Sousa scion leads Carson White House draft parade; Cmte raises $2.8 million
The great-grandson of legendary band leader John Philip Sousa told Human Events in an exclusive interview he why he is leading the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a movement to convince retired Johns Hopkins University pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr., to run for president.
Carson is a true conservative, who reminds him of President Ronald W. Reagan, said John Philip Sousa IV, a financial services executive in Farmington, Conn. Sousa worked for Reagan when he was the governor of California.
“If the two of them sat down at a table and said: ‘OK, let’s the issues,’ at the end of the day, 48 hours or the end of a week, I doubt there would be 2 percent disagreement—and for the life of me, I can’t even tell you what that would be.”
Carson has spoken out against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and in favor of a flat tax and the restoration of American gun rights.
Sousa, who wrote a book about his ancestor “John Philip Sousa’s America: A patriot’s life in images and words,” said when he was growing up in California, his sister’s brother was friends with Reagan and that connection got him involved in GOP politics there after his stint in the Air Force.
That political career ended with Sousa’s decision in 1974 to run for Congress as a conservative Republican straight into the headwinds of the Watergate scandal, he said. “No one ever accused me of being overly-bright, but it was a sensational experience, the best experience of my life.”
During the campaign, he caught the eye of a Long Beach manager of a life insurance office, who gave him a job after his loss at the polls, which started his career in financial services, he said. “But, I have always, always maintained a real passion for politics and the future our country.”
Carson announced his retirement from the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins in March 2013, 11 months after his address to the National Prayer Breakfast. In those remarks, Carson laid out a political program and analysis that separated him from President Barack Obama, who also attended.
Whether it was Carson’s intention or not, that speech was his star turn as a conservative voice against the president’s agenda. But, unlike other black conservatives, the media has held back its heavy attacks, either out of respect for his remarkable career as a surgeon or in a wait-and-see posture depending if his seeks national office.
Sousa said he believes Carson wants to run for president and the doctor has done nothing to discourage the draft movement—in fact, quite the opposite.
The draft committee delivers roughly 4,000 petitions to Carson each week from Americans who want him to run, he said. In addition to petition signatures and financial support, more than 7,100 Americans have volunteered across the nation to represent the committee at GOP and Tea Party events and encouraged their friends and neighbors to join the movement and clamor for Carson.
Sousa said nearly 47,000 individuals contributed to the committee since its $2,837,401 take since the August launch. The average contribution amount is $45, with many donors contributing more than once.
Other draft movements have played out with the target begging off and denying interest, he said. “But, Dr. Carson has never said he will not run. Dr. Carson has never said: ‘I have no interest’ Dr. Carson, to the contrary, has said: ‘If God wants me to run, I will run. If the people want me to run, I will run. If no other candidate comes along that I can fully endorse and support, I will run.’”
When Carson was asked by Greta van Susteren on Fox News about the draft movement led by Sousa, the surgeon replied that he was aware of the movement, he would not interfere in it and that he was a fan of Sousa’s music, he said.
The two men shook hands and sat together for a short conversation, which convinced him that Carson was the man America needs in the White House, he said.
“When I met Dr. Carson, I took him a copy of my book, and he seemed appreciative, I hope he enjoyed it, but the deeper meaning of the meeting to me was his sincerity, his genuine glimmer in his eyes—this is an incredible human being,” Sousa said. “It was an absolute thrill.”
Sousa said Carson sent another signal to the draft movement, when March 8, he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “He said: ‘You know, I kind of envisioned learning how to play golf in my retirement, but I guess I can do that from the White House.’”
Of course, Carson’s very appearance at CPAC was a signal that he is running for president.
If he does run, Sousa said, “The thing he will do better than any other candidate is bring the country together.”
Have we heard that song before?