Commotion with Carson

cafe carson.jpgBy Margaret Manning

What do you get when you shove eight secret service members, three noisy children, 50 restless people, and one soft spoken candidate all into one small coffee shop?

A Ben Carson town hall.

Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson is in the running for worst campaign event in the state of Iowa.

In the back of a restaurant the size of a trailer home, Carson addressed citizens of Winterset, Iowa in the Northside Café Wednesday afternoon.
With a line stretching to the street, people waited to enter the room after undergoing a pat down and bag search by local law enforcement and Carson’s own secret service.

Surrounded by more secret service, the small room was unorganized, filled to capacity and without wifi.

Carson entered the room through the kitchen’s back door, interrupting his own introduction as audience members turned to see the candidate and snap a quick picture.

full room Carson.jpgCarson, speaking from the front of the room, was outlined by an antique American flag on the wall as well as the ever present state flag of Iowa.

The doctor looked cold as he crossed his arms across his chest and made remarks about the wintry climate of Winterset. To reiterate Carson’s discomfort with the cold, the doctor attempted to disguise coughs throughout his address.

People continuously shuffled chairs placed sporadically around tables, yawned out of boredom, and quieted fussy children during the candidate’s stump.

Camera crews and reporters crowded the doorway as the security detail continued to admit people even though Carson was speaking. Those admitted late were mostly members of the press whose cameras caused the metal detecting wand to beep and whistle like the R2-D2 droid from “Star Wars,” interrupting what little flow the candidate had.

Amid the chaotic setting, Carson addressed the issues of North Korean threats, cyber attacks and his ever so popular “These Hands” commercial airing on stations across the state.

“There is nothing wrong with our country that can’t be fixed with common sense,” prescribed the doctor.

His most notable quotation, however, was in regards to the abandoned space program in the United States. Carson philosophically stated, “He who controls space will control the Earth.”

After his short 20 minute address, during which he quoted Jesus Christ and Thomas Jefferson, Carson opened the floor for questions.

For most candidates, this time of “Q&A” is a showcase opportunity, a chance to extend his/her speech. For Carson, it went from bad to worse.

With abstract answers deviated from the original questions, Carson missed his “showcase” moment. He even misheard a question, due to the background noise.

A young man asked Carson, “What about terrorists?”. Carson responded with a discussion on tariffs leaving the crowd confused and out of touch.

The doctor later concluded his remarks with his plan to address the ISIS terrorist group and announced his intention to engage in “cyber warfare”  should he be elected president.

Carson shaking hands.jpegWith an abrupt, “Thank you all so much,” Carson walked behind security rope and secret service to shake hands and take pictures with attendees. Press surged into the room along with people unable to attend the event due to lack of room capacity.

One attendee called across the room for her service dog which had run off in all the commotion.

It was apparent Carson, as he proudly stated, has “a successful career in neuroscience.” However, the acclaimed surgeon lacks talent in the political field, particularly planning political events.

Town halls, like Dr. Carson’s, provide opportunities for local Iowans to meet presidential candidates in a face-to-face personal setting, learn about their policies, hear their messages, and decide which candidate is best for the job of President.

In Carson’s case, it is highly unlikely the town hall was a success.

A note to Carson for future events, make sure you are in an atmosphere in which your message can be conveyed. After all, that’s why you’re here.