Is Hillary “Not Qualified” to be President?

By | 4/07/2016 Leave a Comment
Hillary Clinton "Not Qualified" to be president

The war of words between the two Democratic presidential candidates has escalated over the past two days, with Senator Sanders now accusing Mrs. Clinton of being “not qualified” for the top job and blaming her for starting the latest round of heated exchanges between the competing camps. 

Clinton for her part referred to the accusation as “silly,” while her campaign issued statements pointing out that she had never said the same thing of Sanders. And two of her high-profile surrogates – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Claire McCaskill – rushed to her defense, suggesting that Sanders had crossed the line.

But did he cross the line? And did she start this latest spat?

To answer the first question you’d have to quantify just what exactly qualifies a person to be president, and that would surely have to be in the eye of the beholder. After all, if George W. Bush was considered to be qualified for the job – twice – then a strong argument could be made that just about anyone is.

But on paper at least, Clinton has about as good a case to make that she is qualified as anyone could hope for: Eight years as first lady, where she took a very active policy role in her husband’s presidency; eight years in the Senate representing the state of New York; and four years as Foreign Secretary under President Obama.  Hardly chicken feed.

But Sanders isn’t questioning her qualifications from a resume standpoint; he’s suggesting her past and present policy positions – such as her vote for the Iraq war and her support of free trade agreements – as well as her links to Wall Street and Washington lobbyists are what prevent her from having the bona fides for the highest office in the land. In other words, it’s a question of ethics not experience.

As for who started this latest back-and-forth, when the race in Wisconsin ended so badly for the Clinton campaign, she and her team headed for New York even before the polls were closed, eager to prevent yet another loss and shore up a firewall in the state she once represented. 

And it didn’t take long for them to start taking aim at their opponent. After Sanders stumbled in an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board, Clinton tore into him, saying “I'd think he hadn't done his homework and he has been talking for more than a year about ... things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood and that does raise a lot of questions and really what it does is for voters to ask themselves, can he deliver what he is talking about, can he really help people.”

Then there were the assertions that much of New York’s gun crime was a result of weapons coming in from the Senator’s home state (since debunked), soon followed a another slam over the Sandy Hook victims families lawsuit, accusing him of taking the side of gun manufacturers by voting for a piece of legislation in 2005 that limited their liability from victims of gun violence – an attack line that soon backfired after an outcry over her using the Sandy Hook massacre for political gain.

Was the Sanders campaign likely to take all of that lying down? Not a chance. The gloves came off and the retaliation was swift and hard.

The upshot:

Whether or not Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president is a question for each individual voter to decide, but if she’s going to play hardball with the guy from Brooklyn there’s going to be plenty more street fighting rhetoric where that came from.

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