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PENGUNGSI GUNUNG KELUD MULAI PULANG KE RUMAH
saco-indonesia.com, Meskipun masih berstatus awas, sebagian warga yang berdampak letusan Gunung Kelud sudah kembali pulang menin
saco-indonesia.com, Meskipun masih berstatus awas, sebagian warga yang berdampak letusan Gunung Kelud sudah kembali pulang meninggalkan posko pengungsian. Para warga telah meyakini, kondisi Gunung Kelud kini sudah aman dan tidak akan meletus kembali.
Saharjo yang berusia (47) tahun , salah satu warga Laharpang, Kecamatan Puncu, Kabupaten Kediri, ini juga mengaku tidak betah berlama-lama di pengungsian. Ia pun telah memutuskan untuk membawa istri dan tiga anaknya kembali ke rumah.
"Sudah aman mas, biasanya kalau Gunung Kelud itu meletus hanya sekali. Sesudahnya tidak akan ada letusan lagi," katanya, Selasa (18/2) .
Saharjo juga mengaku, jarak rumahnya dan Gunung Kelud sekitar 6 kilometer. Tentu saja hal itu telah masih mendapat larangan. Sebab radius amannya adalah 10 kilometer. "Yang lain sudah pada pulang soalnya. Habisnya kan harus beres-beres rumah," ucapnya.
Selain Sahrjo, Puji yang berusia (24) tahun juga mengaku sudah balik ke rumah sejak Minggu (16/2) malam lalu. Puji juga menjelaskan, ia diminta orangtuanya untuk membersihkan pasir yang telah menimbun pekarangan dan genteng rumah.
"Minggu udah pulang, disuruh sama orangtua buat beres-beres rumah. Sekarang keluarga sudah pulang semua. Habis kalau di pengungsian bosan," ucapnya.
hampir seluruh warga RT 4/2 Laharpang, Kecamatan Puncu, Kabupaten Kediri, telah terlihat sibuk melakukan perbaikan rumah-rumah yang hancur diterjang erupsi Gunung Kelud.
Namun demikian, warga Laharpang ini, masih membutuhkan bantuan berupa pakaian dan selimut lantaran barang-barang di dalam rumah tidak sempat diselamatkan pada saat gunung dengan tinggi 1.731 mdpl itu meletus.
Editor : Dian Sukmawati
GHAZWUL FIKRI (PERANG PEMIKIRAN)
Pengertian Ghazwul Fikri (GF)
Ø Secara Bahasa
terdiri dari dua suku kata yaitu Ghazwah d
A. Pengertian Ghazwul
Ø Secara Bahasa
terdiri dari dua suku kata yaitu Ghazwah dan Fikr. Ghazwah berarti
serangan, serbuan atau invansi. Sedangkan Fikr berarti pemikiran. Jadi, menurut bahasa
Ghazwul Fikri adalah serangan atau serbuan didalam qital (perang) atau Ghazwul Fikri
secara bahasa diartikan sebagai invansi pemikiran.
Ø Secara Istilah
Secara istilah, Ghazwul Fikri adalah penyerangan dengan
berbagai cara terhadap pemikiran umat islam guna merubah apa yang ada didalamnya sehingga tidak
lagi bisa mengeluarkan darinya hal – hal yang benar karena telah tercampur aduk dengan hal
– hal yang tidak islami.
B. Makna Invansi Pemikiran (Ghazwul Fikri
Invansi / serangan pemikiran atau dalam bahasa arab dinamakan ghazwul fikri
dan dalam bahasa inggris disebut dengan brain washing, thought control, menticide adalah
istilah yang menunjukkan kepada suatu program yang dirancang dan dilaksanakan secara sistematis
dan terstruktur oleh musuh – musuh islam untuk melakukan pendangkalan pemikiran dan cuci
otak kepada kaum muslimin. Hal ini mereka lakukan agar kaum muslimin tunduk dan mengikuti cara
hidup mereka sehingga melanggengkan kepentingan mereka untuk menjajah / mengeksploitasi sumber
daya milik kaum muslimin.
C. Kelebihan – Kelebihan Invansi
Pemikiran (Ghazwul Fikri (GF))
Invansi pemikiran atau ghazwul
fikri (GF) dilakukan oleh para musuh islam dengan pertimbangan – pertimbangan bahwa
dibandingkan dengan melakukan peperangan militer atau fisik, maka ghazwul fikri (GF)
memiliki kelebihan – kelebihan sebagai berikut :
Murah dan dikembalikan
Terbatas di front
Sampai ke rumah - rumah
Sama sekali tidak merasa
Slogan, teori, iklan
D. Sejarah Ghazwul Fikri (GF)
Sejarah Ghazwul Fikri (GF) sudah ada setua umur manusia, makhluk yang pertama
kali melakukannya adalah iblis laknatullah ketika berkata kepada Adam as., “
Sesungguhnya Allah melarang kalian memakan buah ini supaya kalian berdua tidak menjadi
malaikat dan tidak dapat hidup abadi. “ (Q.S.Al –
Dalam perkataannya ini iblis
tidak menyatakan bahwa Allah tidak melarang kalian…karena itu akan bertentangan dengan
informasi yang telah diterima oleh Adam as., tetapi iblis mengemas dan menyimpangkan makna
perintah Allah SWT. Sesuai dengan keinginannya, yaitu dengan menambahkan alas an pelarangan Allah
yang dibuat sendiri. Iblis tahu bahwa Adam as tidak punya pengetahuan tentang sebab tersebut.
Demikianlah para murid – murid iblis dimasa kini selalu berusaha melakukan ghazwul
fikri dengan menyimpangkan fakta dan informasi yang ada sesuai dengan maksud jahatnya. Setan
melakukannya dengan cara yang sangat halus dan licin. Akibatnya, hanya orang – orang yang
dirahmati Allah SWT yang mampu mengetahuinya.
