Ben Carson’s campaign is a game of six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but for slavery and the Holocaust

It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but for historical atrocities. Give Ben Carson any conservative pet issue, and he can tie it back to slavery or the Holocaust in less than six moves.

Case in point:

In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, prompted with the questions of “Does life begin at conception?” and “What if somebody has an unwanted pregnancy?” Carson was able to make it back to slavery in only two moves:

At first, Carson blamed the “purveyors of division” — whoever they might be — for tricking women into thinking that they have a right to decide what to do with their bodies, telling Chuck Todd that:

The mother should not believe that the baby is her enemy and should not be looking to terminate the baby…We’ve allowed purveyors of division to think that baby is their enemy and they have a right to kill it. Can you see how perverted that line of thinking is?

But when Todd followed up with the not-so-hypothetical question of what happens when someone has a pregnancy that they do not want or are ready for — is it okay to terminate the pregnancy then? — Carson pressed on:

Think about this. During slavery — and I know that one of those words you’re not supposed to say — but I’m saying it. During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said, “You know, I don’t believe in slavery, I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do,” Where would we be?

Ben Carson, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Ben Carson, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Carson then went on to outline his preference for a no-exceptions ban on abortion, stating that he would like to see Roe v Wade overturned and that “I’m a reasonable person. And if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, [I’ll listen].” When presented with the traditional hypotheticals by Todd — rape, incest, life and health of the mother — Carson barely budged, conceding only that he would be willing to “discuss” whether the life of the mother is an acceptable cause for terminating a pregnancy.

That last line from Carson was yet another iteration of his “I’m reasonable, so riddle me this” style of answer to questions about social issues on which Carson is to the far right of most of his already-reactionary opponents in the Republican primary. It’s convenient in that it allows Carson to claim to be open to reasonable discussion while at the same time dismissing any attempts at reasonable discussion. Do that in a soft enough tone, and you’re the nicest insane person in the field.

Carson’s comments came just one day after a new Des Moines Register poll showed him leading in Iowa, but that Republican voters were skeptical of him on two fronts: his lack of foreign policy experience and — ah, that’s right — the medical research he conducted using aborted fetuses.

But you know, I’m a reasonable person. If Ben Carson can explain to me why using aborted fetuses for research was okay for him, but aborting those fetuses in the first place was a mortal sin, I’ll listen.

(h/t RawStory)


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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