David Corn, writing at Mother Jones about Ben Carson's love of far-right crank W. Cleon Skousen:
Carson's repeated and full-throated endorsements of Skousen—which tend to be coupled with dire warnings about the covert scheming of Marxists and Saul Alinsky—suggest that Carson shares Skousen's belief that the civil rights movement, acceptance of homosexuality, the rise of abstract art and modernism, and the advent of Medicare, Social Security, and other safety-net programs have all been part of a clandestine plot waged by Communists or other dark forces to destroy the United States. As Carson points out, this nefarious plotting is still in the works today.
Carson's faith in Skousen is even more unsettling because Skousen was far more than a rabid anti-commie crusader and Red-baiter. He was a complete crank. He maintained that the Founding Fathers were direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel and contended that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world.
It is pretty amazing how, even at the top tier of national Republican candidates, you are never more than one or two steps away from the frothing-at-the-mouth nutballs. We are not talking the lunatic fringe here. This is the guy who is currently polling in second place behind Donald Trump among the current GOP field.
If you have spent any amount of time reading about the far right in American politics, the name W. Cleon Skousen will set off alarm bells. The problem is that for most of the public, it’s just one more name and probably makes Carson sound well-read.