Day: 2014.12.23

One of Those Things That Shouldn’t Be Said Explicitly

“Sadly, the bloodshed will most likely continue until those in positions of power realize that the unequivocal support of law enforcement is required to preserve our nation.”

Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore

Alright, then. From their pen to your eyes: Unequivocal support of law enforcement is required to preserve our nation.

Carte blanche. That’s all they’re demanding. If you don’t back the police hell or high water, regardless of what they do or fail to do, it’s all over, people. So say the Baltimore cops.


That Republican Unity You’ve Been Hearing About

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Speaking of unity and the Republican Party ....

Tea party favorite Mike Lee roiled the GOP establishment four years ago when he knocked off a sitting senator on his way to the Republican Senate nomination in Utah.

Now, the establishment might strike back.

As the 43-year-old Lee plots his 2016 reelection bid, he is courting business leaders under the radar, hoping to head off a primary challenge backed by business leaders and other establishment figures in his home state, like billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., an influential bank CEO and a former Utah GOP party chairman.

Some powerful establishment Republicans in Utah are tired of Lee’s hard-line positions. He stood with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas last year when the federal government closed and again this month when they tried to take on President Barack Obama on immigration but ended up giving Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada leverage to confirm controversial nominations.

So as Lee fights to make sure he doesn’t become the first tea party senator ousted by the party establishment, he’s effectively turned the Republican intraparty war that has defined Senate primary politics for the past four years on its head.


Is there a way we can blame this on Ben Carson?

It’s hard to say what voters will do if given the choice again, but we must also recall that between whatever passed for the Republican version of sanity and responsible decency and, well, Sen. Mike Lee, voters in Utah went with the latter. Well, okay, let us be clear: His predecessor, Sen. Bob Bennett, was a conservative stalwart who just wasn’t conservative enough to not be drummed out by his own state’s Republican Party.

We’ll have to see what comes of any attempt to inject sanity in to Utah politics; all previous efforts seem to have failed, so it is fair if one holds low expectations.

Still, though, we can pretend it’s unity if we want to blame Ben Carson for wrecking it, right?


Raju, Manu. “Tea partier braces for primary challenge from the establishment”. Politico. 22 December 2014.

Almost Exactly on Cue

In March, Ben Carson spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference. (Credit Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

There are any number of undignified things we might suggest about the GOP and Ben Carson, as Republicans have played happy at his presence in the discourse. Perhaps the least nasty way of saying it is that Republicans never had any intention of following him to the White House, but, rather, just needed a body that met certain superficial criteria to send out to the line. Or perhaps we could simply say that a brief paragraph in Trip Gabriel’s article for the New York Times stands out both as extraordinary and hardly a surprise:

Though few Republican strategists expect Mr. Carson, 63, to be the nominee, they acknowledge his potential to throw a wrench into the establishment’s desire to unify early, and the danger of turning off moderates if his divisive views continue to gain traction.

The party has sent him out to bait and court extremists, and recently he placed second in a CNN/ORC poll considering 2016 presidential candidates; Carson placed second, with the poll winner being a non-candidate named Mitt Romney.

We ought not wonder that the prospect of Ben Carson rising to legitimate presidential aspiration and possibility unsettles Republican Party institutions. It is one thing for conservatives to send a black man out to race-bait the White House, but another entirely to actually put him up for the presidency.

Furthermore, it is almost as if NYT is happy to play along: “G.O.P. Hopes for Unity”, reads the headline, “May Be Upset by Ben Carson”.

As a thesis, everything about the statement is wrong.

It’s almost funny. But consider that at this time last year the presumed front-runners for 2016 had all flamed out in one way or another. Marco Rubio was drowning in his own clownish incompetence, Chris Christe was busy trying to tread water amid the tumbling wreckage of the Bridge Scandal, and Rand Paul revealed to Americans that he doesn’t know what plagiarism is. And again, through the electoral season, Republicans tore themselves up with vicious primary fights, including a debacle in Middle America that racked up a death toll. And the Speaker of the House can’t pass his own bills because he can’t whip his own caucus into line.

Seriously, then: Ben Carson is the thorn in the side of GOP unity?


There is a way in which that makes sense, but such discussions are not intended for polite society.

Neither should one be surprised that the Republican discourse prefers such a setting.


Gabriel, Trip. “G.O.P. Hopes for Unity May Be Upset by Ben Carson”. The New York Times. 21 December 2014.

CNN/ORC. “Interviews
with 1,045 adult Americans conducted by telephone by ORC International on November 21-23, 2014”. 2 December 2014.