Unjustified apoplexy over Ben Carson on “Morning Joe”

Let me begin what I am about to say with a couple caveats. First, I am not a supporter of Ben Carson’s bid for the GOP nomination. Not by a longshot. In fact, I think if he were the nominee, he would set the cause of conservatism back. Second, “Morning Joe” is one of my all-time favorite political programs. I listen to the commentary from Joe, Mika, and the others on a daily basis. It is a part of my daily routine that I really enjoy.

Having said that, the “Morning Joe” crew really whiffed it this morning in their commentary on the Ben Carson situation. And Joe Scarborough in this case is perhaps the worst whiffer.

First, Joe brushed aside the fact that the Politico story about the scholarship offer has been completely discredited–so much so, that the author of the story had to correct it (although without noting the correction) by removing the part that alleged “fabrication.” Joe also ignored the fact that every major news organization that ran with the story on Friday morning had backtracked from it by the end of the day. For some reason, none of that mattered to Joe.

Second, Joe rattled off a series of claims from Ben Carson’s biography, and then read news reports that could not find witnesses to “corroborate” Carson’s stories about his past. Carson has admitted that he might not have some of the details correct because of how long ago the events occurred (e.g., his meeting with Gen. Westomoreland). He’s also explained that some of the witnesses don’t want to be identified publicly. Nevertheless, Joe treats the lack of corroboration and Carson’s fuzziness on some details as prima facie evidence that Carson is a liar.

But at the heart of Joe’s outrage is a logical fallacy. Lack of corroboration does not equal fabrication. If I get up in the morning and eat oatmeal with my 5-year old son (as I did this morning) and he’s unable to confirm later that I ate oatmeal this morning, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t eat oatmeal. It probably means that my son doesn’t remember, wasn’t paying attention, or whatever. One possible interpretation is that I’m a liar. But there are a number of other less sinister explanations for the lack of corroboration. Yet Joe treats lack of corroboration as evidence of deceit. I don’t agree with Donna Brazille often, but I think she’s essentially right:

I get the frustration with Ben Carson’s candidacy, and Joe and I probably have some of the same complaints on that score. But that is no excuse for calling Carson a liar on the basis of what we know right now. The evidence just isn’t there to justify the apoplexy displayed on that panel this morning. And everyone on the “Morning Joe” panel this morning–except for Mark Halperin–got that really wrong.

40 Responses to Unjustified apoplexy over Ben Carson on “Morning Joe”

  1. Roy Fuller November 9, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    I agree that the original Politico story was very poorly done. And while I do agree with both of Donna Brazille’s points, it also seems worth pointing out that in the absence of a voting record, Carson’s personal story takes on increasing importance as one of the primary ways to evaluate him. This is not to say there are not challenges of corroborating memories of 50 years ago, but he has been “sloppy” in some claims, and he is going to get “fact-checked” as he should expect to be.

    • Denny Burk November 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      I agree.

      • Brian Holland November 10, 2015 at 11:56 am #

        Denny, please explain what you mean when you say that you believe that Carson would do irreparable harm to the cause of conservatism? I think it’s the exact opposite. He poses an existential threat to the Left. As a free thinking, sucessful black man who lives out his conservative Christian values (as opposed to leftist) he must be destroyed by the powers that be.

  2. Chris Ryan November 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    Our politics couldn’t be further apart but I’ve long held the same reservations about Joe’s Ben Carson comments. He’s not a typical politician and Joe is too much of an insider to see the appeal of that to the ground roots.

    But what are your hang ups about Carson? And who, other than maybe Cruz, is more authentically Christian?

    • Lynn Burgess November 9, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

      Chris, I too would like to know why Denny wrote, “I get the frustration with Ben Carson’s candidacy.” But it’s likely he’s not going to tell us more than he already has. I’m always interested in who people support and why and doubly so when it is someone I esteem or believe to be more intelligent than myself. Sometimes I disagree but sometimes it broadens my perspective and understanding.