Bidang – Bidang Yang di serang
Pendidikan adalah aspek penting yang menentukan maju atau mundurnya
suatu bangsa. Oleh sebab itu, bidang pendidikan merupakan target utama dari ghazwul fikri
(GF). Ghazwul fikri (GF) yang dilakukan dibidang pendidikan, diantaranya dengan
membuat sedikitnya porsi pendidikan agama di sekolah – sekolah umum (hanya 2 jam
Hal ini berdampak fatal pada fondasi agama yang
dimiliki oleh para siswa. Dengan lemahnya basis agama mereka, maka terjadilah tawuran, seks bebas
pelajar yang meningkatkan AIDS, penyalahgunaan narkoba, vandalism, dan sebagaimananya. Ini adalah
dampak jangka pendek.
Sedangkan dampak jangka panjangnya
lebih berbahaya, yaitu rendahnya kualitas pemahaman agama para calon pemimpin bangsa dimasa
depan. Ghazwul fikri (GF) lainnya dibidang ini adalah pada teknis belajarnya yang campur
baur antara pria dan wanita yang jelas tidak sesuai dan banyak menimbulkan pelanggaran terhadap
Sejarah yang diajarkan perlu ditinjau ulang dan
disesuaikan dengan semangat islam. Materi tentang sejarah dunia dan ilmu pengetahuan telah
ghazwul fikri (GF) habis – habisan sehingga hamper tidak ditemui sama sekali
pemaparan tentang sejarah para ilmuan islam dan sumbangannya dalam perkembangan ilmu
Dalam sejarah yang dibahas hanyalah ilmuan
kafir yang pada akhirnya membuat generasi muda menjadi silau dengan tokoh – tokoh kafir dan
minder terhadap sejarahnya sendiri. Ketika berbicara tentang sejarah islam, di benak mereka
hanyalah terbayang sejarah peperangan dengan pedang dan darah sebagaimana yang selalu digambarkan
dalam kaca mata barat.
Hal ini lebih diperparah dengan
sejarah nasional dan penamaan perguruan tinggi, gedung – gedung, perlambangan, penghargaan
dan pusat ilmu lainnya dengan bahasa Hindu Sanksekerta, sehinga semakin hilanglah mutiara
kegemilangan islam dihati para generasi muda.
fikri (GF) yang terjadi dibidang ekonomi adalah konsekuensi dari motto ekonomi yaitu,
mencari keuntungan sebesar – besarnya dengan pengorbanan sekecil – kecilnya. Ketika
motto ini ditelan habis – habisan tanpa dilakukan filterisasi, maka tidak lagi
memperhatikan halal atau haram, yang penting adalah bagaimana supaya untung sebesar –
Hal lain yang perlu dicermati dalam system
ekonomi kapitalisme, yaitu monopoli, riba dan pemihakan elit kepada para konglomerat. Mengenai
monopoli sudah tidak perlu dibahas lagi, cukup jika dikatakan bahwa Amerika Serikat sendiri telah
diberlakukan UU anti – trust (bagaimana di Indonesia?). Tentang riba dan haramnya
bunga bank rasanya bukan pada tempatnya jika dibahas disini, cukup dikatakan bahwa munculnya dan
berkembangnya bank tanpa bunga (bagi hasil), fatwa MUI, fatwa Universita Al Azhar Mesir,
kesepakatan para ulama islam dunia membuktikan bahaya bunga bank dan haramnya dalam islam.
Tentang keberpihakan kepada para konglomerat, semoga dengan perkembangan era reformasi saat ini
4. Ilmu Alam dan Sosial
Pada bidang ilmu
– ilmu alam, ghazwul fikrii terbesar yang dilakukan adlah dengan dilakukannya
sekularisasi antara ilmu pengetahuan dengan ilmu agama. Bahaya lainnya adalah penisbatan teori
– teori ilmu pengetahuan kepada para ilmuan tanpa mengembalikannya kepada sang pemberi dan
pemilik ilmu, sehingga mengakibatkan kekaguman dan pujian hanya berhenti pada diri para ilmuwan
dan tidak bermuara kepada Allah SWT.
Hal lain adalah
berkembangnya berbagai teori – teori sesaat yang sebenarnya belum diterima secara ilmiah,
tetapi disebarkan secara besar – besaran oleh kelompok – kelompok tertentu untuk
menimbulkan keraguan pada agama. Misalnya, teori tentang asal usul makhluk hidup (the origins
of species) dari Darwin (yang sebenarnya merupakan kelanjutan dari penemuan Herbert Spencer)
yang sebenarnya masih ada the missing link yang belum dapat menghubungkan antara manusia
dank era, tapi sudah “ diindoktrinasikan “ kemana – mana. Atau, teori Libido
seksualnya Freud, yang menyatakan bahwa jika manusia tidak dibebaskan sebebas – bebasnya
keinginan seksualnya akan mengakibatkan terjadinya gangguan kejiwaan. Teori ini sudah dibantah
secara ilmiah dan pencetusnya sendiri (Freud) yang terus menggembar – gemborkan kebebasan
seksual, ternyata mati karena menderita penyakit kejiwaan (psikopath).
