Thought of the Day: Being Presidential

RepHands

Do we want to hand over our nuclear launch codes to someone who is so immature and insecure that, when his policies where challenged and his record questioned, his first instinct was to make fun of someone else’s height and then claim that he has a big penis – on live, primetime television?

And for what it’s worth, “Little Marco” appears to have the bigger hands – at least compared to their relative head size. Not that there is anything to that myth, much like Trump’s blustery policy claims. And even if there were, everyone knows it’s not the size of the tool but how you use it that matters – and clearly Trump is a tool who is only interested in his own gratification.

Ben Carson: Liar-in-Chief?

But does Ben Carson?

But does Ben Carson?

Ben Carson has been campaigning as the cool, intelligent option for conservatives – two characteristics that seem to be in short supply among the rest of the Republican presidential hopefuls. But, like Donald Trump’s key selling point, Carson’s turns out to be nothing more than a carefully crafted deception.

In fact, a good chunck of Carson’s personal narrative appears to be a lie. He claims to have received a scholarship to West Point. Except that he completely made that up. He also claims to have saved some fearful white students from his riotous black schoolmates in Detroit, though he couldn’t name a single student in question and no one from the school remembers him doing anything even remotely like that. Similar fabrications have surfaced throughout his personal creation myth, from being threatened at gunpoint to trying to stab a childhood friend, all without anyone else recalling such events – not those who were allegedly involved or even those who knew him at the time, let alone any of the official records that such incidents would have surely generated.

It seems that the most important aspect of Carson’s character is his eagerness to make up stories that portray himself as a hero. And to put the discrepancies of his past into a cultural context, everyone remembers him as Urkel, but he claims that he was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Like most Republican candidates, when questioned about these discrepancies and inaccuracies, such as his denials of being involved with a company that sells nutritional supplements when there’s abundant evidence that he was, Carson simply lies about it and attacks the media for asking questions that expose him as a fraud. Lying doesn’t seem to be a problem for the likes of Carson and Trump…the problem is those pesky reporters who expose their lies.

It remains to be seen if voters will buy the traditional smoke and mirrors of the media bias argument. Carson was supposed to have the integrity lacking in most of the other Republican hopefuls, but his litany of lies might be too much for even his lemmings to swallow.

The rampant vanity of Ben Carson becomes apparent in his home, which is filled with portraits of himself, much like the megalomaniacal cartoon character Montgomery Burns.

The rampant vanity of Ben Carson becomes apparent in his home, which is filled with portraits of himself, much like the megalomaniacal cartoon character Montgomery Burns.

Lying is one thing, but stupidity is another. And Carson is no slouch on that front either.

For example, Carson, who hopes to become the next leader of the free world, appears to think the pyramids are hollow. Rather than learning from experts who have studied the culture, beliefs, agriculture, and building practices of ancient Egypt (and the actual pyramids themselves), as any reasonable non-expert might do, Carson has opted to concoct a fairytale explanation for who built the pyramids and why. He claims that they were built by someone in the Bible to store grain – not by the people of Egypt as burial crypts for the Pharoahs.

But you don’t have to be an Egyptologist or even an archeologist to realize just how stupid Carson’s claim is. The pyramids are mostly stone, with surprisingly little open space inside them. They are not, as Carson seems to believe, giant hollow structures. If you wanted to build something to store grain, the pyramids would surely be the worst possible option to choose. In fact, the claim is so ridiculous one has to question the man’s hold on reality.

Fortunately, the media are starting to ask the hard questions, and actually fact-checking Carson’s answers. Will his supporters, like Trump’s, ignore the answers and hide behind claims of media bias? Or will the truth set them free?

How can a brain surgeon be stupid? Hubris makes it easy to overlook the details, as evident in this inscription Carson had chiseled into the marble in his home. Poor spacing is one thing, but you'd think someone fond of quoting proverbs would at least know how to spell the word.

How can a brain surgeon be stupid? Hubris makes it easy to overlook the details, as evident in this inscription Carson had chiseled into the marble in his home. Poor spacing is one thing, but you’d think someone fond of quoting proverbs would at least know how to spell the word.

America Has 99 Problems…

…But A Mexican Ain’t One Of Them

If you listen to any of the many Republican presidential hopefuls, the biggest problem America is facing today is illegal immigration from Mexico. It’s become the hot topic of both candidates and the media alike. By comparison, there’s been relatively little discussion regarding the candidates’ views on other topics such as the economy, environment, and foreign policy, let alone on issues like education, healthcare, tax reform, energy independence, and gun control.

I’m here to tell you, folks: America has 99 problems, but a Mexican ain’t one of them.

So why has the Mexican border become the primary focus of the Republican presidential candidates’ campaigns so far? Probably because it’s easy to oversimplify, meaning the candidates don’t have to put much thought into it and develop an intelligent, comprehensive policy to address what is actually a very complex and nuanced issue. They can simply say, “I’ll stop it.” And if you are a real lunatic, you can even claim – as Donald Trump does – that the money to do so will magically appear.

Plus, it plays to the fears of the base supporters of the Republican agenda. It creates an enemy, and positions the candidate as the savior. Which is a lot easier to do than addressing a real threat like ISIS or climate change, because those enemies are going to be hard to defeat. And the thought required to overcome such challenges, or to even intelligently discuss the options, is well beyond the intellectual capabilities of most candidates.

A Basic Intelligence Tests for Higher Office?
Which leads me to ask: why don’t we have an intelligence test to at least select our top presidential candidates? Would anyone have a problem with that? Seriously?

Assuming a candidate can pass a unilaterally determined level of basic knowledge, they would then be eligible to run for our nation’s highest office. I’d go for a mix of basic intelligence along with a rudimentary understanding of the issues of a the day: economics, science, political science, geography, and geopolitics. Maybe it would be wise to throw in a little history as well, since we are supposed to learn from it.

I’m not asking for in-depth expertise on the issues of the day. That’s why you hire experts (unless you are George W. Bush, and then you put a political crony, like the commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, in charge of FEMA, leading to the worst domestic clusterfuck in modern American history). I’m just asking for candidates that have above average IQs.

It’s a hard job, and an increasingly complex world. We’ve tried our richest and slickest for some time now. I think it’s a time we gave our best and brightest a shot at running this country. Is that too much to ask?