      I have been fairly warm towards Carson although I doubt that he is born again, but after reviewing this site over the weekend it caused me to be a little bit concerned about foreign affairs. Although our government was designed to be administered by the citizenry I am cognizant that many things have changed in the world since then and I honestly do not know if we need political experience in the White House or not. I believe that Carson would be good for America in many ways beginning with race relations and the socialistic, entitlement mentality. He could do almost as much in that regard as VP but I’m not certain he’d be interested in that position because I don’t believe he’s just looking for a job or a stepping stone. I would be glad to eliminate the Dept. of Education but I was intrigued that he wants to use it to monitor political bias in the curriculum.

      https://www.conservativereview.com/2016-presidential-candidates

      From that site, it seems like the most conservative candidates are Cruz, Paul, Rubio, and Carson. I don’t see the concern about what Carson wrote in his book, it seems like a witch hunt to me, but the Rubio credit card deal is problematic and I fear is going to hurt him. My guess is he was using it as a short-term loan; I cannot believe he used it in error so many times and for such large purchases.

      I know this, I would way sooner have Carson navigating what he does not know than I would Donald Trump. The thought of Trump in the White House scares me to death and I cannot imagine evangelicals supporting him. He’s not a republican, not a conservative, immoral, proud beyond belief, and likely to have us in WWIII by the end of January 2017 if elected.

      • Ike Lentz November 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

        I think the reason guys like Denny and Al Mohler keep mum about their picks for president, is that eventually they’ll have to publicly support whoever the republican candidate is, so they don’t want to fully support anyone now to avoid having to backpedal. Mohler almost never talks about republican candidates on The Briefing, even though it’s supposed to be a daily show about current events. He’s talked about Hillary and even Bernie Sanders on multiple occasions, but wouldn’t even comment after the republican last debate. Once the republican candidate is chosen, expect full, 100% support, even if it’s (gulp) Trump.

    • Denny Burk November 10, 2015 at 12:10 am #

      Chris,

      I like Carson the man, and I think I line up really closely with him on issues that social conservatives like myself care about. So his views on the issues aren’t my concern.

      I don’t have a favorite candidate yet, but I do think that the nominee needs to have executive experience. I think that experience is more valuable than having experience in Congress. That means that I tend to favor candidates who have served as governor of a state and who have done so effectively. It doesn’t help social conservatism to get a candidate with the right views but no demonstrated ability to translate those views into policy. That’s why we need a candidate with the right views who has proven he can govern.

      Carson doesn’t have that kind of executive experience, and that’s the main reason I’m skeptical. Also, Carson not only lacks executive experience, he lacks any experience in government at all. For me, this is a non-starter.

      Also, because he sometimes makes impolitic statements (e.g., pyramids, homosexuality), I think liberals and a biased press would leverage those kinds of statements to discredit him. That means that the social conservative causes he stands for would also be discredited. And we don’t need a damaged messenger. We need a leader who can persuade others that life, marriage, etc. are important causes that we should all be defending. I’m not confident he can do that.

      Thanks,
      Denny

      • Lynn Burgess November 10, 2015 at 3:16 am #

        Dr. Burk: I said to someone recently that voting for president is often an act of faith because we seldom if ever know what a person will really do once in office. But on this, “We need a leader who can persuade others that life, marriage, etc. are important causes that we should all be defending. I’m not confident he can do that,”

        I could not disagree more. People are listening and will listen to Dr. Carson who will never give a passing nod to Bush, Rubio, et al. I believe Carson more than anyone has the potential to influence America towards morality and the nation she once was.

        I laugh when Trump says, “Make America Great Again,” because he thinks high paying jobs made her great and he has no idea what really made her great.

        Maybe you are speaking of influencing politicians but I am speaking of influencing the electorate and our young people especially, those are the people who will change the fabric of America. Did you see the pics of children dressed as Ben Carson on Halloween? Did you see a single child in America dressed as a governor?

        I believe the best reason to vote for Ben Carson is for his potential for good on our nation morally and that is far more important than the economy and foreign affairs. I thank you for posting this because it has helped me to clarify this in my mind.

