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Conservatives Demand Ben Carson Release College Transcripts. Just Kidding.

November 8, 2015

Over the past few days, Ben Carson's too good to be true life story has been exposed as, well, too good to be true. As it turns out, the 2016 GOP frontrunner's heart-warming redemption story of the would-be mom-hammering, friend-stabbing, seething student who passed up West Point to become a world-renowned neuro-surgeon had gotten the full Brian Williams treatment. All of which is why disappointed conservatives are now demanding Dr. Carson release his grades from Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School.
Just kidding.
Apparently, when the GOP's amen corner decries "liberal cynicism and double-standards" (Townhall) and a "ridiculous Ben Carson double-standard" (The Federalist) and "CNN's attack on Ben Carson's biography Is racially-motivated" (Breitbart), they don't mean the would-be second African-American President should be treated like the first.
As you'll recall, long before Barack Obama first took the oath of office the Republican media's storm troopers insisted the Democrat simply could not have transferred to Columbia University and later gained admission to Harvard law School. The first black editor of the Harvard Law Review must have been a beneficiary of affirmative action. So to discredit both Obama and the liberalism itself, the best and brightest on the right demanded the President release his college grades.
In just one of his efforts to install Mitt Romney in the White House, Rush Limbaugh in August 2012 informed his listeners:

"Obama got worst grades in Harvard history--and it's up to him to prove he didn't."

As it turned out, Limbaugh was only repeating what the Romney clan had already been saying. When Tagg Romney wasn't joking about "taking a swing" at President Obama, his brother Matt got laughs from New Hampshire Republicans in December 2011 when he brushed off requests for his father's secret tax returns this way:

"I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate...then maybe he'll do it."

Of course, the king of the Obama serial fabulists is Jerome Corsi. Corsi, who would later join Mitt Romney aboard his campaign jet in 2012 had previously claimed in 2008 that "Obama's attendance and exemplary performance at Harvard Law School were engineered by a Saudi prince through the auspices of an African-American Muslim radical." Corsi had plenty of company among the usual suspects on the right, as The Blaze, The Daily Caller and World Net Daily all focused on Obama college transcripts. The National Review repeatedly returned to topic, even to defend Texas Governor Rick Perry from the attacks of snobby "coastal elites."
For his part, Donald Trump announced he would not be releasing his transcripts from the Wharton School of Business. But while he refused to prove he was a "super genius" at Penn, back in 2011 the Birther-turned-Romney endorser had a different standard for President Obama.

"The word is, according to what I've read," said Trump, "that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental. He then gets into Columbia; he then gets to Harvard. ... How do you get into Harvard if you're not a good student? Now maybe that's right or maybe it's wrong, but I don't know why he doesn't release his records."

As it turns out, Ben Carson like Barack Obama admitted he didn't always have the best grades. As he explained in his February 2014 op-ed titled "Beyond Affirmative Action," Carson suggested he was a beneficiary of the type of preferences he would end:

In my mind, I was pretty hot stuff. Only after I got to Yale and became cognizant of my classmates' many accomplishments did I realize that the admissions committee had taken a substantial risk on me and that I had been extended special consideration. My early academic experiences were traumatic, and but for the grace of God, I would have flunked out.
Fortunately, I was able to adjust to the academic rigors necessary to qualify for medical school admission at the University of Michigan. Medical school was transformative, and I was subsequently accepted into the selective neurosurgical residency at Johns Hopkins. By that time, no special considerations were expected or needed.

Carson, of course, was among those who demanded Obama release his birth certificate and college records because of the "shroud of secrecy" surrounding him.
Sadly for him, Dr. Carson is now learning the hard way that while being a brain surgeon won't help you become President of the United States, having an overactive imagination can certainly hurt. Now that he's the one getting hammered, the question is whether he can cut it as a candidate.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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