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Cass R. Sunstein

Ben Carson's Odd Take on the Constitution

The Republican candidate's new book is far-fetched, but charming.
Constitutionally fuzzy.

Constitutionally fuzzy.

Photographer: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

So far as I know, no neurosurgeon has ever written a book about the U.S. Constitution. But then again, no neurosurgeon has ever made a serious run for the presidency. Combining personal graciousness and plain exposition with some wild right-wing clichés, Ben Carson’s slim volume tells us a lot about the sources of his appeal. Like the man himself, the book is not what you might expect.

Carson is unmistakably outraged by the direction in which the U. S. has been heading. “Our nation,” he writes, “is in such shambles that it appears that almost anyone could do a better job of execution than the current leaders.” It would have been easy for him to take the well-trodden path of those who share that view. Some popular books on the Constitution tell a terrifying tale of betrayal, in which Democrats (and President Barack Obama in particular) have run roughshod over the framers’ handiwork in order to create a kind of empire.