Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Ben Carson

The 2016 Candidate Evaluation Series Finale

Now that Joe Biden has finally made up his mind and decided not to run for president, I can conclude my candidate evaluation series. This series finale post will provide you with a number of election-related resources:

  1. My thoughts on Biden’s decision
  2. Links to all the extant candidate evaluation posts along with all the additional election-related content I have written so far.
  3. A full league table of the presidential candidates in which they score points for supporting policies that would benefit the country and lose points for supporting policies that would harm the country.
  4. Mini-Evaluations of some of the third party candidates and marginal figures (e.g. Jill Stein, Lawrence Lessig, etc.)
  5. Statistics on how popular the different candidates’ evaluations have been with blog readers

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillary Clinton Started the Whole “Obama is a Muslim” Thing

Over the last week, republican candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson have been taking a lot of heat–Trump for refusing to deny that Obama is a Muslim foreigner, Carson for explicitly stating that Muslims should not be president. We’ll discuss what both of them said, but I want to remind everyone of something we seem to have forgotten–it was Hillary Clinton who started this, and any person who supports Clinton while criticizing Trump or Carson is at best deeply ignorant of Clinton’s past and at worst a naked hypocrite.

Read the rest of this entry »

I Read It So You Don’t Have To: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

There are a lot of people out there who say that we shouldn’t write about Donald Trump. They call him a figure of fun, an entertainer. But at this point, Donald Trump has been leading in the national republican primary polls for longer than any of the anti-Romneys we saw in 2012:

GOP Surges

The day may come when Trump no longer leads in the polls, but it is not this day–despite the claims of pundits to the contrary, far more viewers picked Trump as the winner of yesterday’s GOP debate than picked any other candidate:

2nd Republican Debate Survey

So I think it’s appropriate to take Trump seriously, to really try to figure out what makes him tick and what his appeal is. To that end, I have acquired and read, cover to cover, The Art of the DealTrump’s 1987 bestseller. I am now prepared to share what I have learned with you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bogus Claims and Broken Arguments: The First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate

The pundits are out in force today arguing about which republican candidate performed best in yesterday’s debate. But the pundit definition of “best” is, well, not the best. They evaluate politics descriptively, disputing who will get the most support, not who should. There’s precious little serious reflection on the quality of the arguments presented. Candidates know this, and consequently every election they behave more theatrically, trying to score cheap points with burns and put-downs instead of engaging in nuanced policy discussion. So instead of discussing whose personal anecdote was the most touching or whose one-liner had the most zing, I invite you to join me in a dissection of the substantive claims and arguments we did see.

Read the rest of this entry »

Candidate Evaluations: Ben Carson

Despite the continued explosive popularity of my UK election post, I am now drawing down my comment responses and focusing on doing new work for my regular readers (though newbies are more than welcome to join in). This means resuming the Candidate Evaluations series and covering Ben Carson, who recently declared his intent to run for president. If you’re new to this series, the goal is to examine a US presidential candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements in an attempt to figure out whether the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Too often, no one bothers to ask these questions, focusing instead on electability or likability. The series often ventures into fun digressions–for Rand Paul, we talked about the Austrian school, for Hillary Clinton, we talked about welfare reform and financial deregulation during the 90’s. I’ve also covered Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and–my favorite so far–Bernie Sanders.

Read the rest of this entry »