Two potential GOP candidates Democrats should know

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Liberals don’t like black conservatives, but maybe God does.

“Ben Carson is warming to the idea of running for president,” Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard wrote after interviewing the famous neurosurgeon.

He’d prefer not to be a candidate himself, Dr. Carson says. But “if I felt called by God to officially enter the world of politics, I would certainly not hesitate to do so,” he wrote in his book “One Nation,” published this week.

Could God be calling him through the responses of the audiences to whom he speaks, Dr. Carson wonders.

“Every place I go, it’s unbelievable,” he told Mr. Barnes. One lady “kept clinging to my hand and said, ‘You have to run. You have to run.’ So many people tell me that, so I think I’m starting to hear something.”

America is lurching into crisis because “God, with the big ‘G’ is being replaced by government with the little ‘g,’” former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla, warned in a stemwinder at the Floyd County Republican dinner in Rome, Ga., May 15.

Asked if he would run for president, Mr. West responded:

“It says in Proverbs Ch. 3, verses 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

“I will always be a servant to this great nation, and any way that God believes I can serve America, I will. We will see what he has in store for me, because I think he maybe is getting me ready for something else.”

Liberals tend to snark when evangelicals talk this way. They shouldn’t. If they earnestly seek his counsel, God will show them how they are to serve, Dr. Carson and Mr. West sincerely believe.

Evangelicals have from time to time confused something they’d like to do with what God wants them to do. And if God wants Ben Carson, or Allen West, or both, to run for president, that doesn’t mean he expects either to win.

On the other hand, that may be precisely what God has in mind.

Either would be a good president, and a good candidate, which is different.

Character is critically important in a president, not so much in candidates.

A man of sterling character, Mitt Romney was a terrible candidate. Bill Clinton was a terrific candidate, but “character” isn’t a word we often associate with him.

A pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon who’s saved many lives, Dr. Carson has devoted much of his earnings and spare time to giving poor children the skills they need to follow him out of the ghetto onto the path of success.

In Iraq in 2003, Lt. Col. West deliberately sacrificed his career to protect his men.

It’s been many a year since we’ve had men of such character in the White House.

Mr. West served just a single term in Congress. Dr. Carson has never held public office. But politics isn’t rocket science, or brain surgery.

His life experience permits Dr. Carson to speak on health care and education reform with authority no career politician can match.

Ditto for Col. West on national security.

Career politicians talk the talk, but few walk the walk. Hillary Clinton’s admirers struggle to name a single accomplishment of hers after 20 years of public life.

More doers than talkers, Ben Carson and Allen West are also gifted orators.

Dr. Carson outlines problems and offers solutions with clarity and simplicity, without the anger so prevalent in much of right-wing rhetoric these days.

“As a doctor rather than a politician, I care about what works, not whether someone has an R or a D after his or her name,” he says. “We have to come together to solve our problems.”

Mr. West’s rhetoric tends to be more fiery. But at the Floyd County GOP dinner i—where Dave Weigel of the liberal webzine Slate noted, nervously, dozens of blacks were in attendance — he kept his focus on issues and principles and avoided specific attacks on the president.

In Floyd County, “we look at issues; not race, color, or party any more,” the Rev. Harvey Palmer, an Obama voter, told Mr. Weigel.

More than 30 percent of blacks are conservative, but two-thirds of them vote as black liberals do. Dr. Carson and Mr. West offer the best hope of breaking up the monolithic black vote.

And if either were paired with, say, New Mexico Gov. Susannah Martinez or Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida or Ted Cruz of Texas, against a Democratic ticket headed by an old white woman, it would be fun to watch liberal heads explode.

Jack Kelly writes for The Blade of Toledo and The Pittsburgh Press. He can be reached at jkelly@post-gazette.com.


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