Dr. Carson: Gifted Hands, foot in mouth
George Curry | 10/28/2013, 4:17 p.m.
(NNPA) – Dr. Ben Carson became the darling of conservatives earlier this year by stridently attacking the Affordable Care Act with President Obama sitting just a few feet away. Carson, who was serving as the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast at the White House, said:
“Here’s my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account to which money can be contributed – pretax – from the time you’re born ’til the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members, so that when you’re 85 years old and you got six diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on and there’s nobody talking about death panels.
“Number one. And also, for the people who were indigent who don’t have any money we can make contributions to their HSA [Health Savings Account] each month because we already have this huge pot of money. Instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let’s put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care.”
Predictably, the right wing rushed to embrace him. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the crew at Fox News were ecstatic that a prominent Black neurosurgeon shared their world view. Jonah Goldberg, a columnist for the right-wing National Review, compared Carson to racial apologist Booker T. Washington. David Graham, writing in The Atlantic, called him Herman Cain without the “personal skeletons.” And the conservative Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed under the headline, “Ben Carson for President.”
Carson became a paid contributor to Fox News, was hired to write a weekly column for the right-wing Washington Times, and became in-demand as a speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and any national event that attracts more than three conservatives.
Professionally, Carson is no dumb man. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his M.D. from the University of Michigan. At the age of 33, he became director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the youngest major division director in the school’s history.
In 1987, he led a 70-member surgical ream that separated twins who had been joined at the back of the head. After the successful 22-hour surgery, Carson gained national recognition. His autobiography, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, was published in 1992. The book recounts how his mother, Sonya, reared him and his older brother, Curtis, after she and her husband, Robert, divorced when Ben was 8 years old. In 2009, TNT released a television movie with the same title as his book, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Ben Carson. In 2008, George W. Bush presented Carson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Carson has made several controversial remarks after his appearance at the White House. In March, he said on Fox TV: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Love Association], be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”