Travel Haji Murah di Jakarta Timur Hubungi 021-9929-2337 atau 0821-2406-5740 Alhijaz Indowisata adalah perusahaan swasta nasional yang bergerak di bidang tour dan travel. Nama Alhijaz terinspirasi dari istilah dua kota suci bagi umat islam pada zaman nabi Muhammad saw. yaitu Makkah dan Madinah. Dua kota yang penuh berkah sehingga diharapkan menular dalam kinerja perusahaan. Sedangkan Indowisata merupakan akronim dari kata indo yang berarti negara Indonesia dan wisata yang menjadi fokus usaha bisnis kami.

Travel Haji Murah di Jakarta Timur Alhijaz Indowisata didirikan oleh Bapak H. Abdullah Djakfar Muksen pada tahun 2010. Merangkak dari kecil namun pasti, alhijaz berkembang pesat dari mulai penjualan tiket maskapai penerbangan domestik dan luar negeri, tour domestik hingga mengembangkan ke layanan jasa umrah dan haji khusus. Tak hanya itu, pada tahun 2011 Alhijaz kembali membuka divisi baru yaitu provider visa umrah yang bekerja sama dengan muassasah arab saudi. Sebagai komitmen legalitas perusahaan dalam melayani pelanggan dan jamaah secara aman dan profesional, saat ini perusahaan telah mengantongi izin resmi dari pemerintah melalui kementrian pariwisata, lalu izin haji khusus dan umrah dari kementrian agama. Selain itu perusahaan juga tergabung dalam komunitas organisasi travel nasional seperti Asita, komunitas penyelenggara umrah dan haji khusus yaitu HIMPUH dan organisasi internasional yaitu IATA. Travel Haji Murah di Jakarta Timur

Saco-Indonesia.com, Tak ada yang lebih indah daripada kehidupan yang penuh dengan kesyukuran. Rasanya semua orang menginginkannya. Berbagai usaha pun dilakukan, mulai dari yang kecil berupa membina hati, kemudian hal yang gampang dan ringan dengan ucapan atau yang berat dan besar dengan tindakan – tindakan nyata. Sayangnya, tak banyak orang yang pada akhirnya dapat merasakan predikat indah itu. Kesyukuran timbul tenggelam di dalam samudera kehidupan ini. Silih berganti. Sebab jumlah nikmat yang tak terhitung dan sifat lupa dan lalai manusia akan nikmat itu sendiri. Alhasil, hidup berlimpah dengan rasa syukur menjadi barang yang sulit ditemukan. Tak jarang, malah terlupakan.
Hal ini diperkuat dengan garis Allah di dalam Kitabnya, dimana Allah menyebutkan bahwa kategori orang yang bisa bersyukur itu sedikit. Dan sedikit sekali dari hamba- hamba-Ku yang bersyukur”. (QS Saba’:13) Konsekuensi dari hukum ini diantaranya adalah susahnya mencari keteladanan dalam bersyukur. Di Quran misalnya hanya beberapa hamba yang tertulis sebagai ahli syukur, Nabi Nuh misalnya seperti yang tertulis di dalam surat al-Israa ayat 3, innahu kaana ‘abdan syakuuron - sesungguhnya dia adalah hamba (Allah) yang banyak bersyukur.

Kemudian Nabi Daud dan keluarganya, yang disebutkan di dalam surat Saba ayat 13, i’maluu aalaa daawuuda syukron - bekerjalah wahai keluarga Daud untuk bersyukur (kepada Allah). Berkenaan dengan masalah syukur ini Nabi Dawud pernah bertanya kepada Allah. “Bagaimana aku mampu bersyukur kepadaMu ya Allah, sedangkan bersyukur itupun nikmat dari Engkau? Allah pun menjawab, “Sekarang engkau telah bersyukur kepadaKu, karena engkau mengakui nikmat itu berasal dari-Ku”.

