Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson bows his head in prayer before speaking at a town hall meeting, Oct. 2, 2015, in Ankeny, Iowa.
Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP

As his campaign thrives, Carson sees liberal ‘schizophrenia’

Updated
The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/12/15, 9:56 PM ET

Ben Carson comments, favorability misaligned

Melissa Harris-Perry reviews the highlights from the No Labels convention in New Hampshire and the latest poll numbers, and notes the remarkable favorability rating of second-place Republican Ben Carson, despite a recent string of outrageous statements.
As Ben Carson’s propensity for bizarre ideas and rhetoric becomes more alarming, it’s tempting to think his campaign for the nation’s highest office would start to unravel. After all, voters have traditionally tried to put the presidency in the hands of grounded individuals.
 
But the retired right-wing neurosurgeon is blazing his own trail. The New York Times reports today that Carson’s aides “feared that his habit of inflammatory remarks would sink his presidential hopes,” and they even “sent him to media training,” the lessons of which he evidently disregarded. As it turns out, however, it doesn’t matter – Carson’s unhinged qualities don’t seem to be hurting his campaign at all.
 
The Times’ report noted, for example, that after Carson said religious minorities he doesn’t like should be disqualified from the presidency, “his campaign has watched grass-roots support grow and donations pour in.” Aides who were worried about public reactions to the candidate’s bizarre antics have “backtracked, deciding, in the words of one, to ‘let Carson be Carson.’”
 
And when Carson is himself, he apparently accuses liberals of “schizophrenia.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on the GOP candidate’s trip to a Georgia megachurch over the weekend, where Carson shared his views on blurring the lines between religion and government.
“The pledge of allegiance to our flag says we are one nation under God. Many courtrooms in the land on the wall it says ‘In God We Trust.’ Every coin in our pocket, every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’
 
“So if it’s in our founding documents, it’s in our pledges, in our courts and it’s on our money, but we’re not supposed to talk about it, what in the world is that? In medicine it’s called schizophrenia. And I, for one, am simply not willing to kick God to the curb.”
Let’s unwrap this a bit, because it’s a good example of Carson having firm opinions about subjects he knows very little about.
 
“The pledge of allegiance to our flag says we are one nation under God.” True, but the original pledge of allegiance – the version many of our parents and grandparents learned and recited – was entirely secular. It used to conclude, “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” It wasn’t until 1954 that the pledge was changed. Did I mention the pledge was written by a socialist? Because it was.
 
“Many courtrooms in the land on the wall it says ‘In God We Trust.’” Actually, no, there aren’t.
 
“Every coin in our pocket, every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’” Yes, although like the pledge of allegiance, this didn’t use to be the case. American money was largely secular for generations, and Congress didn’t mandate it on all currency until 1956.
 
“It’s in our founding documents.” Well, our government is based on the Constitution, and the Constitution doesn’t mention God at all.
 
“In medicine it’s called schizophrenia.” Actually, that’s not what schizophrenia means.
 
“I, for one, am simply not willing to kick God to the curb.” No one has asked Carson to.
 
If recent history is any guide, the Republican base will be delighted with the Republican presidential candidate’s rhetoric, but that doesn’t mean it reflects reality in any way.
 
 

Ben Carson and Religion

As his campaign thrives, Carson sees liberal 'schizophrenia'

Updated