The Qualifications to Become President

I've read quite a bit in various places about who is and is not qualified to be president. I.e., suggestions that Obama isn't "qualified" due to some factor or another (youth, inexperience, etc). The qualifications are actually quite simple, per Wikipedia:
Article Two of the Constitution sets the principal qualifications to be eligible for election as President. A Presidential candidate must:
  • be a natural-born citizen of the United States;
  • be at least thirty-five years old;
  • have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.
Additionally, the Constitution disqualifies some people from the Presidency. Under Article One of the United States Constitution, the Senate has the option, upon conviction, of disqualifying impeached individuals from holding other federal offices, including the Presidency.[4] Under the Twenty-Second Amendment, no one can be elected President more than twice. The Twenty-Second Amendment also specifies that anyone who serves more than two years as President or Acting President, of a term for which someone else was elected President, can only be elected President once. Under the Twelfth Amendment a person who is no longer eligible to be President may not be Vice President either.
Now, as far as I can tell, there's no one currently running in this race who does not meet the above standards.

There are, of course other requirements, but those have more to do with the process. In order to become President, you need to first win the support of your own party and then win the support, via the electoral college, of your country.

Clearly, with respect to whatever arbitrary standards one may wish to use to suggest that Obama is not qualified to be president, he fits all the constitutional requirements.

Furthermore, he seems to be ready to claim one other component of the requirements I added below: winning the support of his party.

I should take a moment and explain something: political parties are private entities. They have the right to choose a nominee via whatever process they so desire. If their means by which to do so does not lead to victory, they may revisit that mechanism in the future, but it's up to the party to work out their own process for selecting a nominee. Our own process is fairly Democratic when it comes to individual states: instead of using winner-take-all, we make it proportional, in an attempt to reflect consensus. But it's not at all democratic to include unelected superdelegates into the mix, so we've got a fairly odd mix of a democratic and non-democratic process.

And we've had this from the beginning.

This is bittersweet for me. I wasn't a fan of Obama at first, and I don't view him through rose-colored glasses, but he's won me over, flaws and all.

But here's what it boils down to for me, and this is how Obama won my support: he won everybody else's support. He won a lot of contests that he wasn't expected to win, and in winning he not only demonstrated his ability as a formidable campaigner, he demonstrated his ability to work in a wide variety of styles of elections and locations. He demonstrated flexibility, strength and creativity, and he faced myriad challenges. Time after time, his campaign would hit a roadblock that seemed like it would be a serious burden and then something would happen to move beyond it.

He won my support by showing me that he could challenge other opponents in ways I never expected and demonstrated some extremely clever political savvy, to the point where, when the campaign made mistakes, I had to remind myself that these people are still new to this.

I'd love to live long enough to see the first woman president. I'd love to live to see the first non-white president. I think there's a chance I can get to see both of these things in my lifetime, but we'll see whether or not I get to see either.

Neither of these things, to me, is a reason to support a candidate. For either of these candidates to get as far as they did, it took some real political power (and chutzpah), but that's not why either of them deserves support. They both deserve support because they're Democrats who have mounted formidable campaigns to oppose a man who, if elected, will do further damage to this country.

But, in the end, we can only elect one of them to be President.

So we have a choice here: we can complain about how badly our favored candidate was treated. And that's okay, on both sides. Both Obama and Clinton have been treated badly by the media and by one another. So yeah, fine, complain for a little bit, and work it out.

But once that's done... we can continue to campaign or we can figure out where we need to go from here.

And that starts with realizing what it means to be qualified to be President. And being in the Senate, or being in D.C., or being a politician? That's not what qualifies you. Any cabinet will need people who know Washington and know the way things work there. Any cabinet will need people who know how to get things done.

But President? That just requires that you meet a few basic requirements and draw enough people to vote for you that you win an election.

Clinton? Obama? They may or may not fulfill that requirement, but it's not so relevant now which one does or does not. We pretty much have our nominee.

So, Obama supporters? Celebrate tonight, and be a little petty if you feel a need to be. You get one night of free gloating.

