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Carson running the country about as smart as Lessenberry running the Lions

Jack Lessenberry

I was thinking yesterday that I ought to apply for the job of general manager of the Detroit Lions. Now, it is true that I don’t know anything about football, and have no background whatsoever in the sport. And actually, I don’t like football.

But I’ve had some minor success at other things – I’ve been told I’m a fairly bright guy. I know how to write and teach and run my mouth, and so I was thinking – I could do this.

Well, I’m kidding. Though I am a little tempted, since the job probably would pay quite well, and I might be able to pile up a nest egg before I was fired in disgrace.

If I was serious, I imagine people would demand that I get my blood levels checked. The idea of me running a major league football team is crazy.

But not nearly as crazy as the fact that a new poll shows that Ben Carson would easily beat either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in Michigan if the election were held today, or that other polls show he is now the leading candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination.

I mean, how much more damage could anyone do to the pathetic Lions? The country is another story. Carson is, indeed, a highly talented pediatric brain surgeon. He is also completely unqualified to hold what may still be the most important job in the world.

He has never been an elected member of a legislature, or been in a job where he had to bring people to some kind of consensus on issues. His public pronouncements show that he is largely profoundly ignorant of how government works.

His political views are often characterized as conservative, but in fact are an odd pastiche of often clashing views. He is against gun control, but thinks semi-automatic firearms should somehow be regulated in high-crime areas.

Carson hates Obamacare, but wants to give every child instead a health care savings account at birth and set up a complex formula under which the government and private employers would make annual deposits into it, something sure to require a vast new bureaucracy.

He doesn’t believe man has anything to do with climate change, doesn’t believe in evolution, and thinks the Great Pyramids of Egypt were either built by space aliens or the Biblical Joseph as silos to store grain for the famine in the Book of Genesis.

That’s all fascinating, but scary. What’s scarier is our apparent notion that you can be president without any qualifications whatsoever.

It used to be that to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, someone had to have been elected and then reelected at least once to some job like U.S. Senator or governor.

That made a certain amount of sense. What’s now clear to me is that the problem is that we need a royal family of our own to obsess over, like the Reagans or the Kennedys or maybe the Trumps. Then we could elect a fairly faceless but competent person to lead the country.

They do that in Great Britain, and it works pretty well. I’m pretty sure I’m right about this, but not at all sure who our royal family should be.

But as long as it’s not the Kardashians, I’m there.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio's political analyst. Views expressed in his essays are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.

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