Ghazwul fikri (GF) dibidang bahasa adalah dengantidak
diajarkannya bahasa Al – Qur’an di sekolah – sekolah karena menganggapnya tidak
perlu. Hal yang nampaknya remeh ini sebenarnya sanagt besar akibatnya dan menjadi bencana bagi
kaum muslimin Indonesia secara umum. Dengan tidak memahami Al – Qur’an, mayoritas
kaum muslimin menjadi tidak mengerti apa kandungan Al – Qur’an, seperti firman Allah
dalam surah Al Baqarah:78 artinya “ Dan diantara mereka ada yang buta
huruf, tidak mengetahui Al – Kitab (taurat), kecuali dongengan bohong belaka dan mereka
hanya menduga – duga “. Akibatnya, Al – Qur’an menjadi sekedar
bacaan tanpa arti (Al – Qur’an hanya dinikmati iramanya seperti layaknya lagu –
lagu dan nyayian belaka, yang akhirnya ditinggalkan seperti yang disebutkan dalam surah
Al Furqaan:30 yang artinya “ Berkata Rasul : Ya tuhanku, sesungguhnya
kaumku menjadikan Al – Qur’an ini suatu yang tidak diacuhkan “ dan surah
Al Furqaan:31 yang artinya “ Dan seperti itulah, setelah kami adakan
bagi tiap – tiap nabi, musuh dari orang – orang yang berdosa dan cukuplah Tuhanmu
menjadi pemberi petunjuk dan penolong. “)
Dampak lain dari kebodohan terhadap bahasa Al – Qur’an adalah terputusnya
hubungan kaum muslimin dengan perbendaharaan ilmu – ilmu keislaman yang telah disusun dan
dibukukan selama hamper 1000 tahun oleh para pakar dan ilmuwan islam terdahulu yang jumlahnya
mencapai jutaan judul buku, mencakup bidang – bidang akidah, tafsir, hadist, fiqih, sirah,
tarikh, ulumul qur’an, tazkiyyah dan sebagainya.
Ghazwul fikri (GF) pada aspek hukum adalah penggunaan acuan hukum warisan
kolonial yang masih dipertahankan sebagai hukum yang berlaku, reduksi, dan penghapusan hukum
Allah SWT dan Rasul – Nya. Rasa takut dan alergi terhadap segala yang berbau syariat islam
merupakan keberhasilan ghazwul fikri (GF) dibidang ini. Penggambaran potong tangan bagi
pencuri dan rajam bagi penzina selalu ditonjolkan saat pembicaraan – pembicaraan tentang
kemungkinan adopsi terhadap beberapa hukum islam. Mereka melupakan bahwa hukum islam berpihak
(melindungi) korban kejahatan, sehingga hukuman keras dijatuhkan kepada pelaku kejahatan agar
perbuatannya tidak terulang dan orang lain takut untuk berbuat yang sama.
Sebaliknya, hukum barat berpihak (melindungi) pelaku kejahatan, sehingga
dengan hukuman tersebut memungkinkannya untuk mengulang lagi kejahatannya karena ringannya
hukuman tersebut. Laporan menunjukkan bahwa tingkat perkosaan yang terjadi di Kanada selama
sehari sama dengan kejahatan yang sama di Kuwait selama 12 tahun, bahkan pooling yang
dilakukan di masyarakat Amerika Serikat menunjukkan bahwa 1 dari 3 masyarakat Amerika Serikat
menyetujui dijatuhkannya hukuman mati untuk pemerkosa.
7. Pengiriman pelajar dan mahasiswa ke
Ghazwul fikri (GF) dibidang ini
terjadi dalam dua aspek, yaitu : Brain drain dan Brain Washing. Brain
drain adalah pelarian para intelektual dari negara – negara islam ke negara –
negara maju karena insentif yang lebih besar dan fasilitas hidup yang lebih mewah bagi para
pekerja disana. Hal ini menyebabkan lambatnya pembangunan di negara – negara islam dan
semakin cepatnya kemajuan di negara – negara barat.
Data penelitian tahun 1996 menyebutkan bahwa perbandingan SDM bergelar doctor (S3) di
Indonesia baru 60 per sejuta penduduk, di Amerika Serikat dan Eropa antara 2500 – 3000
orang per sejuta, dan di Israel mencapai 16.000 per sejuta penduduk.
Sementara brain washing (cuci otak) dialami oleh para
intelektual yang sebagian besar berangkat ke negara – negara barat tanpa dibekali dengan
dasar – dasar keislaman yang cukup. Akibatnya, mereka pulang dengan membawa pola piker dan
perilaku yang bertentangan dengan nilai – nilai islam. Bahkan secara sadar atau tidak,
mereka ikut andil dalam membantu melanggengkan kepentingan barat dinegara mereka.
8. Media massa
Berbicara mengenai ghazwul fikri (GF) yang terjadi dalam
media massa, maka dapat dipilah pada aspek – aspek sebagai berikut :
· Aspek kehadirannya
Terjadinya perubahan penjadwalan kegiatan sehari – hari dalam keluarga muslim,
missal TV. Dulu selepas maghrib, anak – anak biasanya mengaji dan belajar agama. Sekarang,
selepas maghrib anak – anak menonton acara – acara TV yang kebanyakan merusak dan
tidak bermanfaat. Sementara bagi para remaja dan orang tua dibandingkan dating ke pengajian dan
majlis – majlis taklim, mereka lebih senang menghabiskan waktunya dengan menonton TV.
Sebenarnya TV dapat menjadi srana dakwah yang luar biasa
(sesuai dengan teori komunikasi yang menyatkan bahwa media audio – visual memiliki pengaruh
yang tertinggi dalam membentuk kepribadian baik pada tingkat individu maupun masyarakat) asal
dikemas dan dirancang sesuai dengan nilai – nilai islam.
· Aspek isinya
Berbicara mengenai isi
yang ditampilkan oleh media massa yang merupakan produk ghazwul fikri (GF) diantaranya
adalah mengenai penokohan – penokohan atau orang – orang yang diidolakan. Media massa
yang ada tidak berusaha ikut mendidik bangsa dan masyarakat dengan menokohkan para ulama,
ilmuwan, dan orang – orang yang dapat mendorong membangun bangsa agar mencapai kemajuan
IMTAK dan IPTEK sebagaimana yang digembar – gemborkan. Tetapi sebaliknya, justru tokoh yang
terus menerus diekspos dan ditampilkan adalah para selebriti yang menjalankan gaya hidup borjuis,
menghambur – hamburkan uang (tabdzir), jauh dari memiliki IPTEK apalagi nilai
– nilai agama.