Clinton supporters? Mourn tonight, and be a little angry if you feel a need to be. You get one night of free being pissed off at the world and the party. And if you need to take another night or two to work this out, great.

But here's my thought: let's take Monday and make it "clean slate" day: no matter how petulant, rude, insulting, condescending, sexist, racist, whiny, etc, anyone's been? It's done. It's over.

Come Monday, no one gets to say "but what about..." in reference to some perceived slight from February.

Come Monday, we brush ourselves off from it all and go to work.

I'm not asking anyone to commit to this. I'm just putting it out there and saying I'm willing to work for my third choice in this race and if you want to join me, I'd be thrilled.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, president (all tags)



Re: The Qualifications to Become President

Article Two of the Constitution sets the principal qualifications to be eligible for election as President. A Presidential candidate must:

   * be a natural-born citizen of the United States;
    * be at least thirty-five years old;
    * have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.
---------------------------------------- ----------

Thank you for the information.

So artificial birth is incompatible with becoming President of the US.  

by french imp 2008-06-03 03:29AM | 0 recs
That means that a corporation CANNOT become Presid


Corporate persons have free speech, which is represented by money. For a corporation to rule, or vote, like they do in Hong Kong, would be opening us up to major shenanigans. I personally think that we should make it much clearer that corporate persons have never been given their alleged rights by legal means, and ideally, I would like to see corporate personhood ENDED. Corporations are NOT people.

by architek 2008-06-03 04:08AM | 0 recs
Re: That means that a corporation CANNOT

I agree. There's something hopefully both camps on MyDD can support. (Longtime Obama supporter here)

As for your tagline, I could most definitely argue that one with you quite vociferously. How about I'll let it go today, and you change taglines next week maybe?

by X Stryker 2008-06-03 11:29AM | 0 recs
I guess they're going to have to clarify that for

IVF babies in a few years. The oldest American IVF baby is 26 now.

by grass 2008-06-03 04:13AM | 0 recs
Re: I guess they're going to have to clarify that

I believe in this case "natural born" means either born in the U.S. or its territories, or born to U.S. citizens living over seas.

by looty 2008-06-03 04:32AM | 0 recs
Re: I guess they're going to have to clarify that

Forget "natural," if you even have to be "born" then that means that C-section babies are ineligible.

At least that's what I learned from Macbeth.

So, no presidents who were from their "mother's womb untimely ripp'd."

by NeverNude 2008-06-03 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

Ha, I'm never heard that one beefore.

by Deadalus 2008-06-03 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

That's right; it has to be at-home natural birth--no painkillers and preferably in a log cabin.

Pretty soon only the children of the Unabomber will be eligible.

by Captain Bathrobe 2008-06-03 11:35AM | 0 recs

Obama did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

Seriously, read the piece CBS News has on its political blog: 2/opinion/main4145761.shtml

by katmandu1 2008-06-03 04:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Well

To be clear, you are linking to a piece from the National Review Online, authored by Stanley Kurtz. So, I'm not sure why any reasonable person would be interested in its contents.

by DPW 2008-06-03 04:09AM | 0 recs

by grass 2008-06-03 04:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Sheesh

Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Republican Crap?

by xdem 2008-06-03 04:34AM | 0 recs
Two different and wholly appropriate...

Shakespeare references in one thread.  It's is a welcome suprise.

by nklein 2008-06-03 05:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Two different and wholly appropriate...

I don't think this one's Shakespeare.  It's Henry II, giving the not-all-that-subtle signal to his knights to rid him of Thomas Becket.  Shakespeare didn't start writing about the Plantagenets until Richard II.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that gets out votes with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in 'Murrca now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

(Adapted from Henry V.  I would have made it gender-neutral, but that would have demolished the meter.)

by mistersite 2008-06-03 06:20AM | 0 recs
I don't know why, but I thought...