      • Ian Shaw November 10, 2015 at 10:31 am #

        Perhaps experience in government is what has plagued conservatives over the past 7 years. They complain and moan about what is happening, but offer no solutions. That’s of no value to their constituents who are conservatives. Over the past 7 years, I’ve heard no concrete plan about what conservatives want to do. Not even a 3 or 4 bullet checklist of what they desire to implement.

        Personally, I appreciate and respect Carson’s non-PC candor. It’s very refreshing from the Washington machine…on both parties.

        For the record, Regan was an actor and no political experience whatsoever prior to getting involved in the fracas.

        “Ronald Regan? The actor? And who’s vice president, Jerry Lewis?”

        • Johnny Mason November 10, 2015 at 11:33 am #

          Reagan was the Governor of California prior to running for the Presidency.

          • ian Shaw November 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

            Yes, but prior to that?

            Obama was a one term senator. Did that make him qualified?

            • Johnny Mason November 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

              Im not sure I get your point. Reagan had executive experience prior to running for the Presidency. He did not go from actor to President.

              Dr. Carson is trying to go from Doctor to President. He has no executive experience. He has no legislative experience. Now that can be a plus or a minus depending on where you stand. Some see this lack of political experience as a plus, given all the damage politicians have done. Some see at a negative because that experience is very useful in being able to govern, manage budgets, interface/negotiate with foreign powers, etc. Our current President is a prime example of how much damage someone without any experience can cause.

              So Carson is a black box. We have no idea how we will govern, how he would implement that policy, how firm his principles are, etc. I like him a lot. I do, but I don’t think he is ready for the Presidency.

              I agree with Denny. I would greatly prefer a Governor as President over a Senator, congressman, or a blustery business man. Unfortunately, my choice, Scott Walker, dropped out, and the Governors that are left, leave a lot to be desired.

              • Brian Holland November 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

                I’m inclined towards Governors as well, but consider that Obama’s primary fault is that he’s a left wing zealot, not his lack of experience.

              • Lynn Burgess November 10, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

                Johnny, Ken, et al:

                This is excerpted from Dr. Carson’s FaceBook “About” page. If you look hard and squint you may find a tiny shred of administrative experience.

                After graduation, Ben would work as an X-ray technician, a bank teller, a school bus driver, a supervisor for highway cleanup crews, and a crane operator in a steel factory, before being accepted into the University of Michigan Medical School…

                He sits on the board of directors of numerous entities, including Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Academy of Achievement, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. He was appointed in 2004 by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics…

                Dr. Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments…

                Recognized by Great Nonprofits as a Top-Rated Nonprofit, Carson Scholars is currently operating in 50 states and the District of Columbia, having awarded more than $ 6.2 million dollars to more than 6200 scholars. The program also establishes Carson Reading Rooms in schools across the country to encourage young students and their families to discover the pleasure of reading and to recognize the true power of learning. To date the program has established over 100 reading rooms in 14 states in the U.S…

                http://carsonscholars.org/

                tp://tinyurl.com/o257on4

            • Ken Abbott November 10, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

              Prior to Reagan’s successful campaign for governor of California, he was the president (twice) of the Screen Actors’ Guild, a spokesman/public representative for General Electric (and the host of early television’s “GE Theater”), and active in the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon (whom he supported as a Democrat) and Barry Goldwater (following his switch to the Republican Party). So he was not a political neophyte before his 1968 gubernatorial campaign, but it is true that he had not previously held elective political office. His victory over incumbent governor Ed Brown (father of the current governor of California, by the way) sent shockwaves through the establishment, who had widely written him off as an unserious lightweight.

      • Charity Rodgers November 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

        Ben Carson is the best person to turn back the clock on the moral fiber of our nation, and he can delegate or hire advisors on other matters. MORE THAN ANY OTHER THING AMERICA NEEDS MORAL LEADERSHIP. I also believe that Carson will do well in dealing with congress and persuading liberals to support conservative causes because of his respectful soft-spoken demeanor and because of his story. What better argument against liberalism can there be than the story of Ben Carson? I wonder if you have considered the huge teams of medical professionals Carson has led in very tense situations like separating twins conjoined at the head. I for one see that as leadership. A chief of staff with administrative experience should be sufficient.