Berkaitan dengan masalah ini Rasulullah SAW pun menegaskan dengan sabdanya; “Shalat yang paling dicintai oleh Allah adalah shalat nabi Daud; ia tidur setengah malam, kemudian bangun sepertiganya dan tidur seperenam malam. Puasa yang paling dicintai oleh Allah juga adalah puasa Daud; ia puasa sehari, kemudian ia berbuka di hari berikutnya, dan begitu seterusnya”.(Rowahu al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Juga Rasulullah SAW menjelaskan dengan sabdanya; “Tidaklah seseorang itu makan makanan yang lebih baik kecuali dari hasil kerja tangannya sendiri. Karena sesungguhnya Nabi Daud as senantiasa makan dari hasil kerja tangannya sendiri.” (Rowahu al-Bukhari)

Di dalam jalur riwayat lain, Ibnu Abi Hatim meriwayatkan dari Tsabit Al-Bunani bahwa Nabi Daud membagi waktu shalat kepada istri, anak dan seluruh keluarganya sehingga tidak ada sedikit waktupun, baik siang maupun malam, kecuali ada salah seorang dari mereka sedang menjalankan shalat.

Tampilnya keluarga Nabi Dawud sebagai teladan dalam bersyukur memang tepat dan contoh yang diberikan juga gamblang. Bersyukur tidak hanya dengan hati, perkataan dan tindakan sebagaimana yang dicontohkan Keluarga Nabi Daud. Lebih dari itu bersyukur adalah dalam rangka mencari kecintaan - keridhoan dari Allah. 

Demikian juga apa yang telah dilakukan oleh Rasulullah SAW dalam masalah ini. Ketika turun Surat Fath ayat 1 yang menetapkan pengampunan kepada Rasulullah SAW atas dosa yang terdahulu dan yang akan datang, kesungguhan Rasulullah SAW dalam bersyukur semakin menjadi. Shalat malamnya membuat kedua kaki beliau bengkak – bengkak, sehingga Aisyah pun berkata, “Kenapa engkau berbuat seperti ini? Bukankah Allah telah menjamin untuk mengampuni segala dosa-dosamu baik yang awal maupun yang akhir?” Rasulullah menjawab, “Afalam akuunu abdan syakuron - Tidakkah aku menjadi hamba yang bersyukur”. (Rowahu Al-Bukhari).

Dari tiga teladan di atas, kita perlu menelusuri lebih lanjut jalan menjadi ahli bersyukur. Walaupun tertulis sedikit kita berharap dan berusaha menjadi bagian yang sedikit itu.  Sebagai inspirasi cerita berikut layak dicermati. Suatu saat Umar bin Khaththab pernah mendengar seseorang berdo’a, “Ya Allah, jadikanlah aku termasuk golongan yang sedikit”. Mendengar itu, Umar terkejut dan bertanya, “Kenapa engkau berdoa demikian?” Sahabat itu menjawab, “Karena saya mendengar Allah berfirman, “Dan sedikit sekali dari hamba-hambaKu yang bersyukur”, makanya aku memohon agar aku termasuk yang sedikit tersebut.”

Ada hal – hal yang bisa dilakukan untuk menumbuhkan benih – benih kesyukuran agar terpatri di dalam hati. Yang pertama adalah benih hati “tidak merasa memiliki, tidak merasa dimiliki kecuali yakin segalanya milik Allah SWT.” Allah berfirman; “Dan sungguh akan Kami berikan cobaan kepada kalian, dengan sedikit ketakutan, kelaparan, kekurangan harta, jiwa dan buah-buahan. Dan berikanlah berita gembira kepada orang-orang yang sabar. (yaitu) orang-orang yang apabila ditimpa musibah, mereka mengucapkan: "Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji'uun" (QS al Baqoroh 155 – 156).