"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" was a line from Shakespeare.  Is it from a play then or is it from a "history" of Henry II.  I liked "Lion in the Winter" with Patrick Stewart (did I just mix up more English literary, arts and political history?)

by nklein 2008-06-03 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't know why, but I thought...
"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" was a line from Shakespeare.
As far as I know, it's Becket.
by juliewolf 2008-06-03 07:12AM | 0 recs
i guess you mean

Henry II, in relation to Becket.  But it was Henry II that said it

by ab03 2008-06-03 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: i guess you mean
I meant it was a line from Becket, not a line from the great bard.
by juliewolf 2008-06-03 01:05PM | 0 recs
The O'Toole "Lion in Winter"...

kicks the Stewart versions arse.  You just can't beat the chemistry between Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn--not to mention a very young Anthony Hopkins as a homosexual Richard the Lionhearted.

by Elsinora 2008-06-03 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

I do like the idea of a moratorium, maybe with Obama supporters actually leaving the site, until Monday. At some point we'll have to draw a line and say anyone not supporting the nominee is a Republican, but a cooling off period is in order.

by Travis Stark 2008-06-03 04:11AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

Anyone not supporting Barack Obama is not a Republican. Anyone campaigning for McCain is a rebuplican.

Do we really need to be the same party as that of the Republicans? Party over Country? Or even Obama over party. He's one guy- he's not the whole party.

Oh and as far as the eligibility qualifications to become president, Bush passed those too. Let's set the bar a little higher than just meeting the criteria to be eligible to run for president.

by Justwords 2008-06-03 04:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

So does a person stating that they will vote for McCain n Novembe make them a Republican?

by parahammer 2008-06-03 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

No, just an asshole.

by reconad 2008-06-03 10:14AM | 0 recs
We will have two candidates for President

Anyone not supporting one, will be helping the other. If you are not supporting the Democrat, then you are supporting the Republican. Hence, if you are not supporting the Democratic nominee, then if not a Republican, you are at the least a supporter of the Republican nominee, which is a meaningless distinction.

by Travis Stark 2008-06-03 06:15AM | 0 recs
Re: We will have two candidates for President

my vote will not matter...i don't live in  a swing i will vote as i choose and not help or hurt either candidate...that's America!!

by jentwisl 2008-06-03 07:52AM | 0 recs
Fair enough

If you think your state is safely red or blue, then in my book it's unnecessary to vote "strategically" and you can instead vote your conscience. For example, as a Californian, I probably wouldn't have had to vote for any war-authorizing Senators from NY. If it was close, though, I would have held my nose and did it.

Still, be sure to support and donate to your downticket Democrats.

by mikeinsf 2008-06-03 11:57AM | 0 recs
So is the a Party Purge?

Ya'll are so silly.  We get a night to "get over it".  Honey you reach my age and put up with the crap I have - you don't get over it - but you do move on.  How I move on is my business.  And you don't get to dictate anything.  Your condescending attitude is almost amusing.  

And no, you don't get to throw me out of the Democratic party anymore than I get to throw out these Johnny-Come-Lately past Republicans who rail against Bill Clinton.  

And no, you don't get to treat me anyway you want and then expect me to sit down and shut up.  

So you want this site to be another circle jerk like Kos...well fine.  Maybe that is what it will be.  But don't be surprised on election when you realize there is a whole functioning world of pissed off people you threw away.


by emmasaint 2008-06-03 08:23AM | 0 recs
Bill was not a progressive

Funny how people forget that a lot of Democrats were suspicious of Bill's rightward leanings before he got the nomination.  Many accurately foresaw his 'third way' talk as a sign of future betrayals against bedrock Democratic ideals.

His presidency was good, but let's be clear, it's not just "Johnny-come-latelys" that see his shortcomings.  Many of us were there at the beginning and weren't too thrilled with such jewels as DOMA, media deregulation, etc.

by mikeinsf 2008-06-03 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: We will have two candidates for President

It always surprises me that Republicans win the majority of the time considering there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. So Independants, Decline to States (DS), and all the other registered parties are the ones that push whatever nominee over the edge to President are the 'deciders', yet they are neither Democrat nor Republican.

Your attitude is very black and white in a very gray world and thinking only Democrats will be needed to elect a Democratic President is an idealogy that is as outdated as the world is flat.