Hal ini jelas besar dampaknya pada
generasi muda dalam memilih dan menentukan gaya hidup, cita – citanya dan tentunya pada
kualitas bangsa dan Negara. Rpoduk lain dari ghazwul fikri (GF) yang menonjol dalam
media TV, misalnya porsi film – film islami yang dapat dikatakan tidak ada. Film yang
diputar 90% adalah film bergaya barat, sisanya adalah film nasional (yang juga bergaya barat),
film – film mandarin, dan film – film india.
dilakukannya Invansi Pemikiran (Ghazwul Fikri (GF))
Sasaran dari ghazwul
fikri (GF) adalah sebagai berikut :
1. Agar kaum
muslimin menjadi condong sedikit terhadap gaya, perilaku dan pola pikir barat, seperti dalam
Q.S. Al Israa:73 yang artinya “ Dan sesungguhnya mereka hampir
memalingkan kamu dari apa yang telah kami wahyukan kepadamu, agar kamu membuat yang lain secara
bohong terhadap kami, dan kalau sudah begitu tentulah mereka mengambil kamu jadi sahabat yang
setia. “ Q.S. Al Israa:74 yang artinya “ Dan kalau kami
tidak memperkuatkan (hati)mu, niscaya kamu hampir condong sedikit kepada mereka.”
Q.S. Al Israa:75 yang artinya “ Kalau terjadi demikian, benar –
benarlah kami akan rasakan kepadamu (siksaan) berlipat – lipat ganda didunia ini dan begitu
(pula siksaan) berlipat ganda sesudah mati, dan kamu tidak akan mendapat seorang penolongpun
terhadap kami.” Dan Q.S.Al Israa:76 yang artinya “ Dan
sesungguhnya benar – benar mereka hamper membuatmu gelisah di negeri (mekah) untuk
mengusirmu daripadanya dan kalau terjadi demikian, niscaya sepeninggalmu mereka tidak tinggal
2. Setelah kaum muslimin
condong sedikit, tahapan selanjutnya adalah agar kaum muslimin mengikuti sebagian dari gaya,
perilaku dan pola pikir mereka. Sebagaimana disebutkan dalam Q.S.Ad Dukhan:25
yang artinya “ Alangkah banyaknya taman dan mata air yang mereka
tinggalkan.” Dan Q.S.Ad Dukhan:26 yang artinya “ Dan kebun
– kebun serta tempat – tempat yang indah – indah.”
3. Pada tahap ini diharapkan kaum muslimin beriman pada sebagiannya ayat
– ayat Al – Qur’an dan Hadist Rasulullah SAW, tetapi kafir terhadap sebagian
yang lainnya. Sebagaimana dalam Q.S.Al Baqarah:85 yang artinya “
Kemudian kamu (bani israil) membunuh dirimu (saudaramu sebangsa) dan mengusir segolongan dari
pada kamu dari kampong halaman. Kamu bantu membantu terhadap mereka dengan membuat dosa dan
permusuhan tetapi jika mereka dating kepadamu sebagai tawanan, kamu tebus mereka. Padahal
mengusir itu (juga) terlarang bagimu. Apakah kamu beriman pada sebagian Al Kitab(taurat) dan
ingkar terhadap sebagian yang lain? Tiadalah balasan bagi orang yang berbuat demikian dari
padamu, melainkan kenistaan dalam kehidupan dunia, dan pada hari kiamat mereka dikembalikan
kepada siksa yang sangat berat, Allah tidak lengah dari apa yang kamu perbuat.”
4. Pada tahap akhir, mereka menginginkan agar generasi kaum
muslimin mengikuti syahwat dan meninggalkan shalat. Sebagaimana dalam Q.S.Maryam:59
yang artinya “ Maka datanglah sesudah mereka, pengganti (yang jelek) yang
menyia – nyiakan shalat dan memperturutkan hawa nafsu, maka mereka akan menemui
G. Tujuan Ghazwul Fikri (GF)
1. Menghambat kemajuan
umat islam agar tetap menjadi pengekor barat. Berbagai macam pendapat nyeleneh yang ditebarkan
para orientalis lewat media cetak dan elektronik berhasil menyita perhatian umat islam dan
mengetuk sebagian besar potensinya,baik untuk melakukan kajian, bantahan dan pelurusan.
2. Menjauhkan umat islam dari Al – Qur’an dan As
Sunnah serta ajaran – ajarannya. Dengan keraguan – raguan dan penyesatan terhadap
umat islam, ghazwul fikri (GF) menyeret orang – orang awam ke jurang yang
memisahkan mereka dari keislaman – Nya. Bahkan ada sebagian yang keluar dari islam dan
berpindah ke agama lain.
3. Memurtadkan umat islam. Inilah
yang digambarkan Al – Qur’an dalam Surah Al Baqarah:217 yang artinya
“ Mereka tidak henti – hentinya memerangi kamu sampai mereka (dapat)
mengembalikan kamu dari agamamu (kepada kekafiran), seandainya mereka sanggup. Barangsiapa yang
murtad diantara kamu dari agamanya, lalu dia mati dalam kekafiran, maka mereka itulah sia –
sia amalannya di dunia dan akhirat, dan mereka itulah penghuni neraka, mereka kekal
Dampak Positif dan Negatif Gahzwul Fikri (GF)
Ø Dampak Positif
dari Ghazwul Fikri (GF)
Kemajuan ilmu pengetahuan dan
teknologi yang mempermudah memberikan pekerjaan pada manusia yang ada di Negara ini.
