Run for the Money

By Bill Maher

Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign has revealed itself to be what we knew it was all along: a marketing campaign. The product being sold? Dr. Ben Carson.

Since Carson officially announced his presidential campaign last month, his campaign chairman, national finance chairman, deputy campaign manager and general counsel have all resigned, probably because they realized they weren’t running a campaign so much as an infomercial. According to The Washington Post, Carson’s operation is run by his old friend Armstrong Williams, who said of the departures, “Things happen, man. That’s the way life works. …Remember, we’re not a necessarily a group of political people.” And why would you be? It’s only a political campaign. 

Except that it isn’t. In recent disclosures viewed by the Wall Street Journal, Ben Carson revealed that over a recent 16-month period he’s earned between $8.9 million and $27 million, largely from selling books and giving paid speeches. Which is why he’s running for president – he’s taking the brand national. Right now he’s only making about $45,000 a speech. After he delivers a couple zingers in a Republican debate, like saying that the Obamas have inflamed racial tensions more than any cop ever has (seriously, that would kill with old white people), that speaking figure goes straight into the six figures. Goodbye, Holiday Inn function room. Hello, Sheraton function room.

We’ve seen these marketing campaigns before: Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump. Why do Republican keep falling for this? I mean, I’m going to enjoy the few weeks after Carson delivers a big line at a debate and skyrockets to the top of the polls, receives a couple magazine covers that say “President Carson?” and then we all have to pretend that this is an actual possibility. I can’t wait. But how are we supposed to take this process seriously when some people are still using it to make themselves rich?