Elephants never learn

Dr. Carson is the GOP’s newest Magic Negro:

Dr. Benjamin Carson was a political unknown just weeks ago. Audience members at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last week cheered Dr. Carson, on screen, after he said, “Let’s just say if you magically put me in the White House ” Then with a single speech delivered as President Obama looked stonily on, he was lofted into the conservative firmament as its newest star: a renowned neurosurgeon who is black and has the credibility to attack the president on health care.

In his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, Dr. Carson criticized the health care overhaul and higher taxes on the rich, while warning that “the P.C. police are out in force at all times.”

Overnight, he was embraced by conservatives including those at The Wall Street Journal editorial page, which proclaimed, “Ben Carson for President” — a suggestion Dr. Carson helped feed at a high-profile gathering last weekend, the Conservative Political Action Conference. He was interrupted by sustained cheers when he coyly said, “Let’s just say if you magically put me in the White House…

I mean, didn’t they just go through this with what’s his name, the Federal Reserve guy, Alan Keyes?  I mean, J.C. Watts, that is to say, Colin Powell, or rather, Herman Cain. It is clear that a lot of Republicans are far more concerned with acquiring a useless anti-raciss card than they are with the direction of the country.  They are elevating totems rather than candidates, and worse, totems that will never be recognized by those they are seeking to placate.

US politics are now an identity game.  Democrats have already established that they are the brown, black, and yellow party, so unless Republicans realize that they are, whether they like it or not, the white party, and begin to plan their strategy accordingly, they not only cannot win intentionally, they aren’t really even in the game.  It’s like watching a rugby team trying to play football without bothering to learn what the rules are.

It is long past time for conservatives to realize that one cannot continue to play by centuries old Anglo-Saxon rules after one permits a large quantity of non-Anglos who neither know nor care about those rules to invade the playing field.  The great irony is that the Republicans of the sort one finds on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, who cling to the outdated notion of a creedal United States, genuinely consider themselves to be pragmatists.

I expect that like his predecessors, Dr. Carson will, sooner or later, inadvertently reveal himself to be considerably less conservative than all of his newfound fans ever imagined.