        Some evangelicals question that Carson is born again because of the SDA theology and he does not speak of some version of praying the sinner’s prayer in his testimony. Might I suggest that the surest evidence of genuine conversion is a changed life and certainly, Ben Carson’s life changed dramatically the day he spent three hours in the bathroom reading the Bible following the shock of nearly stabbing someone in the belly. He certainly prays like a believer… and his pyramid comment in context does not concern me… a few minutes of that speech…
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrqShRhxJBM

        Ben Carson, “Honesty is absolutely essential for anyone who claims to be a child of God.” I only wish we had the balance of this commencement speech.

  3. Chris Ryan November 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Is there a new moderation policy or something? And what is it? I’m not sure why this an agreement with you is being moderated.

  4. James Stanton November 9, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    I was more concerned about his views on the pyramids being used to store grain. There’s no basis for this. The only thing I’d like to see from Carson on such trivialities is that he’s capable of admitting that he might be wrong and not simply attack the media for focusing on things he’s said that are easily proven wrong.

    The West Point issue isn’t such a big deal when you look at it in context. He was basically bragging about being informally “offered” a scholarship. Politico made a mess out of reporting this as a gotcha issue.

    • Brian Holland November 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

      He threw this out informally as a possible theory, not a statement of fact. It has absolutely nothing to do with the problems we face as a country. You should be more concerned about the racist black mob that has overtaken Mizzou, and that is behind the so called “Black Lives Matter” movement. They hate him because they are filled with hatred, and hate the truth. He speaks the truth in love on these issues.

      • ian Shaw November 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

        agreed

        • Brian Holland November 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

          Experience is overrated. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon to figure out that we can’t keep spending money we don’t have. So many of our problems are a result of a lack of common sense, and left-wing secular radicalism. We just need someone with the courage of conviction to take a common sense stand against this insanity, and moral relativism. I’m also reminded of our greatest president in history, George Washington. Did he hold political office prior? Not that I’m aware of. He was a General.

  5. Christiane Smith November 9, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    I watched the show this morning and saw it all. Everyone who watches the show regularly KNOWS that Joe can be ‘dramatic’, so that was no surprise for me. Having Mika on the show helps balance Joe out . . . but not even Mika could slow him down this morning. The word ‘apoplexic’ seems about right.

    As for Ben Carson, I’m wondering at his reaction to being examined for accuracy . . . He would come off better if he accepted responsibility for the REASONS people are concerned.
    The thing is that his own personal story in reality is genuinely amazing . . . his accomplishments are real and recognized the world over in the medical field. Why he felt he needed to ‘add’ to the real story is something many cannot understand. For his sake, I hope we’ve seen the worst of this and some people begin to come forward to corroborate some of Carson’s unusual statements soon . . .

    as for me, I want him to have a fair chance, sure. Am I ‘concerned’ . . . oh yes . . . red light alert sure . . . emotionally, I can’t sort out why a man of his genuinely great accomplishments had/has a need to create drama about himself that doesn’t stand up under scrutiny . . . logically, I haven’t been able to get past the pyramids-as-grain-storage thing. . .

    What concerns me most is his qualifications for the job of POTUS. (?)
    His character? It seems to be coming more into focus as he chooses how to deal with being under scrutiny . . . I don’t think he realized the extent of what any candidate for high office must endure in the way of scrutiny. His own ‘reaction’ to this pressure is telling. He would do well to try to handle the scrutiny in a way that speaks well for his ability to face and handle pressure.

    • Bob Shaffer November 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

      Christiane: “As for Ben Carson, I’m wondering at his reaction to being examined for accuracy…” I find your statement amazing. This is a witch hunt about nothing. Politico blatantly lied. “I hope we’ve seen the worst of this and some people begin to come forward to corroborate some of Carson’s unusual statements soon . . . ” Maybe this will help.