Ø Dampak Negatif dari Ghazwul Fikri (GF)
- Perusakan akhlak umat islam terutama yang masih berusia muda.
- Berusaha menggiring umat islam kepada kekafiran, khususnya umat
islam yang tipis pemahaman keislamannya.
- Menjauhkan umat islam dari agamanya dan
mendekatkannya pada kekafiran.
* tentang ini saya
meempunyai pertanyaan : bolehkah Islam Menggunakan Cara Ini Untuk Mengebngkan Islam?
kepada pembaca yang budiman, mohon jawabannya melalui komentar.
Tribute for a Roller Hockey Warrior
Hockey is not exactly known as a city game, but played on roller skates, it once held sway as the sport of choice in many New York neighborhoods.
“City kids had no rinks, no ice, but they would do anything to play hockey,” said Edward Moffett, former director of the Long Island City Y.M.C.A. Roller Hockey League, in Queens, whose games were played in city playgrounds going back to the 1940s.
One street legend from the heyday of New York roller hockey was Craig Allen, who lived in the Woodside Houses projects and became one of the city’s hardest hitters and top scorers.
“Craig was a warrior, one of the best roller hockey players in the city in the ’70s,” said Dave Garmendia, 60, a retired New York police officer who grew up playing with Mr. Allen. “His teammates loved him and his opponents feared him.”
Young Craig took up hockey on the streets of Queens in the 1960s, playing pickup games between sewer covers, wearing steel-wheeled skates clamped onto school shoes and using a roll of electrical tape as the puck.
His skill and ferocity drew attention, Mr. Garmendia said, but so did his skin color. He was black, in a sport made up almost entirely by white players.
“Roller hockey was a white kid’s game, plain and simple, but Craig broke the color barrier,” Mr. Garmendia said. “We used to say Craig did more for race relations than the N.A.A.C.P.”
Mr. Allen went on to coach and referee roller hockey in New York before moving several years ago to South Carolina. But he continued to organize an annual alumni game at Dutch Kills Playground in Long Island City, the same site that held the local championship games.
The reunion this year was on Saturday, but Mr. Allen never made it. On April 26, just before boarding the bus to New York, he died of an asthma attack at age 61.
Word of his death spread rapidly among hundreds of his old hockey colleagues who resolved to continue with the event, now renamed the Craig Allen Memorial Roller Hockey Reunion.
The turnout on Saturday was the largest ever, with players pulling on their old equipment, choosing sides and taking once again to the rink of cracked blacktop with faded lines and circles. They wore no helmets, although one player wore a fedora.
Another, Vinnie Juliano, 77, of Long Island City, wore his hearing aids, along with his 50-year-old taped-up quads, or four-wheeled skates with a leather boot. Many players here never converted to in-line skates, and neither did Mr. Allen, whose photograph appeared on a poster hanging behind the players’ bench.
“I’m seeing people walking by wondering why all these rusty, grizzly old guys are here playing hockey,” one player, Tommy Dominguez, said. “We’re here for Craig, and let me tell you, these old guys still play hard.”
Everyone seemed to have a Craig Allen story, from his earliest teams at Public School 151 to the Bryant Rangers, the Woodside Wings, the Woodside Blues and more.
Mr. Allen, who became a yellow-cab driver, was always recruiting new talent. He gained the nickname Cabby for his habit of stopping at playgrounds all over the city to scout players.
Teams were organized around neighborhoods and churches, and often sponsored by local bars. Mr. Allen, for one, played for bars, including Garry Owen’s and on the Fiddler’s Green Jokers team in Inwood, Manhattan.
Play was tough and fights were frequent.
“We were basically street gangs on skates,” said Steve Rogg, 56, a mail clerk who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and who on Saturday wore his Riedell Classic quads from 1972. “If another team caught up with you the night before a game, they tossed you a beating so you couldn’t play the next day.”
Mr. Garmendia said Mr. Allen’s skin color provoked many fights.
“When we’d go to some ignorant neighborhoods, a lot of players would use slurs,” Mr. Garmendia said, recalling a game in Ozone Park, Queens, where local fans parked motorcycles in a lineup next to the blacktop and taunted Mr. Allen. Mr. Garmendia said he checked a player into the motorcycles, “and the bikes went down like dominoes, which started a serious brawl.”
A group of fans at a game in Brooklyn once stuck a pole through the rink fence as Mr. Allen skated by and broke his jaw, Mr. Garmendia said, adding that carloads of reinforcements soon arrived to defend Mr. Allen.
And at another racially incited brawl, the police responded with six patrol cars and a helicopter.
Before play began on Saturday, the players gathered at center rink to honor Mr. Allen. Billy Barnwell, 59, of Woodside, recalled once how an all-white, all-star squad snubbed Mr. Allen by playing him third string. He scored seven goals in the first game and made first string immediately.
“He’d always hear racial stuff before the game, and I’d ask him, ‘How do you put up with that?’” Mr. Barnwell recalled. “Craig would say, ‘We’ll take care of it,’ and by the end of the game, he’d win guys over. They’d say, ‘This guy’s good.’”
Ben Carson Says Hell Seek 2016 G.O.P. Nomination
ate in February, Dr. Ben Carson, the celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon turned political insurrectionist, was trying to check off another box on his presidential-campaign to-do list: hiring a press secretary. The lead prospect, a public-relations specialist named Deana Bass, had come to meet him at the dimly lit Capitol Hill office of Carson’s confidant and business manager, Armstrong Williams. Carson sat back and scrutinized her from behind a small granite table, as life-size cardboard cutouts of more conventional politicians — President Obama, with a tight smile, and Senator John McCain, glowering — loomed behind each of his shoulders. (The mock $3 bill someone had left on a table in Williams’s waiting room undercut any notion that this was a bipartisan zone; it featured Obama wearing a turban.)
