Calm Is Creepy

I’m finding myself increasingly creeped out by Ben Carson. Aside from spouting some generally crazy stuff — which, let’s face it, is SOP from today’s GOP — I think his much-ballyhooed “calm manner” is creepy as hell.

One Iowa voter says:

“That smile and his soft voice makes people very comforted,” said Miriam Greenfield, a farmer in Jewell, Iowa.

No! No! It doesn’t! It reminds me of this:

You know, maybe compared to the shouters that have dominated the Republican Party lately (Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and the entire Tea Party), a “calm demeanor” makes a refreshing contrast. During the Obama years, conservatism has certainly been characterized by its inchoate rage. But when it comes to presidential politics, Americans like calm. And there’s just something super-creepy about the way Republicans do it. Mitt Romney had that creepy, robotic tone to his voice, too, and back in 2012 I wrote:

Things Romney should never say on TV: “It won’t hurt a bit,” “trust me,” “would I lie to you?” and anything ending with the name “Clarice.”

That goes double for Ben Carson. He’s even more chilling because the creepy voice spouts some seriously crazy ideas. And when I hear that voice I expect a shiv in my side.

No, I’m not comforted. Not in the slightest.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

13 responses to “Calm Is Creepy

  1. greennotGreen

    Excellent analogy, SB! He also reminds me of Ronald Reagan whom I always thought was creepy and disconnected, even though I knew other liberals (we were “liberals,” not “progressives” in those years) who found his delivery appealing. And we all know how Reagan’s presidency turned out. Well, some of us know. The rest just live in lala land and are soothed by the dulcet tones of Ben Carson.

  2. Jim 'Prup' Benton

    Actually, Carson’s manner may be the least scary thing about him. Everything about him is terrifying, from the disease he may share with Reagan (early-onset Alzheimer’s has been suggested by several people and seems possible) to his Seventh Day Adventism (the Constitution bars an official ‘religious test’ but any one of us may decide a person’s religion or religious attitude makes him impossible for us, individually, to vote for him, and Seventh Day is one of the real centers of irrationality in the religious world) to his public statements.

    But it takes a little research t discover where he is coming from, and one of his key inspirations is a writer whose recent reprint bears a Carson testimonial, a person named W. Cleon Skousen. If you hear small bells at that name, the other person who used him as ‘inspiration’ was/is Glenn Beck. And Skousen deserves a closer look, whether to give you a view into Carson, to add to a collection of American Political Eccentrics — if you have one, as I do — or simply to get you in the mood for Hallowe’en.

    I won’t simply throw the Wikipedia article — which I’ve found to be confirmed elsewhere — at you, but some gems are worth showing. Skousen goes back to the 50s, was a speaker for — but possibly not technically a member of — the John Birch Society, and did embrace Welsh’s idea that Dwight Eisenhower was either a Communist or a dupe under the ‘handling’ of his brother.

    Skousen was a Mormon, like Beck, and used Mormon ‘end times’ arguments in his writing.

    (Ironically, this highly contrasts with the 7th Day end times, which are started by the American Government’s attempt to enforce Sunday as the Sabbath instead of Saturday. The folks at RELIGION DISPATCHES — another blog worthy of the Blogroll — are having fun pointing out that this is why Adventists have always been strong supporters of religious freedom for all and strict church/state separation, and why Carson is rejecting his own Church’s teaching in his anti-Muslim statements. On the other hand, there does seem to be some strong evidence of a streak of anti-Semitism in 7th Day teaching, some evidence that the support they gave to Hitler was not coerced — one thing (the anti-Semitism, not the Hitler support) which they may share with Skousen. (I need to do much more research on this, but my initial work seems to prove it out.))

    Of course, Skousen was opposed to any form of governmental aid for the poor or any safety-net legislation. He opposed most treaty obligations and most attempts to join in coalitions with other countries rather than America going it alone. And much more, but read the Wikipedia or the MOTHER JONES pieces on Skousen.

    Carson’s positions on guns also violates his religion, which is extremely non-violent and, I believe, tends to be granted almost automatic ‘conscientious objector’ status if requested.

    One last bit about Skousen, simply because I can’t resist it. One of his statements was that boys should be warned that masturbation leads to homosexuality.

    [However, Carson is not worth the worry he is receiving, but that will go in a ‘reply to myself’ later, where I discuss the cannibalism that is taking place in the Republican Party.]

    • Interesting about this Skousen character, I’ve never heard of him. Mormons have some pretty crackpot beliefs, too. Many are really into the apocalyptic thing, I’ve noticed (I have a ton of Mormon relatives, so I speak from experience). All of that storing a years’ worth of food stuff.

      • Jim 'Prup' Benton

        Actually, Skousen was so FAR to the Right that, in later years, Mormons had to make statements about him ‘not speaking for the Church.’ But his books are still in print and, as I said, one of them has a cover testimonial from Mental Ben (stolen from someone at Juanita Jean’s). And you’ve seen Beck’s interpretation of him, but read the pieces in Wikipedia and MOTHER JONES.

      • Jim 'Prup' Benton

        Speaking of Juanita Jean’s, have you seen the article she found about the man who decided to start stealing guns, and by the time he was caught, had ‘about 10,000; of them — the cops admitted they stopped counting after a while?

      • I saw the news story. Hoarder. Some of the pro-gun folks were saying this wasn’t a gun control issue (it’s never a gun control issue!) because 98% of the guns were stolen. I’m like, you don’t think he went out and stole them himself, do you? You don’t think he bought them off Craigslist? Plus, where the hell do they think stolen guns come from? Idiot “responsible” gun owners who do stupid stuff like leaving guns in unlocked cars overnight.

    • Duke of Clay

      Thanks for this. I had heard of this Skousen character, but this encourages me to find out more. Headed to the Mother Jones article now.

  3. I find his smile a bit creepy. His eyes, too. There’s something there that’s not right. he was smilng when he said he was going to abolish Mdicare and Medicaid.

    • Yeah the smile … and the eyes … I wonder if he’s going to crack in the national spotlight and yet another GOP frontrunner goes down in flames?

      • CB

        Dear God, I hope so. Carson scares the bejesus out of me. At least Trump is entertaining. A good friend of mine, former boss, very intelligent woman, strongly supports Carson, and campaigns actively for him. I’m just completely baffled.

      • Can you imagine a doctor declaring , with a smile and squinting eyes, that’s he’s going to abolish medicare and Medicaid ? I watched that interview. It gave me the creeps.

  4. evodevo

    I’m thinking anti-seizure drugs, or something equally soporific. I’d like to see someone research whether he was always this calm, or whether there has been a change in the last 20 years or so – he quit neurosurgeoning at ~61, which, for egotistical types like thoracic and neurosurgeons, is relatively young.