      “You know there is a hierarchy at Hopkins, and I probably wouldn’t have been having a personal conversation had I known that he was already attending and chief of pediatric neurosurgery, but of course he took the fast track, and uh, but he was a very approachable and humble guy. We just had a personal conversation at about three in the morning waiting for a patient to come down and, he told me that story…”

      “What I remember is the knife hitting the belt buckle,” he said. “And that it was a life changing, sort of religious, experience for him, where he could have gone one way or the other, and he chose the good way. And IT WAS A SELF-DEPRECATING STORY, IT WASN’T A STORY TO AGGRANDIZE HIM, people like hearing rags to riches story, but I don’t think they like hearing criminal to riches stories. This isn’t a story that you tell if you’re running for president for example. THIS IS JUST A VERY IMPORTANT MOMENT IN HIS LIFE, AND I RECOGNIZED THAT.”

      The former colleague said he believed Carson’s story was true.

      “It was clearly a big deal for him at the time, and yeah I absolutely believe it’s true, and there’s really no reason for him to tell a story like that, like I said, before any of this fame came to him,” he added.

      “He had nothing to gain by impressing me. It was in context of the discussion that we were having. The funny thing about this guy is that this guy tells you you’ve got a tumor in your head and he needs to go inside and get it out you’re gonna believe him, right? …”

      There is a bit more and the recording at this link:

      http://tinyurl.com/pe53vqh

    • Bob Shaffer November 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

      From Ben Carson’s FaceBook page today regarding the stabbing incident:
      Here is an interview my mother did in Parade Magazine on May 11, 1997. Did CNN do any research at all?
      http://tinyurl.com/pmfp3xv

      Former Military Academy Admissions Rep Backs Carson’s Claim about West Point
      http://tinyurl.com/ox8har3

      Fact Check Politico on Ben Carson Fabrication of West Point Scholarship: Pants on Fire! http://tinyurl.com/qf8eqck

      Whoever has Westmoreland’s calendar said he was in Detroit for an ROTC event the February just before the Memorial Day Carson wrote about so possibly he included meeting him on the wrong date, or possibly Westmoreland cancelled his golf game and went to Detroit on Memorial Day. No matter, this hardly constitutes a negative reflection on Carson’s’ character and I’m sorry I don’t have the links.

    • Bob Shaffer November 9, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

      Former Yale Record staffer recalls the prank that Carson says happened to him.
      http://tinyurl.com/o3a4ht2

      Yesterday Ben Carson posted this with a newspaper clip reporting the incident:
      On Saturday a reporter with the Wall Street Journal published a story that my account of being the victim of a hoax at Yale where students were led to believe the exams they had just taken were destroyed and we needed to retake the exam was false. The reporter claimed that no evidence existed to back up my story. Even went so far as to say the class didn’t exist. Well here is the student newspaper account of the incident that occurred on January 14, 1970.
      https://www.facebook.com/realbencarson/

      Carson also posted this yesterday on Facebook:
      Allow me also to do the research for the Wall Street Journal reporter.
      Here is a syllabus for the class you claim never existed.
      Still waiting on the apology.
      http://www.yale.edu/perception/Brian/courses/Perception-Syllabus.html

  6. brian Darby November 9, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Personally I like the life that Dr. Carson has lived it is admirable and dedicated and he has done good, that goes far. He is an excellent and highly skilled surgeon. I think they are making mountains out of dirt clods at best. I do agree it is important to gauge how he deals with media pressure, I would love to see the media put under their own scrutiny. I can’t stand his politics but devaluing his many accomplishments and his dedication to saving people’s lives well I have to say I admire that. I will admit I am troubled by his view of cosmology and some aspects of biology, but I do not know enough about it to speak further and not being a scientist I would be out of my element. I am an extremely liberal person, but I am finding that world view as untenable as the biblical view I use to hold. This is probably childish and maybe even pathetic of me but I would love to see the Republicans stop calling each other names and really get down to some real discussions, I would love to see the democrats do the same. Like I said I can’t stand much of his politics, but that does not mean I cannot respect the person. I don’t think I could ever support Mrs. Clinton to be honest.