Bass seemed momentarily speechless, and not just because no one had warned her that a New York Times reporter would be sitting in on her job interview. Though she knew Williams — a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur who owns several television stations and a public-affairs business and who hosts a daily talk-radio show — through Washington’s small circle of black conservatives, the two hadn’t spoken in years until he called her two days earlier. He had been struggling to come up with the perfect national spokesperson, he told her. Then, at the gym, her name popped into his head; Williams was fairly certain she was the one. Sitting across from a likely candidate for president, Bass was adjusting to the idea that her life might be about to take a sudden chaotic turn.
“It’s like getting the most random call on a Monday that you simply do not see coming,” she said. “Oftentimes, that is how the Lord works.”
Carson concurred: “It’s always how he works in my life.” Carson is soft-spoken and often talks with his eyes half closed, frequently punctuating his sentences with a small laugh, even if the humor of his statement is not readily apparent. Bass told Carson that she had been a Republican staff member on Capitol Hill then worked for the Republican National Committee. In 2007 she started a Christian public-relations firm with her sister. She enjoyed working on the Hill, she said, but the pay wasn’t as high as the hours were long. “We figured that we worked like slaves for other people, and we wanted to work for ourselves.”
Carson stopped her. “You know you can’t mention that word, right?” Carson waited a beat, then laughed, and Williams and Bass joined in. He was getting to the point; he needed a professional who could help him check his penchant for creating uncontrolled controversy just by talking.
The Ben Carson movement began in 2013, when Carson, a neurosurgeon, whose operating-room prowess and up-from-poverty back story had made him the subject of a television movie and a regular on the inspirational-speaking circuit, was invited to address the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. With Barack Obama sitting just two seats away, Carson warned that “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” could destroy America just as it did ancient Rome. He proposed a substitute for Obamacare — Health Savings Accounts, which, he said, would end any talk of “death panels” — and a flat-tax based on the concept of tithing. His address, combined with the president’s stony reaction, was a smash with Republican activists. Speaking and interview requests flooded in. Carson, then 61, announced his planned retirement a few weeks later, freeing his calendar to accept just about all of them. In the months that followed, his rhetoric became increasingly strident. The claim that drew the most attention, perhaps, was that Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
Bass’s own use of the word prompted Carson to ask her what she thought about that incident. She considered for a moment.
“If you want to reach people and have them even understand what you’re saying, there is a way to do it, without that hyperbole, that might be. . . . ” She paused. “I just think it’s important not to shut people off before they —”
Carson jumped in. “That doesn’t allow them to hear what you’re saying?”
Likening Obamacare to slavery — and slavery was incomparably worse, Carson said — had its political advantages for a candidacy like his. It was the kind of statement that stoked the angriest of the Republican voters: conservative stalwarts who can’t hear enough bad things about Obama. This, in turn, led to more talk-radio and Fox News appearances, more book sales, more donations to the super PAC started in his name, more support in the polls. (The day before the meeting, one poll of Republican voters showed Carson statistically tied for first place with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.)
Rhetorical excess was good for business, but Carson now wants to be seen as more than a novelty candidate. He has come to learn that such extreme analogies, while true to his views, aren’t especially presidential. They alienate more moderate voters and, perhaps even more damaging, reinforce the impression that he is not “serious” — that he is another Herman Cain, the black former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive who rose to the top of the early presidential polls in 2011 but then bowed out before the Iowa caucuses, largely because of leaked allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied but from which he never recovered. Cain lingers as a cautionary tale for the party as much as for a right-leaning candidate like Carson. The fact that Cain, with his folksy sayings (“shucky ducky”) and misnomers (“Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”), reached the top of the national polls — much less that he was eventually followed there by the likes of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who all topped one or another poll in the 2012 primary season — wound up being a considerable embarrassment for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, and for the longtime party regulars who were trying to fast-track his way to the nomination.
Carson liked Bass and, without directly saying so, made it clear the job was hers for the taking. Carson’s campaign chairman, Terry Giles — a white lawyer whose clients have included the comedian Richard Pryor and the stepson of the model Anna Nicole Smith and who helped reconcile the business interests of the descendants of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — had assembled a mostly white campaign team, including many from the 2012 Gingrich effort, and Carson wanted a person of color to speak for him. Bass said she would have to mull it over, pray about it. Carson nodded approvingly. “Pray about it,” he said. “See what you think.”
Williams knew the party was intent on protecting the eventual 2016 nominee from the same embarrassment Romney suffered. Already, suspiciously tough articles about Carson were showing up in conservative magazines and on right-wing websites. “They’re protecting these establishment candidates,” Williams said. “This is coming from within the house. This is family.” At the very least, he wanted to make sure that Carson didn’t do their work for them. (Carson would commit another unforced error a week later, when he told CNN that homosexuality was clearly a choice, because a lot of people go in prison straight and “when they come out, they’re gay”; he later apologized.)
“We need somebody to protect him, sometimes, from himself,” he told Bass — laughing, but only half kidding.
A candidacy like Carson’s presents a new kind of problem to the establishment wing of the G.O.P., which, at least since 1980, has selected its presidential nominees with a routine efficiency that Democrats could only envy. The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.
This insurgent attitude was helped along by changes in the nomination rules. In 2010, the Republican National Committee, hoping to capture the excitement of the coast-to-coast Democratic primary competition between Obama and Hillary Clinton, introduced new voting rules that required many of the early voting states to award some delegates to losing candidates, based on their shares of the vote. The proportional voting rules would encourage struggling candidates to stay in the primaries even after successive losses, as Clinton did, because they might be able to pull together enough delegates to take the nomination in a convention-floor fight or at least use them to bargain for a prime speaking slot or cabinet post.
