Thursday, April 07, 2016

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders & The War Of The Qualifications

by JASmius

Well, at least we don't have THIS food fight going on on our side of the great divide, as Ted Cruz is to Donald Trump on qualifications what a Lamborghini is to a wino stumbling down the stairs.  The problem the GOP has is that over a third of its voters adamantly prefer the wino, complete with pants-pooping in the crumpled heap at the bottom.

What I find tiresome about the Bern-Hill grade school playground slap fight is the imprecision of nomenclature.  Hell, I'm seeing it in the coverage of their kerfuffle.  Just about everybody is confusing qualification with eligibility with principle/conviction (the latter of which will always have a different connotation where Mrs. Clinton is concerned).  Let's take these one at a time.

ELIGIBILITY: Both Commissar Rodham and Senator Sanders are over thirty-five years old.  God, are they over thirty-five years old.  Sanders laps that number and Herself is knocking on the door.  If they get any older, they're going to have to go in for organ replacements.

Also, both are native-born Americans with all four parents having been U.S. citizens at the time of their ancient births.  So sorry, no drama about the constitutional originalist candidate's father being Cuban and the Mussolini wannabe candidate being as American as BJs.

QUALIFICATIONS: Sanders has some minimalist executive experience as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.  He's been in the House and Senate for twenty-five years, which is long enough to have sponsored or otherwise gotten his name on some successful legislation or other, although nothing comes to mind.  He was chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for a biennium.  And, oh yes, he was a delegate to the 1980 Socialist Workers Party convention.  It doesn't exactly make a reviewer cream themselves, but from an objective standpoint, it's a measurable something.

Mrs. Clinton married a man who later became governor of Arkansas and a two-term POTUS, and rode him like the Old Man of the Sea to a U.S. Senate seat that was gift-wrapped and handed to her, in which she did nothing except snore....

....authored or sponsored or cosponsored no legislation, chaired no committees or subcommitees, like she was never there at all.  She ran for president in 2008 and lost, then took the mantle of Commissar State and proceeded to blunder into the "reset button" fiasco with the Russians, turn most of the Middle East over to the Global Jihad via the "Arab Spring" disaster, lay the ground work for the Iran nuclear "deal," directly oversaw the Benghazi massacre, and otherwise ran up a buttload of frequent-flier miles, deservedly ranking her in the Foggy Bottom Hall of Fame somwhere below James G. Blaine.

So Sanders has her on length of tenure and accomplishments, although that's not saying much.  And, it must be said, both would have the edge on either finalist on the GOP side, especially the real-life alternate timeline Biff Tannen.  But then a third or so of "Republican" voters seem to like that kind of thing.  Which speaks to the fact that ideology and qualification are two different things - essentially the former is what you would do with the latter.

And that gets to the one, key area in which Mrs. Clinton is vastly more qualified than Weekend Bernie: She has been on the national stage for a quarter of a century, while he's been on it for not even a full year, and he is a "populist" pretender, while she is part of, yes, the "establishment".  A status you do not either attain or retain for long if you don't know the ins and outs of your chosen profession.

Is any of the above what either of them touched on?  No, not really, although her majesty came closer than Bernie did:

Mrs. Clinton: I think he hasn’t done his homework and he’s been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions. What that goes to is for voters to say can he deliver, can he help people, can he help our economy?

Scarborough: What do you think?

Mrs. Clinton: Obviously I think I’m by far the better choice. 
Scarborough: Do you think he is qualified, and do you think he is capable to deliver on the things he is promising to all these Democrat voters?

Mrs. Clinton: Let me put it this way, Joe. I think that what he has been saying about the core issues in his whole campaign doesn’t seem to be rooted in an understanding of either the law or the practical ways you get something done. I will leave it to the voters to decide who of us can do the job that the country needs, who can do all aspects of the job, both on the economic domestic issues and on national security and foreign policy.... 
I think what you saw in the New York Daily News raises questions for voters, and the front page of the news, which is one of my biggest contrasts with Senator Sanders, that he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook. It is just unimaginable to me. [emphases added]

To the immediate point, if Barack Obama couldn't get this nonsensically unjust notion of pillaging gun manufacturers for the murderous actions of criminals rammed into unconstitutional law by any means necessary, it's highly doubtful that she could, any more than the Bern.  But she'd probably have a better chance than he would, because she at least talks a better game, and has a better concept of what's actually possible.  It's also why she's such a shameless and congenital confabulator in the Donk primary campaign, knowing what she has to do and say to capture the Democrat nomination and then the presidency itself.  Why else does anybody think her husband ego-stroked Donald Trump into the GOP side of the contest?  It was the only way she could win in November.  And first and foremost, professional politics is about winning elections.  Something at which La Clinton Nostra has traditionally excelled, although hauling this bloody cow into the Oval Office is its greatest challenge.  Which really settles the question of which Democrat candidate is the more qualified.

Put bluntly, "establishmentarians" will ALWAYS be more and better qualified than "populist" outsiders.  Period, exclamation point.  It's just that too many voters aren't accepting that common sense reality this cycle.  Which only means that they'll be learning that lesson the hard way.

Weekend Bernie, meanwhile, was indignantly going out and proving Hillary's point:

"My response is if you want to question my qualifications, then maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications Madame [Commissar]," he said.

Sanders added: "When you voted for the war in Iraq, the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in the history of America, you might want to question your qualifications. When you voted for trade agreements that cost millions of Americans decent paying jobs, and the American people might want to wonder about your qualifications. When you're spending an enormous amount of time raising money for your super PAC from some of the wealthiest people in this country, and from some of the most outrageous special interests ... Are your qualified to be president of the United States when you're raising millions of dollars from Wall Street whose greed and recklessness helped destroy out economy?"

Yata, yata, yata, blah, blah, blah.  Essentially an ideological purity argument, which is ironic given that what triggered this quarrel was his deviating from leftwingnut orthodoxy on smearing gun manufacturers.  Regardless, nothing in Sanders' angry retort touched remotely on Mrs. Clinton's qualifications for the presidency, and he showed what a tender greenhorn he is by letting himself get provoked into conspicuously displaying it.

Point, Hillary.

So what of any substance can we take away from this amusing sideshow?  That Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both eligible to be POTUS, neither are more than minimally qualified, and both would do horrible, terrible things with the office once it was in hand.  Whereas, on the other side, Ted Cruz is not technically eligible while Donald Trump is an honorary Italian....

....Cruz is minimally qualified while Trump is completely unqualified in voluminous ways, and Trump would do most or all of the horrible, terrible things Bern and Hill would while Cruz is the closest thing we'll ever get in this lifetime to a constitutional originalist presidency.

If voters wanted top qualifications, we had Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal.  Clearly qualifications, properly understood, aren't what a lot of voters are looking for this cycle.  And that may be the source of a tsunami of regret in the not too distant future.

UPDATE: Aaaaaaand right on cue:

Sanders had the support of 47% of Democrat or Democrat-leaning voters while [Mrs.] Clinton had 46% — a narrow gap that fell within the poll’s 2.5 percent margin of error. The national survey was conducted in the days before the Vermont senator handily defeated the former [commissar] of state in the Wisconsin primary, and it tracks other polls in the last week that found Sanders erasing [Mrs.] Clinton’s edge across the country. In a poll that PRRI conducted in January, [Mrs.] Clinton had a twenty-point lead.

Not any more.  But also far too little, far too late.

Somehow, though, I think the Wells-Fargo Center will survive.

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