Sebab makin kita merasa memiliki sesuatu akan semakin takut kehilangan. Dan takut kehilangan adalah suatu bentuk kesengsaraan. Tapi kalau kita yakin semuanya milik Allah, maka ketika diambil oleh Allah tidak layak kita merasa kehilangan. Karena kita hanya tertitipi. Dalam kondisi seperti ini layak direnungi kaidah tukang parkir. Setiap hari di area parkir berjajar mobil mewah dari Mercy, BMW, Toyota, Mazda dan mobil bagus lainnya. Walau dari pagi sampai petang mobil – mobil itu di bawah tanggung jawab si tukang parkir, tetapi apakah dia bisa marah, sedih, ketika mobil – mobil tersebut diambil pemiliknya kala sore hari? Tentu tidak. Bahkan dramawan WS Rendra menulis dengan apik, hakikat harta sebagai titipan seperti dalam puisinya Makna Sebuah Titipan.

Sering kali aku berkata, ketika orang memuji milikku,
bahwa sesungguhnya ini hanya titipan
Bahwa mobilku hanya titipan Nya, bahwa rumahku hanya titipan Nya,
bahwa hartaku hanya titipan Nya
Tetapi, mengapa aku tidak pernah bertanya, mengapa Dia menitipkan padaku?
Untuk apa Dia menitipkan ini padaku?

Dan kalau bukan milikku, apa yang harus kulakukan untuk milik Nya ini?
Adakah aku memiliki hak atas sesuatu yg bukan milikku?
Mengapa hatiku justru terasa berat, ketika titipan itu diminta kembali oleh Nya?

Ketika diminta kembali, kusebut itu sebagai musibah,
kusebut itu sebagai ujian, kusebut itu sebagai petaka,
kusebut dengan panggilan apa saja yang melukiskan bahwa itu adalah derita

Ketika aku berdoa, kuminta titipan yang cocok dengan hawa nafsuku,
aku ingin lebih banyak harta, lebih banyak mobil, lebih banyak rumah,
lebih banyak popularitas, dan kutolak sakit, kutolak kemiskinan.

Seolah semua “derita” adalah hukuman bagiku
Seolah keadilan dan kasih Nya harus berjalan seperti matematika:
“aku rajin beribadah, maka selayaknyalah derita menjauh dariku,
dan nikmat dunia kerap menghampiriku

Kuperlakukan Dia seolah mitra dagang, dan bukan kekasih
Kuminta Dia membalas “perlakuan baikku” dan
menolak keputusan Nya yang tak sesuai keinginanku,

Gusti, padahal tiap hari kuucapkan, hidup dan matiku hanyalah untuk beribadah…
“Ketika langit dan bumi bersatu, bencana dan keberuntungan sama saja”

Rahasia benih kedua menjadi ahli syukur adalah “selalu memuji Allah dalam segala kondisi. " Kenapa? Allah berfirman; “Dan jika kamu menghitung-hitung nikmat Allah, niscaya kamu tak dapat menentukan jumlahnya. Sesungguhnya Allah benar-benar Maha Pengampun lagi Maha Penyayang.”  (QS An-nahl 18). Karena kalau dibandingkan antara nikmat dengan musibah tidak akan ada apa-apanya. Musibah yang datang tidak sebanding dengan samudera nikmat yang tiada bertepi.

Ini seperti cerita seorang petani miskin yang kehilangan kuda satu-satunya. Orang-orang di desanya amat prihatin terhadap kejadian itu, namun ia hanya istirja dan mengatakan, alhamdulillah, cuma kuda yang hilang. Bukan lainnya. Seminggu kemudian kuda tersebut kembali ke rumahnya sambil membawa serombongan kuda liar. Petani itu mendadak menjadi orang kaya. Orang-orang di desanya berduyun-duyun mengucapkan selamat kepadanya, namun ia hanya berkata, alhamdulillah.

