Politicians have been calling each other unqualified forever. Literally since politics was invented, people fighting for the same coveted position have accused their opponent of being unqualified, because “duh.” The thing is, it’s a very subjective term. I might think you’re qualified for a job, but someone else might not think you are, even if it’s the same job and they’re in the same interview with you and me. It’s just how it works. Somethings aren’t cut and dry like that.
So why are people so pissed off at Bernie Sanders for saying that, in his opinion, Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president? I know why, of course, so it’s kind of rhetorical for me to ask. Hillary supporters are deathly afraid of Clinton having to face attack ads from Republicans featuring Bernie calling her unqualified. Newsflash, Hillary Fans, they are going to call Hillary much worse than “unqualified,” and they’d have lobbed that one at her regardless, with or without Sanders’ help.
Secondly, maybe in Sanders view, she isn’t qualified. Hell, there are people in your own party who don’t think she’s qualified. I personally think that’s not the case and if anything she’s too qualified to be the kind of president we don’t need right now, but it’s all a matter of opinion. And the truth is, what Sanders is basing his assessment on? They’re solid critiques of Hillary’s career.
To wit, here’s Sanders’ full quote, as reported by Politico:
“Now the other day, I think, Secretary Clinton appeared to be getting a little bit nervous,” he began. “We have won, we have won seven out of eight of the recent primaries and caucuses. And she has been saying lately that she thinks that I am, quote unquote, not qualified to be president.
“Well let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds,” he said. “I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.” (source)
So really what Senator Sanders is saying is that if Hillary Clinton is going to be the Wall Street Candidate, that makes her unqualified to be president in this day and age. That’s it. He’s not saying she’s a criminal. He’s not saying she should be indicted over the email witch hunt. He’s not even talking shit on her career as a Senator or Secretary of State like Republicans will if she’s given the nod. All he’s doing is being consistent with his message. He’s been the anti-Wall Street candidate from day one; why should he stop now?
And guess what? Sanders is right. While Clinton didn’t just come right out and call Bernie unqualified, she declined to say he was qualified for the job when she was given the chance to by the “Morning Joe” hosts on MSNBC. Sure, she can claim through political rhetoric that there’s a difference between not answering a question and outright calling someone unqualified, but give me a fucking break will you? This is exactly the kind of slick, political sophistry that people don’t like about Hillary. So while it may inspire more of her fans to come out, it won’t inspire anyone from Bernie’s camp to switch allegiances.
That being said, of course Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president. Like I said before though, you could almost make an argument she’s too groomed, too programmed, too qualified to be the kind of president I think we need. But that’s just my opinion, of course. Still, Sanders probably could have made his point a little differently, perhaps using words like “maybe” or “I feel like this makes her unqualified,” but it strikes me that the hub-bub over Sanders’ criticisms speaks to a larger problem Hillary and some of her supporters have — they don’t like an equal fight.
God forbid someone has a legitimate criticism of Ms. Clinton. If they levy it in front of her or super-fans you’re going to be called a “right wing troll” or that you buy into Karl Rove talking points. They’ll call you sexist. Or they’ll blow your comments out of proportion.
Yes, what Bernie said was harsh. But it was accurate from his point of view. Again, if you think the Republicans will stop simply at “she’s not qualified,” you’re high as a kite. Politics is ugly and nasty. Hillary is capable of her own “artful smears” and has shown it over and over again. Maybe in his subjective opinion Bernie thinks Hillary isn’t qualified, so instead of freaking out on him, why don’t we just wait and see how many voters agree or disagree with that assessment. Or you know, not, and we can all freak out and pretend as if him saying it is literally the Holocaust and Justin Bieber combined, sure.
So let’s just hold hands and build a bridge over this one together, shall we?