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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Has Ben Carson made a deal with the devil?

The final day of November brings some very surprising news concerning one of the top “outsider” candidates, Ben Carson.

Carson has thus far based his campaign on not bowing to special interests, so his sudden turn towards the Karl Rovedark forces of the Republican establishment is certainly troubling.

Rudy Takala of the Washington Examiner reports, “Republican strategist Karl Rove may be moving to help bankroll Ben Carson in the presidential race.

“Reports say Rove helped to set up a meeting between Carson's campaign and billionaire Steve Wynn, but additional details were not immediately clear. Wynn, who owns casinos and hotels across the country, has contributed a combined $30,000 to political action committees associated with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in this election cycle.”

Wynn, of course, is a friend and associate of Donald Trump and is even rumored to be one of the Republican frontrunner’s informal advisors. With Karl Rove entering the picture on behalf of Carson, however, it’s clear Wynn is being enlisted in part to help stop his “friend” from winning the Republican nomination.

Erick Erickson of says don’t be fooled, Rove is just using Carson to get at Ted Cruz. “Rove knows the odds are with Rubio as Bush is cratering and Christie has been moved to the kids’ table debate. But he has to worry that enough Trump and Carson supporters go to Cruz that it galvanizes the base toward Cruz. Immigration has become the galvanizing issue of the day and to much of the base Cruz trumps Rubio on that.

“So Rove needs to keep Carson viable long enough to hold off Cruz.”

Regardless of Rove’s motive, Ben Carson’s decision to team with the establishment imparts a stain that will not be easily removed.

You might as well pour red wine on a white table cloth – even if you bleach it out, you’ll probably still be able to see the outline of the spill.

Carson’s long-term money problems are no secret and with his poll numbers slipping, this latest action is a sign of desperation to save his campaign. But if you choose to partner with the devil, you eventually end up doing his bidding.

It’s a sad thing to see for someone who looked so promising for so long. Ben’s had an inspiring run, but if he’s truly gone to the dark side, there’s no turning back.

Fact: Republicans need a good candidate and a lot of hard work to win in 2016

As we travel along the road to the 2016 Election, some conservatives are comforted by the increasingly good possibility we’ll finally have a non-establishment candidate to rally behind and defeat not only Hillary Clinton, but also thwart the equally ineffectual Republican elites.

In harboring such a hope, many folks believe a truly principled conservative candidate will be able to overcome the obstacles Mitt Romney encountered on the way to losing handily in 2012. One of those obstacles is the commonly held notion that conservatives weren’t inspired to turn out to vote for Mitt when he challenged Obama.

But there’s only one problem with that assumption… in reality, turnout was better in 2012 than it was in 2008. Romney not only matched John McCain’s vote total, he actually ended up exceeding it by a million.

Dan McLaughlin of RedState writes, “Conservative and Republican commentators need to avoid believing our own comforting myths, and one of those has managed remarkable durability even though it should have gone away within a month of the 2012 elections: that something like 4 million usually reliable conservative voters – voters who showed up at the polls even in the down year of 2008 to support Sen. John McCain – stayed home in 2012 because Mitt Romney was too moderate.

“This theory keeps getting offered as proof that all the GOP needs to do is nominate a real conservative and this cavalry, 4 million strong, will come charging over the hilltop and save the day. In fact, poor a candidate as he was, Romney actually got more votes than McCain did.”

I must admit, I was surprised when I saw this and didn’t accept it until I read McLaughlin’s full analysis.

Next time you hear someone say Romney got four million fewer votes than McCain, tell them that figure was derived from the day after the election. Some states take longer than others to tabulate all the votes. When all reports were in, Romney ended up with over 60 million votes. Still less than what George W. Bush received in 2004, but more than McCain got in 2008.

Obama actually received fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008, but that only meant his margin of victory was smaller. A win’s a win and we’ve been forced to endure another four years of Obama-inspired disaster.

What will it take to make sure it doesn’t happen again with Hillary Clinton next year?

McLaughlin answers, “No matter who the Republican Party nominates in 2016, there’s a lot of work to be done trying to expand the GOP presidential electorate, whether by appealing to new, young voters, disenchanted Obama 2012 voters, evangelical Christians, working-class white Northerners/Midwesterners, or some other group.

