process, Dr. Carson, who’s one of America’s smartest, has lined himself up with “conservatives” like former Rep. Allen West and a litany of lesser-known personalities who are quick to reach for the “slavery” or “plantation” analogy when they want to separate themselves from a more Democratic-leaning electorate.
And the result, of course, is completely predictable.
Most voters — of any color — won’t support a movement that insults their intelligence. And while Carson skewers Obama, he’s also helping to turn minority voters — not to mention white voters who are also put off — away from the party of Abraham Lincoln, Jack Kemp and Ed Brooke.
He successfully turned himself into a conservative fixture. And he’s also hurting the GOP brand.
David Swerdlick is a contributing editor to The Root. Follow him on Twitter.