Time Out For Carson To Sell Some Books!

Looking around the commentariat this morning, there are some good signs for Dr. Ben Carson. His recent deployment of Hitler analogies doesn’t seem to have created quite the media storm it probably deserved. A new national poll from Fox has him up in the 20s and only a point behind Donald Trump. The internals in that poll, as pointed out by WaPo’s Philip Bump, show Carson as the second-choice candidate of Trump voters if The Donald ever fades. There’s even a historical model for a Carson victory: at National Journal, Josh Kraushaar examines parallels between Dr. Ben’s campaign and that of Jimmy Carter back in 1976, and it’s not entirely ridiculous.

So what’s the news today from Team Carson itself? According to ABC’s Katherine Faulders, he’s suspending his campaign events for the next two weeks so he can go on a tour to hustle his new book! No, seriously:

Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.

The campaign has been careful to separate campaign events and the book tour, and doesn’t want to classify the tour as related to the campaign in any way.

This week he is catching up on fundraising events and will be back on his book tour next week making stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. So for the next two weeks, Carson won’t be appearing at any public “campaign events.”

Carson will be going back and forth between campaign fundraising events and book tour events over the next two weeks. His campaign says he has over 20 campaign fundraising events scheduled over that time period.

The campaign says the next time they will appear publicly with Carson will be the day of the next GOP debate on Oct. 28. His last public campaign event was Oct. 2.

If New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina were on the book tour itinerary, you might figure the “book tour” is just a campaign swing under another name, with the twist that Carson’s book profits are going into his own pocket rather than the campaign’s. It’s also possible Carson’s handlers think he’s a bit too “hot” in his public utterances of late, and want to get him out of the spotlight. But best I can tell, a lot of the inflammatory things he’s been saying are right out of his book.

However you slice it, this development is going to remind the chattering classes of 2012 candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, who were frequently accused of using their campaigns to sell books and videos and so forth. Indeed, most candidates release their “campaign books” either before or early in their candidacies, as appetizers, not ends in themselves. But maybe I’m just being “politically correct” in wondering what the doctor is up to.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.