Over the course of his somehow amazingly still viable campaign for the Republican nomination, it’s become apparent that there are a few areas of study that Ben Carson needs some brushing up on: economics, legislating, foreign affairs, separation of church and state, and a general grasp of the laws of the physical dimension that humans inhabit to name a few. And now, with a missive sent out by his campaign on Tuesday, we can add remedial United States geography and graphic design skills to that ever-expanding catalog of deficiency.
Lending his voice to the growing chorus of governors who have pledged that they will not allow refugees from Syria to settle in their states, a matter that happens to be, you know, not under their jurisdiction, Carson released a graphic that illustrated, or attempted to anyway, the 31 states in question who’ve posted a No Syrians Need Apply sign in the state shop window.
“I am standing with the 31 Governors that are working to keep our nation safe,” the graphic read. Not exactly surprising, coming from someone looking to get in on some of that sweet post-tragedy xenophobia action. But there was one small problem: the map somehow managed to screw up the entire layout of New England. Granted, Republicans aren’t exactly known for their affinity for our finest and best geographic region, despite the fact that we did invent the damn country up here, so it’s possible that this was a sort of underhanded swipe at the good people of the northeast. Far more likely, however, is that no one on the campaign has any clue what they’re doing, and they’ve become so accustomed to every mistake or misstep Carson has made so far having no impact on his popularity that they don’t even really care anymore.
Still though, it takes a serious, concerted effort to screw up something so simple as a map of the country this badly. Take a look: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine? That’s not where those go. It looks like the work of a guy who knocked over a puzzle someone had spent days working on, then hastily tried to smash it back together before anyone noticed. And where are Alaska and Hawaii anyway? Maybe it’s a subtle warning about the perils of global climate change, which would be big, since that’s something Carson also doesn’t seem to understand. What else could explain New York state having that much coastline? Carson’s team has also generously ceded part of coastal Virginia to Maryland, which I’m sure plenty of residents of that area have long wished they could do anyway, so maybe no harm there.
It’s particularly poor timing for a blunder like this, following a report yesterday from the New York Times in which one of his own advisors admitted that the good doctor has no fucking idea what he’s talking about when it comes to foreign policy, and doesn’t seem interested in remedying that any time soon. “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” Duane R. Clarridge, a former CIA agent, and advisor to Carson on terrorism and national security said. Among other mistakes, Carson has suggested that China was involved in the conflict in Syria.
If you had told me before today that Carson couldn’t even find Syria on a map, I would’ve believed it. But to say the same thing about Vermont? Even that would’ve seemed like a stretch. Now, I’m not so sure.