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Ben Carson: The President We’ll Never Know

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There have been some great candidates who turned out to be terrible Presidents. Our current President may be the best campaigner in decades while being one of the worst to sit in the Oval Office. Ben Carson may have been the opposite, but because his campaign skills are so bad, we’ll probably never know.

On my personal chart, he still ranks #2 among the GOP candidates, but that’s more out of sentiment than a belief he might actually win. He cannot win the nomination. Like so many of the other Republicans running for President, he would likely defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election but we’ll never know for sure. His opportunity past him (and the country) by.

The bad news is mounting.

The biggest problem Carson faced wasn’t the negative publicity he unfairly garnered from the media. It wasn’t his lack of political experience in general and foreign policy in particular. It wasn’t that he was too quiet, too mild, or “low energy” as one of his competitors has been labeled by another.

Ben Carson’s biggest problem was revealed in the October CNBC Republican Debate:

“Probably in terms of applying for the job of president, the weakness would be not really seeing myself in that position until hundreds of thousands of people began to tell me that I needed to do it.”

In short, he was driven to run for President, but he didn’t have the personal drive to do so. For better or for worse, running for the President of the United States requires many traits that aren’t necessarily the type that people want to brag about. They have to possess a strong ego. Without it, they can’t imagine being the most powerful human being on the planet. They have to be willing to redirect and occasional misdirect both the press and the people. A Presidential candidate who is honest and transparent 100% of the time will be destroyed by the “gotcha” questions that every serious candidate must face. Lastly, they have to be at least a little delusional about themselves. It sounds like a strange necessary trait, but the ability to suspend personal disbelief is what fends of doubts when they’re able to creep around one’s ego.

Ben Carson doesn’t have these traits, at least not to the extent that’s required to win a Presidential nomination in the 21st century. I’m not necessarily saying that he wasn’t a bad enough person to fight dirty for the nomination, but the reality is something akin to that sentiment.

The traits of a good Presidential candidate and a good President are only partially aligned. Carson probably would have been a good President. He might have been a great one. His inability to dig into the depths of his character into a darker place prevented this from ever happening.

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