  7. Ken Temple November 9, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    In fact, I think if he were the nominee, he would set the cause of conservatism back.

    why?

  8. Scott Tsao November 10, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    Dr. Carson’s unique experience is the fact that he has personally experienced each and every social-economical levels in this most diversified nation of the world called the United States of America. One of his most succinct messages to the voters today is that we are not just Democrats or Republicans, but we are Americans! And, out of all the presidential candidates, Dr. Carson is the only one qualified to play that critical role to unite and save this great nation of ours!

  9. Curt Day November 10, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Anyone who knows anything about the service academies know that everyone there is on a free ride plus pay. So why would Carson say that he was offered a scholarship in a way that would distinguish him from some others or that would imply that his acceptance only required his admission? Most likely, what was communicated to Carson was an assurance that, with his record, he would be admitted. But such does not a scholarship offer make.

    In essence, Carson wasn’t personally offered anything about West Point. He could have applied directly or applied for a congressional nomination– he was not qualified for the only other kind of nomination: a military nomination (see http://www.usma.edu/admissions/_layouts/mobile/mblwiki.aspx?Url=%2Fadmissions%2FSitePages%2FApply%5FNominations%2Easpx#Serv ).

    So regarding this Carson’s story about being offered a scholarship to West Point, it seems that both Carson and the media have faults. Yes, the politico story need corrections. But Carson’s framing of what was offered also needs to be corrected.

    But the above is the West Point scholarship offer snafu. What is consistent in Carson’s stories is this exceptional role that he has continually taken. And so far, there is no corroboration for his claims of playing exceptional roles. And while Carson’s stories play well with authoritarian conservatives who are eager to find fellow conservatives to support, the story-telling of his past will either result in a person with a history of having problems with clearly reporting the past being elected president or his story-telling will cause his campaign to collapse.

    • Johnny Mason November 10, 2015 at 11:29 am #

      When will you guys stop beclowning yourself over Dr. Carson.

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/08/ben-carson/carson-defends-west-point-scholarship-story/:

      “We also found examples of the words “full scholarship” used in publications that are linked on West Point’s website, as well as some old recruiting advertisements:

      • A dataset from 2014: “At the United States Military Academy all students receive a full scholarship, including room & board and medical- and dental-care are provided by the U.S. Army.”

      • A prospectus from 2012: “As a cadet, you are a member of the U.S. Army and receive a full scholarship and an annual salary of more than $10,000 from which you pay for your uniforms, textbooks, a laptop computer, and incidents.”

      • An ad in a 1991 issue of Black Enterprise magazine: “Each year about 1,400 young men and women take advantage of the opportunity to attend West Point on a full government scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board and medical care.

      • An ad that appeared in a few issues of Ebony magazine in 1990: “You receive a full scholarship, earn a degree from one of the country’s finest colleges, and build a foundation for a challenging career of service to the nation.”

      • Curt Day November 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

        Johnny,
        What you missed is this, everybody who goes to the military academies get a full scholarship + pay. So if Carcson could be offered anything about West Point, it wouldn’t revolve around a scholarship because of his special abilities or accomplishments as much as help or a recommendation to secure an appointment.

        The issue is over the “scholarship offer” is in how Carson is portraying himself. He is portraying himself as being this exceptional person by this personal offer as an inducement to come to West Point. And he turned down a “scholarship offer” to West Point. But you can be offered a scholarship there until you gain admission. Then, the scholarship is automatic rather than a designation of being special. So, the problem is why is he trying so hard to prove how exceptional he is with the kind of medical career he had? Why does he have to fudge stories with imprecision in ways that shed an artificial positive light on himself?

        • Johnny Mason November 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

          Curt, being recognized as a quality candidate for West Point by the top General, at the time, is a big deal. Imagine General MacArthur or General Patton recommending you for West Point. I would say that is special.

