If an objective checklist of qualifications, similar to what a business would use for a major hire, was used to nominate presidential candidates, then U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, as multi-term governor of bellwether Florida and as a former chairman of the Senate intelligence committee who warned against invading Iraq and the false claims of WMDs, would have topped the 2004 Democratic field by a huge margin. Instead, he dropped out of race days before the Iowa caucus. Why? Because the media, concentrating on the fundraising and "rock star" appeal of Howard Dean, cast him aside as a candidate who wasn't "first-tier," and thus unworthy of serious consideration.
A similar situation occurred in 2008. Bill Richardson, as multi-term governor of New Mexico, former ambassador to United Nations, Secretary of Energy, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and representative of the fastest-growing geographic and ethnic groups, was by any objective standards easily the most qualified Democratic candidate. He was forced out of race before 99 percent of American people ever had chance to vote. Why? The media was zoned in on fundraisers and "rock stars" Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the anointed "first-tier" candidates.
Now, I certainly don't want to compare the resume of Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson to those of Bob Graham or Bill Richardson. However, I am totally offended that CNN had the gall to exclude a two-term governor, the only candidate from the West, and one of only two candidates with libertarian views from the first nationally televised debate of Republican candidates because he is unknown nationally in mid-June of 2011. Not only is Mr. Johnson denied a national TV audience, he doesn't get his picture on front page of The Sun, nor a mention in accompanying article. In short, he was axed from the race by the media.
I write this letter not as a partisan supporter of Mr. Johnson but because I agree with Sun columnist Ron Smith that there is an unholy alliance of corporate interests and establishment media that control our political process and make it virtually impossible for any serious, experienced candidate with a relevant resume to get to first base. The media is 100 percent committed to designating "first-tier" candidates solely on basis of whether corporate America "trusts" them enough to pour millions into their campaign coffers and if they have "rock star" name recognition. Qualifications? Qualifications? What Qualifications?