Man, it's getting to the point where the phrase "Florida Man" no longer conjures up images of meth-huffing trailer park residents but overprivileged guys gunning for the 2016 Republican presidential slot. Already the Sunshine State boasts two of the bigger names entering the political popularity contest: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Now, another Floridian is entering the race — former neurosurgeon, conservative poster boy, and crazy-quote jukebox Ben Carson, West Palm Beach's own.
Carson spilled about his political plans on Sunday during an interview with an Ohio television station. "I'm willing to be part of the equation, and therefore, I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States of America," the South Floridian retiree announced in the interview. Carson is expected to formally announce his candidacy today at a rally in his hometown, Detroit.
The will-he-or-won't-he speculation has been spinning around Carson for some time. He's never held a political office before and in fact was head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center for nearly 30 years. Still, the good doctor has become something of a right-wing firebrand following a 2013 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. With President Obama sitting only a few feet away, the retired doctor unleashed a harsh criticism of the welfare state — pure raw red meat for the right-wing fringe.
Shoveling that meat might be Carson's sole qualification for the campaign. He's proven to be pretty good at serving up memorable statements that send liberals into the basement and your Tea Partiers into mouth-frothing fits of joy. Here are just a few of the more noteworthy ones:
That time Ben Carson compared Obamacare to slavery: Yup. At 2013 Values Voter Summer, he told a crowd that the president's key piece of legacy legislation "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” He tied that speech off with a Lenin quote, 'cause, you know, communism and all.
That time Ben Carson compared gay marriage to bestiality: Yes he did. This time, the good doctor made his statements on the Sean Hannity Show. "My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society, and no group — be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are — they don’t get to change the definition." He later apologized.
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That time Ben Carson compared American today to Nazi Germany: This guy is big on historical comparisons. From a 2014 interview with Breitbart news. "I mean, [our society is] very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you're not supposed to say 'Nazi Germany,' but I don't care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe."
That time Ben Carson called President Obama a "psychopath": From a profile in GQ.
That time Ben Carson said homosexuality is a choice and cited prison rape as an example: Jesus. Keep in mind this is a doctor who is saying this. From a March 2015 CNN interview, Carson was asked if he believed homosexuality was a choice. "Absolutely," he replied. "Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they're gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."
Ben Carson, ladies and gentlemen.