Bird dog pass/fail with Dr. Ben Carson
It was a full and warm house that greeted Dr. Ben Carson at the Pine Lake Wildlife Club between Eldora and Steamboat Rock, Iowa on June 10. The Hardin County Republicans greeted visitors with ice cream and cookies, knowing well we’d come for that and much more—to hear the views of a candidate for the US presidency.
I’d received a note as to how to perform my task well, and my chosen task was to ask Dr. Carson about money, and governing under, or out from under, its influence. Specifically, I was supposed to arrive in a timely manner, raise my hand quickly when the opportunity to ask questions arose, and—to be specific in my questioning. The doctor was introduced and received with enthusiastic applause, after which he spoke about the importance of voting, marriage, Supreme Court Justices, and a health care savings plan.
When I was called upon (gulp!!—that rapid raising-of-the-hand thing worked!) I echoed some of the words he had used, and said (something like): “You’ve mentioned purity, deception and corruption. I’m concerned about corporate personhood and campaign finance reform. What question can we ask you in a year to see if you have compromised on campaign finance reform?”
Unfortunately, I was so caught off-guard by actually being called on that I failed to record his answer except that there were no specifics (much like my rambling question). He mentioned, according to my notes, that being President would not be the culmination of his career. He would concern himself with cleaning out corruption, and firing government workers who performed poorly on the job. He spoke of how Sarah Palin had “cleaned house” in Alaska when elected governor. He said to check in a year, and see if his principles had changed.
He went on to take several other questions about immigration as well as the US military. He was quite affable following the event, greeting constituents, signing books, shaking hands and posing for pictures.
My lesson learned: be ready to be called on with a clear question that requires specificity in its answer. Be ready to record that answer. Get bird-dog training.