After confronting President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, the accomplished doctor became an instant star. Is he destined for political success?
There are two ways you might have heard of Dr. Ben Carson. If you're a doctor or follow medicine, you might know of his great success -- the youngest head of a major division at Johns Hopkins, one of America's medical meccas; the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, back in 1987; a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner late in George W. Bush's term. He was also mentioned on The Wire.
Or if you've tuned in to Fox News or clicked onto National Review Online in the last week, you've probably heard his praises announced in loud voice. Carson, who is head of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins, also made a brief appearance on ABC's This Week Sunday. Carson's big break came when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on February 7. Here's his keynote speech:
Things don't get interesting for a while, so you might want to skip to about halfway through. Carson delivered an opening shot against "political correctness," and then -- after namechecking Tocqueville, recapping his own inspirational life story, and calling for a better education system -- voiced concern about the national debt and argued the case for a flat tax, using the Bible's injunction to tithe a set percentage, and for health-savings accounts, a medical option that has gained currency among conservatives. Crucially, he delivered this speech from a podium just feet from President Obama, who of course oversaw the passage of a very different health-care plan and has been a major proponent of progressive taxation. Obama, as he often does, remained somewhere between impassive and bored-looking. It's fair to say he didn't seem to be enjoying himself.