Tak lama kemudian petani ini kembali mendapat musibah. Anaknya yang berusaha menjinakkan seekor kuda liar terjatuh sehingga patah kakinya. Orang-orang desa merasa amat prihatin, tapi sang petani hanya mengatakan, alhamdulillah cuma patah kakinya. Ternyata seminggu kemudian tentara masuk ke desa itu untuk mencari para pemuda untuk wajib militer. Semua pemuda diboyong keluar desa kecuali anak sang petani karena kakinya patah. Melihat hal itu si petani hanya berkata singkat, alhamdulillah. Allah telah mengatur segalanya.

Apa yang harus membuat kita menderita? Adalah menderita karena kita tamak kepada yang belum ada dan tidak mensyukuri apa yang ada sekarang.

Benih ketiga untuk menjadi ahli syukur adalah “manfaatkan nikmat yang ada  untuk mendekatkan diri kepada Allah SWT”. Allah berfirman; “Hai orang-orang yang beriman, makanlah di antara rezki yang baik-baik yang Kami berikan kepada kalian dan bersyukurlah kalian kepada Allah, jika benar-benar hanya kepada-Nya kalian menyembah.”  (QS Al-Baqoroh 172)

Alkisah ada tiga pengendara kuda masuk ke dalam hutan belantara, kemudian dia tertidur. Saat terjaga dilihat kudanya telah hilang beserta semua perbekalannya.  Betapa kagetnya mereka, karena alamat tidak bisa meneruskan perjalanan. Pada saat yang sama dalam keadaan kaget tersebut, ternyata seorang raja yang bijaksana melihatnya dan mengirimkan kuda yang baru lengkap dengan perbekalan untuk perjalanan mereka.  Ketika dikirimkan reaksi ketiga pengendara yang hilang kudanya itu berbeda-beda.

Pengendara pertama si-A kaget dan berkomentar; "Wah ini kuda yang hebat sekali, bagus ototnya, lengkap perbekalannya dan banyak pula!” Dia sibuk dengan kuda dan perbekalannya tanpa bertanya kuda siapakah ini? Pengendara kedua Si-B, gembira dengan kuda yang ada dan berkomentar; "Wah ini kuda yang hebat, dan saya benar – benar membutuhkannya. Terima kasih, terima kasih.” Begitulah si-B bersyukur dan berterima kasih kepada yang memberi. Sikap pengendara ke tiga, si-C beda lagi. Ia berkata; "Lho ini bukan kuda saya, ini kuda milik siapa?” Yang ditanya menjawab; " Ini kuda milik raja."
Si-C bertanya kembali; "Kenapa raja memberikan kuda ini ?” Dijawab; "Sebab raja mengirim kuda agar engkau mudah bertemu dengan sang raja". Dengan bersuka cita si-C menjawab; “Terima kasih atas semuanya, sehingga saya bisa sampai ke sang raja.”
Dia gembira bukan karena bagusnya kuda, dia gembira karena kuda dapat memudahkan dia dekat dengan sang raja.

Begitulah, si-A adalah gambaran manusia yang kalau mendapatkan mobil, motor, rumah, dan  kedudukan sibuk dengan semua itu, tanpa sadar bahwa itu semua adalah titipan. Yang B mungkin adalah model orang kebanyakan yang ketika senang mengucap Alhamdulillah.  Tetapi ahli syukur yang asli adalah yang ketiga yang kalau punya sesuatu dia berpikir bahwa inilah kendaraan yang dapat menjadi pendekat kepada Allah SWT. Ketika mempunyai uang dia mengucap alhamdulillah, uang inilah pendekat saya kepada Allah. Ia tidak berat untuk membayar zakat, dia ringan untuk bersadaqah, karena itulah jalan mendekatkan diri kepadaNya.

Benih syukur yang keempat adalah “berterima kasih kepada yang telah menjadi jalan perantara nikmat.” Seorang anak disebut ahli syukur kalau dia tahu balas budi kepada ibu dan bapaknya. Benar orang tua kita tidak seideal yang kita harapkan, tetapi masalah kita bukan bagaimana sikap orang tua kepada kita, tetapi sikap kita kepada orang tua. Sama halnya dengan nikmat lainnya, kadang datangnya melalui perantara, maka yang terpenting adalah bagaimana kita bisa bersikap yang baik kepadanya.