          • Curt Day November 11, 2015 at 8:36 am #

            Johnny,
            I agree with you, but that isn’t what he bragged about.

    • Bob Shaffer November 10, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      Curt: West Point ad offering full scholarship.
      pic.twitter.com/VMGHAVB6x3

      • Curt Day November 11, 2015 at 8:38 am #

        Bob,
        Again, the point is that all of the service academies give full scholarships to each student. But to have those scholarships offered, one has to gain admission to one of the academies.

        • Eric Miller November 11, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

          I read this blog often but have never commented. I am a Pastor in Pennsylvania. I started college at West Point though I ultimately graduated from another institution. Getting into West Point is a multi-step process. It includes Admissions paperwork, physicals, nominations from Senators and/or Representatives from your state (which involves being interviewed by them and/or those to whom they delegate this task) and, of course transcripts from High School.

          My offer of admission came in the form of a formally bound letter on behalf of the President of the U.S. and, I believe, the Commandant of Cadets. It makes clear that your education will be fully paid for (along with pretty much everything else – I took a duffle bag and the clothes on my back to the Academy), that you will be paid for attending, and that you are committing to serving in the active military for a number of years afterward. Should you accept this offer of admission you become part of that year’s class but must still meet all qualifications, including physical ones, upon actually reporting for Basic Training as a new cadet in July.

          Yes, everyone who attends do so on ‘scholarship’ so-to-speak. What I don’t know is whether or not a General would have the ability to make a recommendation for admission although I can’t imagine the individual still not having to complete all testing to ensure they are fit for admission.

    • James Stanton November 10, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      “So why would Carson say that he was offered a scholarship in a way that would distinguish him from some others or that would imply that his acceptance only required his admission?”

      You’re right about the free ride thing. However, I remember back to when I was in high school and a friend was accepted to West Point. The school made a big deal of it. They actually quantified the cost (something like $300,000+) and so I can understand why some refer to it as a scholarship. I’m sure the Army also played up this factor as it helps with prestige.

      • Christiane Smith November 11, 2015 at 10:36 am #

        The service academies generally require recommendations (my sister-in-law’s father was recommended by his representative from Louisiana to Annapolis) and the academies also require some service commitment following graduation, I believe. The combined-services medical school also requires commitment to service following reception of MD, but a part of that service can be done at a military hospital doing a residency in a specialty . . . my nephew is doing his residency now at a naval hospital. He says he’ll be in the Navy ‘forever’. 🙂

        I don’t doubt something positive was said to Dr. Carson, but I do know that the word ‘scholarship’ at a university does not require some kind of civil service commitment after taking a degree. That is one difference, technically. I do know that university scholars at the top of their majors are sometimes offered graduate school fellowships that enable them to go to graduate school but usually require some work during the program as an assistant to a professor.

        Full scholarships to universities without obligation are rare and highly-prized. Service academies require post-graduation service commitments, but the candidate receives a commission after graduation.

  10. James Stanton November 10, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    “In fact, I think if he were the nominee, he would set the cause of conservatism back.”

    I think this is probably right as far as conventional wisdom goes. However, I wonder if you would agree that Present GW Bush set the cause of conservatism back. In that respect, I’m not really sure that any of the Republican candidates are any worse or better than the others. Any one of them can blow up the debt with tax cuts for the wealthy, wage trillion dollar foreign wars, mismanage national disaster responses, and oversee financial collapse. And worst of all, with tongue in cheek, all of that led to the election of the current President. I’m just saying… it’s all relative.

  11. Tim Jacobson November 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Having heard the Morning Joe segment on Ben Carson, I am in total agreement with your assessment. I don’t understand how Joe Scarborough can say with such confidence that Carson is lying. I am also not a Carson supporter, yet Joe’s comments about him have been unnecessarily vitriolic lately, while others like Rudy Giuliani, affirm Carson’s honesty. I only wish Joe would invite Carson on his program and speak with him directly, as he does regularly with Trump, Christie, etc.

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