The Thanksgiving turkey has been dispatched and digested for another year, so it seems a propitious time to cull what the media describes as the herd of turkeys vying to be the party nominee for president.
Since the incumbent is assured of the Democratic Party nod, and the Libertarians, Constitutions, Greens, Socialists and assorted political cats and dogs are not really relevant, the only game in town is the Republican battle for recognition.
I find it interesting that a majority of political columnists and editorialists, whether syndicated, local or on the web, are united in the ridicule/dismissal of the Republican hopefuls as individuals or as a group.
Virtually the entire New York Times contingent (who view conservatives with the sentiment reserved for wife beaters), along with the writings of the Washington Post's E. J. Dionne, Ruth Marcus and Dana Milbank, typify the scorn heaped on Republican candidates.
Although I find this attitude interesting, I don't see it as surprising. According to the Media Research Center, it is no secret that historically some 80 percent of news reporters vote Democrat, and 85 percent of the reporters covering the White House beat vote Democrat.
Perhaps journalists occupy a higher plane of objectivity than the rest of us, but — you must pardon my skepticism — that is a hard sell.
Among the purported minuses assigned GOP candidates are a lack of foreign policy experience, monumental gaffes in debates, weakness of field (no leader has emerged) and the time-honored "out-of-touch Republicans cater to the rich," to name a few.
A look at the record fails to vindicate those claims.
For example, what was the incumbent's foreign policy experience before taking office?
As for gaffes, no one is exempt from bonehead comments. I would expect that every candidate now knows the U.S. is composed of 50 states.
Some Republican wounds are self-inflicted, primarily because of an overexposure in debates. Although they do serve a purpose, these oral engagements between multiple candidates are not debates per se but rather an exercise in responding to politically charged questions in 60 seconds without making a fool of oneself.
Most of us lean toward Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" as opposed to electing a "debater-in-chief."
A quick look at the Republicans vying for the nation's highest office is revealing. With the exception of Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann, each candidate has far more leadership experience than did President Obama — three (Romney, Perry and Huntsman) were governors; two (Cain and Romney) were successful business executives; and Gingrich served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Each carries unfavorable baggage in varying degrees, and not one has captured more than 25 percent of the Republican party faithful.
Mitt Romney, the leader in most of the polls, fails the current litmus test from the conservative right, while Rick Perry, the most conservative, suffers from massive verbal inconsistency.
Newt Gingrich's (the most gifted debater) baggage includes three divorces and several political positions angering the party faithful.
Herman Cain, the plain-speaking, charismatic businessman, enjoys popularity from the rank and file; however, accusations of sexual misconduct render his future iffy at best.
Currently, those either leading or considered to have a favored track to the nomination are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Each has a difficult and expensive hill to climb to win the nomination and face the extremely well-financed and experienced campaigner, President Barack Obama.
Nevertheless, in the contemptuous dismissal of the GOP hopefuls as politically out of touch lightweights, beholden to corporate interests and an enemy of the middle class and working poor, neither the mainstream media nor the Democratic Party machine has countered with a convincing argument that the president deserves re-election.
Admittedly, he inherited a sinking economy. However, after a failed $857 billion stimulus and an increase of some $4 trillion in the national debt has failed to put a dent in joblessness, the public is beginning to question his direction.
Additionally, assigning blame to former President George W. Bush, the Republican House of Representatives, unrest in the Middle East, the Gulf oil spill, the Japanese tsunami and the "laziness" of Americans has worn thin.
An incumbent whose personal popularity remains high, the president will not be easy to unseat. But I see Mitt Romney, the acknowledged most formidable rival, getting the Republican nod as most electable.
If the economic and employment status quo is continued, it is difficult to comprehend the conservative or moderate Republican or Independent who will opt for President Obama over Gov. Romney.
J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.