Not supporting a particular candidate makes you a Free American, not a meaningless distinction.

by Justwords 2008-06-03 02:10PM | 0 recs
Dear, dear julie, bless you for trying

but this primary has brought out the worse of not only candidate supporters, but repug operation chaos and the false progressive mantra idiots who don't seem to know what real progressive politics are. It has totally turned me off from both parties. They have become exactly the same-pitiful, absolutely pitiful.

So on a human level, hope you are well and just enjoy nature and I wish you peace. (Do not try to convince me to support Obama-its not going to happen.) I will probably vote Nader or sit this farce out)

by roseeriter 2008-06-03 04:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear, dear julie, bless you for trying

John McCain sincerely hopes you do.

by Travis Stark 2008-06-03 06:16AM | 0 recs
Don't care

about John McCain.  Threats are not going to work anymore.

by emmasaint 2008-06-03 08:24AM | 0 recs
I'm not threatening anyone

just stating fact

by Travis Stark 2008-06-03 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't care

Yeah, since you're not in a trench in Iraq, why should you care?

by mikeinsf 2008-06-03 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: What are ...

... "real progressive politics?"  Enlighten me.

by Brad G 2008-06-03 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear, dear julie, bless you for trying
Rose-- I think it's best if you and I just don't talk politics for a little bit, but I thank you for the kind words and yes, nature's been really fun lately. I've had some pretty incredible photos as of late (see Birding New England) I wouldn't dream of trying to convince you of anything :)
by juliewolf 2008-06-03 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear, dear julie, bless you for trying
Wow! Fabulous website. Thanks for the link!
by french imp 2008-06-03 07:29AM | 0 recs
Very excellent bird web site!

(This is the Julie I like:-))

by roseeriter 2008-06-03 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Very excellent bird web site!
There is only one Julie. You'll soon come to see that...
by french imp 2008-06-03 08:28AM | 0 recs
Well to be fair

The 'qualification' argument against Obama has never been about the Constitutional requirements; I think you think that. That's a red herring. The arguments have been that Sen. Obama has not been around long enough to run for President, has no national experience (or very little), has not worked on significant legislation, shirked his duties as state senator, and has never faced a competitive election.

Whether you or I agree with any of this is irrelevant since no one has ever put forth the idea that Sen. Obama is Constitutionally unqualified to run for office -- if he were, he wouldn't be running, period. Let's be fair on both sides.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 04:24AM | 0 recs

You'd be surprised how often I hear the canard about him not being eligible.

I've heard it phonebanking.  I've gotten it canvassing.  My own grandmother, no dolt herself, argued with me Easter weekend that Barack Obama isn't eligible to be President.

by zonk 2008-06-03 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Although

Well, these arguments are easy enough to swat down since obviously he is eligible. That's not even a question.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Weak, weak arguments, VAAlex.

Not around long enough?  What does that mean?  His age?  He's older than Bill Clinton when Clinton was running for President.  

No national experience?  Bill Clinton had ZERO national experience when he ran for president.

No significant legislation?  Name me the significant legislation that Hillary Clinton passed as first lady or senator.  

Shirked his duties as state senator?  Please provide proof of this.  If you don't have any, then retract it.  And if you cite to those "present" votes, you have absolutely no credibility whatsoever.  

Never faced competitive election?  What?  And Hillary Clinton has?  FYI, Obama ran for a House seat in 2000 and lost.  And, oh, yeah, he went up against the inevitable, party establishment candidate in Hillary Clinton and won, running one of the best planned, organized, and historic primary campaigns ever.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

You DO realize I was making the argument that other people have been making, don't you? Didn't you read to the end? "Regardless of whether you or I agree with them, they have nothing to do with Constitutional requirements?"

I'm not making these arguments. I was pointing out that the qualification argument has nothing to do with the Constitutional question and more to do with these questions.

Weak, weak, reading, ProfessorReo.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

My mistake, I assumed you were endorsing those arguments.  I'm just sick of hearing these racist dog whistle "Obama is unqualified" (read: he's an inadequate black man!) nonsense, especially the closer Obama gets to becoming the nominee.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

We all make mistakes. However, these are not racist arguments -- if you take them as such, I'm not sure how. I definitely don't read "inadequate black man" when I hear unqualified.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

It's an "affirmative action" dog whistle.  And apparently, one of her supporters heard it loud and clear.  

