Speaking before a standing-room-only audience at CPAC on Saturday afternoon, Dr. Ben Carson — the former award-winning surgeon and current darling of the conservative movement — defended some of his earlier controversial statements and urged his fellow Republicans to not be "intimidated" by the "PC police."
"I am not a fan of political correctness," Carson told the crowd. "I hate political correctness."
"I will continue to defy the PC police who have tried in many cases to shut me up," Carson, who once compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and liberals to Nazis, promised an adoring audience of conservative activists.
After being greeted with a standing ovation, Carson began his address by introducing his wife, Candy, and warned his fellow CPACers that he had "a lot to say" and would consequently "go pretty quickly."
He was true to his word, giving a disorganized, meandering and extremely well-received speech that touched on many of the right's favorite themes, from the evils of Obamacare — which Carson once called the worst thing to happen in America since slavery — to the left's reliance on the tactics of Saul Alinsky.
If there was an overriding theme to Carson's address, it was probably his own fearlessness and the need for conservatives all across America to stand up for "common sense" ideas and save the U.S., which he called "a land of dreams."
While Carson never lost the crowd, which even booed when he said his time to speak was running short, the biggest cheers came in response to his attacks on political correctness as well as his professions of faith.
Defending his earlier comparison of homosexuality to bestiality, Carson said, "Of course gay people should have the same rights as everyone else," which received a smattering of applause. "But," he continued, "they don’t get extra rights," a line that won him his loudest round of applause of the entire address.
Speaking of the left, Alinsky claimed his political opponents "repeat these lies over and over again because they cannot argue the actual facts." He called these people "ideologues" and said "the only people who can stop them are us, the American people."
There is a burgeoning movement among conservatives to persuade Carson to run for president in 2016, and while he never directly mentioned any future intention to run for office, he did say that "the good lord had a different plan" for his post-retirement years than what Carson had originally expected.
After making reference to the American Revolution, the Second World War and the Greatest Generation, Carson reminded the crowd that "We cannot be free if we are not brave." As he left the stage, to a standing ovation, multiple conservatives throughout the crowd held up giant signs on which were written just one number and one word: "Carson 2016."