It's still a couple of weeks until Thanksgiving, yet it never seems too early to honor the "turkeys" who seem to surround the rest of us each and every day.

Let's start with the embarrassment of the turkey reporter who dug up a 1997 Parade magazine article where the mother of Dr. Ben Carson allegedly confirmed the good doctor did indeed try to stab either a cousin, a friend or a stranger while still a teenager.

The bad news is that the story has come apart since then, and that Momma Carson now tragically suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Using a story from 18 years ago to either confirm or negate Carson's current twisted tale seems, at best, turkey-worthy.

Moving on to the turkeys in the U.S. Congress who continue their seven-year battle to keep open the unbelievably expensive and antiquated Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, where 112 detainees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to be housed.

They fear that U.S.-based maximum-security facilities won't be secure enough to hold these prisons.

Then, of course, there are the rafters of turkeys grouped together and are thus worthy of a group award.

Third-place finishers in the group turkey competition are the entire original field of 17 Republican candidates, all of who repeated again and again the Donald Trump-led mantra of needing to "make America great again."

I presume by great they mean returning to the America left us in January of 2009 by the last conservative Republican president, George W. Bush. The day he turned the White House over to Barack Obama, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 7,949. Today, it's 17,910. The S&P 500 Index was at 805. Today, it's 2,099. Consumer confidence was at 37.7. Today, it's 97.6. The GDP growth was minus 6.2. Today, it's plus 2.7.

Yup, let's make America great again -- for the 1 percenters.

The second-place rafter in this year's group category are the anti-vaxxers who continue to deny, despite all evidence to the contrary, that vaccinations helped end the scourge of smallpox and polio around the world, and may also soon be the answer to eliminating both Alzheimer's as well as certain deadly cancers.

Finally, the top prize among all the worthy competing groups of domestic turkeys are the boys and girls of Canon City High School in Colorado, who decided nothing would make their families, friends and community prouder than for them to take hundreds of naked pictures of themselves and their classmates and pass them around to each other via their cell phones.

One can only wonder whether any of these teens will be as willing to repeat a similar photo swap with their classmates just prior to their 50th class reunion.

Heading into my own 50th high-school reunion, my guess is no.

Saving the best (or worst), for last, this year's winner of the "Herman Cain, we hardly knew you" presidential candidate turkey award goes to Carson who, like Cain, decided to run his campaign not on issues, but on his biography.

Amazingly, just like Cain, it never occurred to Carson that anyone would actually "vet" his background.

Big mistake.

Lesson to all: Presidential politics from John Adams to Barack Obama has been as much about surviving bruising campaigns as about the competence and ideas of the candidates.

To paraphrase American humorist and writer Finley Peter Dunne from more than a century ago: Politics ain't beanbag.

Michael Goldman is a paid political consultant for Democratic candidates and president of Goldman Associates in Boston.

Michael Goldman
Published Date: 
Monday, November 16, 2015