Diriwayatkan dari Usamah bin Zaid r.a. dia berkata, “Rasululloh SAW bersabda; ’Barangsiapa diberi suatu kebaikan, lalu dia berkata kepada pemberinya – Jazaakallohu khairo/Semoga Allah membalas kebaikan (yang lebih baik) kepadamu – maka dia telah sampai (sempurna) di dalam memuji.”(Rowahu at-Tirmidzi, dia berkata hadist hasan ghorib)

Dari al-Asy’ats bin Qois r.a. dia berkata, “Rasululoh SAW bersabda tidak bersyukur kepada Allah orang yang tidak bersyukur (berterima kasih) kepada manusia.” (Rowahu Ahmad)

Dari Abu Huroiroh r.a, dari Nabi SAW beliau bersabda,”Tidak bersyukur kepada Allah orang yang tidak bersyukur kepada manusia.” (Rowahu Abu Dawud dan at- Tirmidzi dia berkata hadist shohih)
Sebagai pelengkap benih – benih di atas, tentunya adalah memperbanyak doa untuk menyirami benih – benih itu. Berdoa untuk menjadi hamba yang penuh kesyukuran, sebagaimana yang diajarkan oleh Rasulullah SAW kepada sahabat Muadz bin Jabal.  Hadist itu diriwayatkan oleh Sunan Abu Dawud (Kitabu Sholah) dan Sunan Nasa’i (Kitabu as-Sahwi), juga terdapat dalam Musnad Ahmad, yang dishohihkan oleh Ibnu Hibban dan al-Hakim. Dari Muadz bin Jabal r.a. sesungguhnya Rasulullah SAW memegang tangannya Muadz dan berkata; ”Ya Muadz, Demi Allah sesungguhnya aku benar-benar mencintaimu, Demi Allah sesungguhnya aku benar-benar mencintaimu.” Seterusnya Beliau berkata, ”Aku wasiat kepadamu hai Muadz, jangan meninggalkan sungguh engkau di dalam setiap habis sholat untuk berdoa - Allohumma a’innaa ’alaa dzikrika, wasyukrika wahusni ’ibadatik - Ya Allah tolonglah kami untuk senantiasa berdzikir kepadaMu, bersyukur kepadaMu dan beribadah kepadaMu dengan baik”.
Setelah menjadi orang iman, tantangan berikutnya yang menghadang adalah berpacu untuk menjadi orang yang berkelimpahan kesyukuran. Walaupun kesempatannya kecil, kita masih punya peluang meraihnya bukan? Nah, sebagai parameter penutup bisa dirujuk cerita tentang seorang pengembala yang ditanya oleh tuannya. “Bagaimana cuaca hari ini?” “Hari ini cuacanya sangat menyenangkan”, jawabnya. ‘Apakah kamu tidak melihat bahwa dari pagi mendung dan tak tampak matahari? ” “Betul tuan, tetapi kehidupan ini telah mengajarkan kepada saya bahwa banyak keinginan yang tidak saya dapatkan, oleh karena itu saya mulai mensyukuri apa saja yang saya dapatkan.”

Lalu, dimanakah kita sekarang?

Oleh :Ustadz.Faizunal Abdillah
Sumber:LDII

Editor:Liwon Maulana(galipat)

BERSYUKUR

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.”

Continue reading the main story

His life in brain surgery
has prepared him for the
presidency, he maintains,
better than lives in
politics have for his rivals.

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?”

Bass nodded.

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.”

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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.

Photo
 
Republican candidates at a pre-straw-poll debate, held at Iowa State University in 2011. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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.”)

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Ben Carson at CPAC on Feb. 26 in Oxon Hill, Md. Credit Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

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.”

Jim Rutenberg is the chief political correspondent for the magazine. His most recent feature was about Megyn Kelly.

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