If there’s one thing that hurts the most in politics, it’s realizing that someone you supported wholeheartedly for months is not the best choice as a candidate. I wanted Ben Carson to be the right candidate. I thought he was exactly what America needed. I was wrong. He’s close, but he’s missing a few components that are necessary in a time when America needs the strongest, most intelligent and thoughtful leader possible.
Nobody could ever convince me that Carson isn’t intelligent just as they couldn’t convince me that he isn’t thoughtful. The very nature of his chosen profession, neurosurgery, demands a great deal of both in order to be successful. I love what he has to say about fixing the country, dealing with immigration, and even addressing threats foreign and domestic. Despite what many said about his economic plan, there are enough numbers to support the ideas that he has been espousing about a flat tax rate that made me realize just how correct he has been.
The problem with Carson has emerged in the last couple of weeks as he’s faced criticism. He hasn’t handled it well. Keep in mind that I don’t believe most of the criticism was warranted, but that’s politics. In particular, that’s Presidential election politics. It’s the test that every major candidate has to face and Carson has not thrived in it the way that he needs to. Perhaps it’s because he’s not a politician. Perhaps it’s because he’s just too nice. Regardless of the reasons, this country needs a leader who can take criticism of any type, real or make believe, and handle it appropriately.
Unfortunately, my second choice for President based upon my desire to have an outsider take the reins has fallen in my eyes as well. Donald Trump says a ton of great things about being great and making things great and how great his greatness is. I bought into it for a while, particularly when I thought that he would likely be the candidate. Now, I’m realizing that his inability to handle any minutely negative situation makes him worse than Carson. The difference is that this bombastic mentality has shielded him in a way from the negative effects on his polling numbers, but that doesn’t change the fact that he turns into a child when anyone calls him out on his statements.
Donald Trump is not capable of being a good President. He’s a leader. He’s a smart man. He is not a President of the United States. He fell from number 2 to number not-gonna-happen in my books about a month ago.
While Carson and Trump were fading in my semi-conservative mainstream Republican mind, a candidate rose who surprised me in positive ways as much as Carson and Trump surprised me in negative ways. Ted Cruz has a reputation for being a hardline conservative. That has been his most compelling attribute since hitting the political stage four years ago. He’s a Tea Party favorite and that worried me. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against the Tea Party. However, I do believe in a more balanced and realistic perspective when it comes to Republican politics. I’m not necessarily a moderate, but I’m what might be considered conservative-lite when it comes to policy.
Cruz has demonstrated with his perspectives on the economy and national security that he’s not as hardcore conservative as the legend that precedes him. He’s definitely conservative, but his willingness to go against many of the most hawkish Senators like Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio on the USA Freedom Act proved that he’s willing to bend but not break. He’s like Trump in that he wants to build a wall but he’s not talking about building a deportation force that is not only irrational but that’s fiscally irresponsible. Most importantly, he appreciates the value of a flat tax while still maintaining a conspicuously aggressive stance as it pertains to market monetarism. This goes against standard GOP philosophies and would be damaging to him if it weren’t for the likely reality that he’s absolutely correct about it being the right way for the Fed to regulate money.
I will always consider Ben Carson to be a strong leader who needs to be more present in Washington DC policy-making. I just can’t see him as President of the United States. It’s only one perspective, but it’s a perspective that I hope moves other Republicans to see the light.