This shift in incentives did not go unnoticed by potential 2012 candidates, nor did changes in election law that allowed billionaire donors to form super PACs in support of pet candidacies. At the same time, increasingly widespread broadband Internet access allowed candidates to reach supporters directly with video and email appeals and supporters to send money with the tap of a smartphone, making it easier than ever for individual candidates to ignore the wishes of the party.
Into this newly chaotic Republican landscape strode Mitt Romney. There could be no doubt that it was his turn, and yet his journey to the nomination was interrupted by one against-the-odds challenger after another — Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul; always Ron Paul. It was easy to dismiss the 2012 primaries as a meaningless circus, but the onslaught did much more than tarnish the overall Republican brand. It also forced Romney to spend money he could have used against Obama and defend his right flank with embarrassing pandering that shadowed him through the general election. It was while trying to block a surge from Gingrich, for instance, that Romney told a debate audience that he was for the “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants.
At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight. They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.
At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)
Grass-roots activists have complained that the condensed schedule robs nonestablishment candidates — “movement candidates” like Carson — of the extra time they need to build momentum, money and organizations. But Priebus, who says the nomination could be close to settled by April, said it helped all the party’s constituencies when the nominee was decided quickly. “We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”
All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.
Giles says his candidate can capitalize on all that chaos. Rivals may laugh, but Giles argues that if Carson can make a respectable showing in Iowa, then win in South Carolina — or at least come in second should a home-state senator, Lindsey Graham, run — and come in second behind Bush or Senator Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida, he could be positioned to make a real run. But that would depend on avoiding pitfalls like Carson’s ill-considered comments on homosexuality. Rather than capitalizing on the chaos, Carson may only contribute to it.
Ben Carson is, in many ways, the ideal Republican presidential candidate. With a not-too-selective reading of his life story, conservative voters can — and do — see in him an inspiring, up-from-nowhere African-American who shares their beliefs, a right-wing answer to Barack Obama. Before he was born, his parents moved to Detroit from rural Tennessee as part of the second great migration. His father, Robert Solomon Carson, worked at a Cadillac factory. His mother, Sonya — who herself had grown up as one of 24 children and left school at third grade — cleaned houses. When Carson was 8, Sonya discovered that Robert was keeping a second family. She moved, with her two sons, into a rundown group house. It was in a part of town that Carson described to me as crawling with “big rats and roaches and all kinds of horrible things.” Sonya worked several jobs at a time and made up the shortfall with food stamps. (Carson has called for paring back the social safety net but not doing away with it.)
Carson recounts this story in his best-selling 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” which also became the basis for a 2009 movie on TNT, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson. Raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, Carson realized that he wanted to become a physician during a church sermon about a missionary doctor who, while serving overseas, was almost attacked by thieves but found safety by putting his faith in God. When Carson, then 8, told his mother his new dream, “She said, ‘Absolutely, you could do it, you could do anything,’ ” he told me. Forced by his mother to read two extra books a week, he made it to Yale, then to medical school at the University of Michigan, where he decided to specialize in neurosurgery. He was selected for residency at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at 33, becoming the youngest person, and the first black person, to hold the title. He drew national attention by conducting a succession of operations that had never been performed successfully, most famously planning and managing the first separation of conjoined twins connected through major blood vessels in the brain.
Carson, a two-time Jimmy Carter voter, traces his conservative political awakening to a patient he met during the Reagan years. During a routine obstetrics rotation, he found himself treating an unwed pregnant teenager who had run away from her well-to-do parents. When Carson asked her how she was getting by, she informed him she was on public assistance; this led him to ponder the fact that the government was paying for the result of what he did not view as a “wise decision.” The incident, he says, fed his growing sense that the welfare system too often saps motivation and rewards irresponsible behavior. (When we spoke, he suggested that the government should cut off assistance to would-be unwed mothers, but only after warning them that it would do so within a certain amount of time, say five years. “I bet you’d see a dramatic decrease in unwed motherhood.”)
Carson’s friends at Hopkins say they do not remember him being particularly outspoken about his conservatism. He devoted most of his public engagement to urging poor kids in bad neighborhoods to use “these fancy brains God gave us,” through weekly school visits, student hospital tours and, ultimately, a multimillion-dollar scholarship program. “His issues were always medical care for the poor, education for the poor, equal opportunity — helping the less fortunate and really inspiring them as an example,” a mentor who named him to the chief pediatrics-neurosurgery post at Hopkins, Dr. Donlin Long, told me.
Even when Carson got the chance, in 1997, to speak in front of President Bill Clinton, at the national prayer breakfast, he mostly discussed the lack of role models for black children who were not sports stars or rappers. (There was possibly an oblique reference to Clinton’s sex scandals, when he told the audience that, if they are always honest, they won’t have to worry later about “skeletons in the closet.”)
In 2011, Carson’s politics took a strident turn, mirroring that of many in his party during the Obama years. “America the Beautiful,” his sixth book, which he wrote with Candy Carson, his wife of 39 years, included a get-tough-on-illegal-immigration message and offered anti-establishment praise for the Tea Party. It suggested that blacks who voted for Obama only because he was black were themselves practicing a form of racism. (Earlier this year he admitted to Buzzfeed that portions of the book were lifted directly from several sources without proper attribution.) His prayer-breakfast performance in 2013, and the extremity of his remarks in the months afterward (Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery; the United States is “very much like Nazi Germany”; allowing same-sex marriage could lead to allowing bestiality), left some of his old friends bewildered. Students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine protested his planned convocation address there in 2013, and he eventually backed out. When I asked Carson about the view at Hopkins that he had changed, he said his themes are still the same: “hard work, self-reliance, helping other people.” If he had become more overtly political, he said, it was only because the Obama years had led him to believe that “we’re really moving in a direction that is very, very destructive.”
