The Appeal of Ben Carson

CAROne of my least favorite journalism clich?s is what I like to call the trick lead. That?s the one where the crafty writer starts a piece by making you think he?s talking about one thing, when really he?s talking about another.

The well-liked vice president badly wanted to run, but everyone knew the boss was behind his anointed successor, and the party was closing ranks fast.

Joe Biden in 2015? No! It was Charles Fairbanks in 1908!

You know, that kind of thing.

But if I actually were the kind of writer who would begin today?s column with a trick lead, it would go something like this:

The political neophyte has now surged to the top of the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he?s defying the expectations of pundits and establishing himself as a serious threat for the Republican nomination.

Donald Trump? No! I?m talking about Ben Carson!

If you haven?t been paying close attention to the non-Trump Republican field this year ? maybe because it?s a little like studying a ?Where?s Waldo?? poster where everyone kind of looks like everyone else, except that no one is actually Waldo ? then let me enlighten you.

Carson is a flat-out genius (even if he doesn?t believe in evolution). Raised by a single mother in Detroit and educated at Yale, he went on to medical school and became, at 33, the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Not long after, he led a team of doctors in the first-ever operation to divide twins who were joined at the head. Then he turned the spelling bee world upside down by successfully implanting the brain of an Oxford professor in the skull of a fourth grader.

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