Monday, September 14, 2015

President Carson

My preferred candidates are Rand Paul for the Republican party and Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party, but the candidate I find most interesting at the moment is Ben Carson. I do not think he is likely to get nominated, let alone elected. But if he did end up in the White House, what kind of a job would he do?

He is intelligent and likable, both useful assets, but he has no experience at anything close to the job he is running for. There have been Presidents before with a background outside of politics, such as Grant and Eisenhower, but both were generals, men who had successfully run large organizations. Have there been any Presidents like Carson, successful men whose success did not involve either politics or administration? None occur to me—but it is not a subject I know much about. Perhaps one of my readers can offer an example.

The job of president is, long has been, too big for one man, so the question will be how good he is at building and running a team. Can he select competent subordinates, coordinate them, evaluate the advice they give him? Judging by my one first hand experience of neurosurgery, that too is a team job. But I have no idea whether Carson as surgeon was the creator and leader of a team or merely its star member.

If he does make it, it should be interesting.

15 Comments:

At 5:56 PM, September 14, 2015, Blogger David Lubkin said...

If nothing else, his focus on (and success with) pioneering surgeries tells us he can calmly cope with a crisis. Rationally and rapidly weighing the options.

 
At 7:37 PM, September 14, 2015, Blogger Jim Rose said...

Good points. Obama was the first senator elected president since JFK. JFK deliberately did very little in the Senate to avoid accumulating enemies.

America does seem to have a preference for presidents who have as you say organisational experience of state governors and other Chief Executives.

 
At 7:48 PM, September 14, 2015, Anonymous Stephen MacLean said...

I often think of Cardinal Spellman’s retort when off to one of the Vatican synods — it may have been Vatican II — ‘I hire theologians.’ His meaning is Roger Stone’s reply when asked about Donald Trump’s fitness for presidential office: Trump, like Reagan (Stone answers), has the big picture well-in-hand and knows the important themes of what he wants and where he wants the country to go. In this case, it’s to make America ‘great again’, and a plurality of GOP voters seem to agree.

At the same time, I am reminded of a mediaeval historian who once spoke about the stained glass windows of the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages. It is reported that they were the visual Bibles of poor, illiterate peasants. True, he said, but the simple people would have been unable to appreciate what they saw unless they already had a sense of the story of Creation, the Flood, the Nativity, the Crucifixion, and such like, beforehand. Without this prior knowledge, they would have been unable to comprehend the images which soared overhead.

So I think that while it is important to have the ‘big picture’ of American politics right, it is also necessary to know the nuts-and-bolts of politics, too, so that one can choose between competing policy programmes and can manoeuvre them successfully through Congress. And that puts outsiders Trump and Carson at a distinct disadvantage.

 
At 9:59 PM, September 14, 2015, Blogger Vodka2389 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:59 PM, September 14, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honest question - what makes Carson an interesting candidate? I suppose his unusual background for a political candidate is intriguing, but everything else about him ,from his positions to his personal style, is quite dull.

 
At 6:51 AM, September 15, 2015, Blogger August said...

The most interesting candidate? John McAfee:

https://youtu.be/sMz6GV3b1ys

Come on, Carson is cardboard, and, apparently okay with torture, if his answer in the debates is to be believed.

 
At 7:28 AM, September 15, 2015, Blogger Kevin said...

In the first debate, Carson was unintelligible. He answered everything but the questions asked and like August said above, his answer on torture was interesting given his religious views. Not very principled apparently.

I find him to be one of the weakest candidates.

 
At 11:20 AM, September 15, 2015, Blogger David Friedman said...

I don't know if Carson would be an interesting person to spend a few hours talking with—by that criterion Newt Gingrich would probably be my favorite politician. What makes Carson interesting is that he has very different qualifications from most candidates—no background in politics or anything very close, but very successful in a different field. That makes me curious as to what sort of job he would do as president, which was the point of the post.

 
At 1:53 PM, September 15, 2015, Blogger Roger said...

Barack Obama did not have any administrative experience or significant political accomplishments.

 
At 2:11 PM, September 15, 2015, Blogger Josiah Neeley said...

All U.S. Presidents have either held prior elective political office or were generals. In fact, I believe the only major party candidate for whom this was not the case was Wendell Willkie in 1940.

 
At 6:34 PM, September 15, 2015, Blogger Will McLean said...

A few, like Hoover, held high offices by appointment rather than election.

 
At 1:32 PM, September 16, 2015, Blogger jimbino said...

Wikipedia claims that Hoover was "one of only two Presidents (along with William Howard Taft) elected without electoral experience or high military rank."

 
At 9:11 AM, September 22, 2015, Anonymous Thomas said...

Have to agree with Roger, Obama was a community organizer and a member of the Senate with a record of not voting on much of anything that was controversial. I too like Carson and would love to see him in the White House. Do I think he will make it, doubtful, he is too nice, too low key and calm. By the way, how do you get a job in a law school teaching something you've never taken a course for yourself? Just asking as I'd love to do the same and am looking for pointers. Just kidding.

 
At 11:50 PM, September 22, 2015, Blogger David Friedman said...

You get a job in a university teaching something largely by publishing in the field. It helps to have a doctorate, but not necessarily in the same subject.

 
At 8:26 AM, October 05, 2015, Blogger cinc210 said...

Newt Gingrich might lead us to outer space faster. He didn't know how to communicate that, and space still requires a lot of government involvement since its very expensive but he may have set up mining asteroids much earlier. As for Trump he has the old Buchanan paleo-conservatives behind him that are still pissed at factory jobs going overseas instead of buying a 3-d printer and make their own toys and so forth and sell their items on the internet world wide. Trump people are very nationalistic even to have factory work limited within the us not classical liberal but similar to the localism of the left. Also, if Mexico sold their oil off earlier they would have benefited from the boom but their oil production is very low with Pemex. This is important because a higher oil production in Mexico might have met less Mexicans wanting to come to the US which would have been Trump candidacy less possible since conservatives that support him usually hate the illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America As for Carson, I thought his solution for the minium wage was good. I doubt the minium wage will disappear overnight. Paying adults higher at 10 or 11 per hour, 21 and above and teenagers and young adults at the 7.25 is a reasonable comprise not libertarian or conservative but a comprise that works with some Democrats and moderate Republicans.

 

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