None of this went unnoticed by campaign professionals. In August 2013, John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, each of whom professes to be a virtual stranger to Carson, and who had previously been active in the anti-illegal-immigration movement, started the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. Sousa was just coming off a campaign to defend the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio, from a recall effort, and he told me that he found Carson’s lack of political experience refreshing. “We have 500 guys and gals with probably a collective 5,000 years experience, and look at the mess we’re in,” he said.
Many others in the party feel the same way. Carson’s PAC finished 2014 with more than $13 million in donations, more than Ready for Hillary. Much of its money has gone toward further fund-raising, but Sousa — the great-grandson of the famous composer — points out that their effort has already built far more than just a war chest, organizing leaders in all 99 of Iowa’s counties. Regardless, Carson credits the fund-raising success of Sousa and Robinson with persuading him to enter the race.
Very early the morning after the job interview, Carson was in a black S.U.V., heading from Washington to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., where he was to give the opening candidate speech of the Conservative Political Action Conference. The event, which functions as an early tryout for Republican presidential contenders, tends to skew rightward in its audience, drawing many of the same sorts of people who shouted at Boehner in Tampa. As such, it tends to favor anti-establishment candidates, but the news leading up to this year’s event was that Jeb Bush hoped to make inroads there.
It was still dark when we set out, and I joked with Carson about the hour, telling him he’d better get used to it. He retorted that his career in pediatric brain surgery made him no stranger to early mornings. This is a big theme of Carson’s presidential pitch: that neither the rigors of the campaign nor those of the White House can faze a man who held children’s lives in his hands. His life in brain surgery has prepared him for the presidency, he maintains, better than lives in politics have for his rivals. At the very least, he says, it conditioned him against getting too worked up about any problem that isn’t life threatening. “I mean, it’s grueling, but interestingly enough, I don’t feel the pressure,” he said.
At the convention hall, we were quickly surrounded by admirers. Two women were already waiting to meet him — white, middle-aged volunteers for Carson’s super PAC, who had traveled from South Carolina. One of them, Chris Horne, was holding a dog-eared and taped Bible. A founding member of the Charleston Tea Party who went on to work for Gingrich’s successful South Carolina primary campaign in 2012, Horne lamented over the attacks that Carson was sure to face. “You served us, you served the Lord, just don’t let them steal that from you,” she said. Her friend told him, “You’ve got God behind you!” Such religious evocations trailed Carson constantly while I walked the CPAC floor with him. Evangelicals are impressed not only with his devotion to their politics but also with his career path; as one of them told me, what’s more pro-life than saving babies?
During our ride to the conference, Carson told me his speech was not looking to “feed the beast.” When his appointed time came, he kept his remarks as tame as promised. “Real compassion” meant “using our intellect” to help people “climb out of dependency and realize the American dream,” he said. The national debt is going to “destroy us,” Obamacare was about “redistribution and control,” but Republicans better come forward with their own alternative before they repeal it, he said.
Because his speech was first, and it started several minutes early, the auditorium was slow to fill. Still, the first day saw a crush of people seeking autographs and pictures as he roamed the hall. The Draft Carson committee’s 150 volunteers swarmed the auditorium, collecting emails and handing out “Run Ben Run” stickers. After a quick interview with Sean Hannity, the conservative-radio and Fox News host — his second in two days — Carson was off to Tampa.
In the hours that followed his talk, the hall offered a view in miniature of what the next 12 to 14 months might hold for the party. Chris Christie, sitting across from the tough-minded talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, boasted about his multiple vetoes of Planned Parenthood funding, his refusal to raise income taxes and his belief that “sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up.” Cruz, an audience favorite, warning his fellow Republicans against falling for a “squishy moderate,” declared, “Take all 125,000 I.R.S. agents and put ’em on our Southern border!” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, surging in polls, boasted that if he could face down the 100,000 union supporters who protested his legislation limiting collective bargaining for public employees, he could certainly handle ISIS. The next day, the traditional CPAC favorite Rand Paul spoke, packing the hall with his supporters who chanted “President Paul.” He warned, counter to the overall hawkish tenor of the event, that “we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.” But he also vowed to end foreign aid to countries whose citizens are seen burning American flags. “Not one penny more to these haters of America.”
Perhaps the defining moment came near the end of the conference, when Jeb Bush spoke. In a neat trick of political gamesmanship — and a show of establishment muscle — his team had bused in an ample cheering section for the dozens of cameras on hand for his appearance. But a small contingent of Tea Party activists and Rand Paul supporters staged a walk out. When Bush began a question-and-answer session, they turned and left the auditorium to chant “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in the hallway, led by a man in colonial garb waving a huge “Don’t Tread on Me” banner. Plenty of other detractors stayed in the hall and peppered Bush’s remarks with booing as he stood by positions unpopular with the conservative grass roots: support for the Common Core standards and an immigration overhaul that provides a “path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants. Bush took it all in good humor, but finally seemed to give up.
“For those who made an ‘oo’ sound — is that what it was? — I’m marking you down as neutral,” he said. “And I want to be your second choice.”
Bush strategists told me they would not repeat Romney’s mistakes. Of course they would love to glide to an early nomination, they said, but they are prepared for a long contest and won’t be wasting any energy bending under pressure from a Paul or a Cruz or a Carson.
No one doubts that the pressure will increase, though. Despite the best wishes of the party’s leaders, GOP primary voters have given little indication that they will narrow the field quickly.
Before I left, I spotted Newt Gingrich, himself a fleeting presidential front-runner during those strange primary days of 2012. I asked him whether he thought all the party maneuvering — all the attempts to change the rules and fast-track the process — would preclude someone from presenting the sort of outside primary challenge he had carried out in the last election.
“No,” he told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Look at where Ben Carson is right now.”