Over the past week, GOP front-runner Ben Carson has found himself in the media crosshairs over apparent exaggerations and misstatements in his personal biography. His oft-stated claim that he received a full scholarship to West Point has been disproven. And questions about the credibility of an anecdote in his biography, “Gifted Hands,’’ that he once tried to stab a classmate, produced maybe the best headline of the 2016 presidential election so far: “Ben Carson Defends Himself Against Allegations That He Never Attempted to Murder a Child,” in New York magazine.
To be sure, a candidate who lies, exaggerates, and embellishes is reason for concern. But even if Carson were a serial fabricator, it would pale next to far loonier policy positions that he’s taken this election cycle.
Consider for a moment, Carson’s Greatest Hits:
■ Ben Carson wants to abolish Medicaid.
■ He thinks the current tax system should be replaced by a 10 percent flat tax modeled after the Biblical concept of “tithing” 10 percent of your income to God . . . or in this case, the federal government.
■ He supports a balanced budget amendment even though his tax plan would leave the government around $2.5 trillion short of funding the budget.
■ He opposes government regulation and thinks all government subsidies should be eliminated.
■ It doesn’t appear that he knows what the debt limit is.
■ He said Obamacare “is the worst thing that has happened (in America) since slavery.”
■ He has said that modern America is “very much like Nazi Germany” and “we live in a Gestapo age.”
■ He’s called President Obama a “psychopath.”
■ He opposes abortion in cases of rape incest, but he’s “open” to the possibility of allowing them in cases in which the life and health of the mother is at risk.
■ He once said that being gay is a “choice” and that people “go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay” (he’s walked this one back).
■ He thinks Muslim Americans should not become president.
■ He has said the best way to deal with mass shootings is to rush the shooter. And he thinks the Holocaust could have been prevented if German Jews had guns.
■ He wants to expand NATO — and thus America’s nuclear umbrella — to all the “former components” of the Soviet Union.
■ He is not opposed to a Palestinian state, but wonders why it needs “to be within the confines of Israeli territory. . . . Is that necessary, or can you sort of slip that area down into Egypt?”
■ Speaking of Egypt, he believes that the Pyramids were not ancient tombs, but buildings constructed to store grain.
In short, Carson’s statements are a clear indication that he is unqualified to be president of the United States. Perhaps as much attention should be paid to that as to whether he exaggerated about getting a scholarship from West Point.Michael Cohen’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @speechboy71.