“History suggests that the opportunity is real, and the task is achievable. The electorate is never set in stone, the battle never over. A clear message, and an appealing candidate who means what he or she says and stands for something and can explain what it is and why, is certainly an important asset in that process.”

In other words, no resume-based content-free Republican candidates whose best argument for winning the presidency is, “I’m not Hillary Clinton.” America needs a real leader who adheres to the limits set forth in the Constitution; someone who cares more about preserving individual freedoms rather than pursuing a personal agenda.

A person who knows the Constitution constrains governmental power rather than granting carte blanche to control every aspect of our lives.

A person who puts the People in charge of their own fortunes and destiny while getting government out of the way. There are a few candidates who meet the description in the Republican field this year. Will one of them end up the nominee? It’s up to all of us to make sure of it.

Fiorina’s niche is foreign policy

There’s little doubt Carly Fiorina has emerged as one of the compelling figures in the 2016 Republican presidential race. As a complete “outsider” with no experience in elected office and no national name recognition, she’s come quite far in being considered a top-tier candidate – at least after the first two debates.

Fiorina’s problem is she hasn’t been able to turn those stellar debate performances into enduring support (she’s currently at 3.5 percent in the Real Clear Politics average). In a crowded field full of talented competitors, Carly’s had trouble standing out for something other than her fierce attacks on President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s weak leadership in foreign policy.

But it’s there where she might have found her niche.

Marine Corps Veteran Kieran Michael Lalor writes in Real Clear Politics, “More than ever, the United States needs a commander-in-chief who will take up the mantle of leadership and set a clear course for our nation’s foreign policy. Carly Fiorina is the only candidate who comprehends the geopolitical context of the conflict and who maintains real relationships with world leaders. She is the only candidate I trust to negotiate in tough situations and take action on the global stage.

“No other candidate formulates and communicates clear foreign policy prescriptions like Carly Fiorina.”

To demonstrate his point, Lalor presents Fiorina’s work in helping lead two international aid organizations, Opportunity International and Good360. He also shared a Fiorina debate quote where she laid out specific details of where Obama has failed to comply with our Middle East allies’ requests for help in battling ISIS.

As an “outsider,” it’s tough to prove you’re capable in the sphere of foreign relations and military policy. It’s much easier for a senator or even a governor to show how he’s been involved with the issues and look intelligent in suggesting how to solve problems.

But unlike fellow outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson, Fiorina sounds right at home in discussing the situations overseas. In fact, she’s good at articulating just about everything. It’s a gift. She would be very useful in service to America.

If anything, Fiorina is weakest on domestic policy, where she’s had difficulty distinguishing herself from the rest of the field. Do we know what we’re getting if we hand over the keys to the Oval Office to Carly?

She’d be terrific in descending the stairs from Air Force One for a summit of world leaders or for a confrontation with Vladimir Putin, but what about the rest of the job? Can she be trusted to reduce the size of government because she believes it’s the right thing to do?

There is room for Fiorina to contribute in the next administration, but it’s looking more and more like it would be a specialized role. Wouldn’t she make a terrific Secretary of State?

Yet another thing to consider as we head towards the voting next year.

Cruz makes it a family affair

Finally today, there’s been a lot written about the Bushes and Clintons involved in yet another campaign, but there’s a more positive family presence on the trail this year that isn’t related to any kind of dynasty.

Katie Glueck of Politico reports, “To one degree or another, every candidate running for president has enlisted their family in their effort. But none has gone so far as Ted Cruz, whose surging campaign has placed his wife, Heidi, and father, Rafael, at the tip of the spear, leading fundraising and organizing efforts as if they were paid staffers.”

Donald Trump has also showcased his family at times, though as Glueck pointed out, Heidi and Rafael are essential elements of Ted’s operation.

In a country where the “first family” is often under the cultural microscope, the Cruz bunch seems like it would hold up well.

They’d also be a conservative contrast to the current group occupying the White House. I doubt you’d be seeing any multi-million dollar extravagant vacations on the tax payers’ dole, that’s for sure.

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