Here's the fuller context of her dog whistle argument: She and her supporters have analogized choosing a president to a "hiring decision."  In this hiring decision, you're supposed to choose the most qualified candidate, the one with the best resume.  She's been arguing she's qualified, has the necessary experience, while Obama is inexperienced and unqualified and therefore should not be "hired" as President.  

That is exactly the argument made against unqualified blacks getting jobs over qualified whites.  She just omitted the word "black."  But, the structure of the argument is identical to the anti-affirmative action argument.  And Harriet Christian heard the dog whistle loud and clear.  

Additionally, the argument hasn't even been that subtle.  Geraldine Ferraro came out and said it explicitly when she said Obama is where he is because he's black, even though he's "unqualified."  

I've never heard the term "unqualified" used so prominently to critique a presidential candidate before.  Usually you hear critiques on a person's policy positions, his flip flopping, her being too liberal, but, unqualified?  If you know of instances in past elections where a nominee was attacked for being unqualified, I'd be interested in hearing about them.

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

So we can't discuss the qualifications of a minority candidates for president?

by Mayor McCheese 2008-06-03 06:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

No, that's not my point.  

My point is, the term qualifications is not a very useful term for thinking about who you or I should choose as president.  That's because the "qualifications" for president are not very easily quantifiable.  

With Supreme Court justices, we do have informal qualifications - we usually think a nominee should be a lawyer, and preferable have experience as a judge.  

But, with President, you have had people with vastly different experiences and backgrounds running for president.  Bill Clinton, for example, had ZERO federal government experience in running for president.  Hillary's critiques of Obama's "qualifications" could be used to argue that Hillary is more "qualified" than Bill when he ran for President.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Sure you can argue it, and points can be made for and against. Bill also had more executive experience and in the views of some, that's what matters more. But we can never have an honest debate if addressing the qualifications of Obama is "racism."

by Mayor McCheese 2008-06-03 06:55AM | 0 recs
No you can't

We can't discuss anything negative about Our Dear Leader.  We cannot discuss anything negative about His Wife, His Pastor, His Friends, Chicago, His life choices, His race-baiting.  All are not verboten.

Please reprogram all opinions to the correct, Democratic ones immediately or you will be sent to the Donna Brazile Democratic Re-Education Camp.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

by emmasaint 2008-06-03 08:28AM | 0 recs

that's some tasty bait but no thanks, I'll be celebrating tonite no matter how hard you operatives try to tempt

by KLRinLA 2008-06-03 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Also, in Clinton's NY Daily News op-ed piece addressing her RFK statement, she said that she deserves to win the nomination "on the merits."  "Merit" is also a key term in the affirmative action debate - i.e., people should get jobs on the basis of merit, not on the basis of race.  So, if Hillary has won the nomination on the merits, then why is Obama, an unqualified candidate, winning?  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

No, I'm not saying that.  I'm criticizing Hillary Clinton, not her supporters, for making the racist dog whistle argument.  

Also, I'm not sure what you mean when you say "unqualified means unqualified."  The term is not self-defining.  If you believe Obama is unqualified to be president, please define what you mean by unqualified, since over 17 million people believe he is supremely "qualified" to be president.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Qualified as in having the necessary experience to run the government based on your accrued life history. Over 17 million people believe Clinton beats Obama on this argument as well. We can argue about what's necessary experience and what's not, but that's the point -- we're now arguing about experience, and not about race. You seem to be injecting race into one of the few areas -- Clinton's experience argument -- that race really hasn't played a role in.

She's not saying that because he's black he's not qualified -- she's saying that she has much more government and related experience that she is more qualified than he is to be president. That's the argument, and race has nothing to do with it.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Sorry, I don't buy this argument. I think it's perfectly legitimate to consider whether someone is qualified to be president regardless of their race. I don't see this as a 'dog whistle' argument at all. Hillary Clinton's argument has always been that she is more qualified to be president, has more experience, knowledge of how the government works, and can use that knowledge to be a better president. Her argument has never been about Obama's race, but simply about his experience.

If you're turning that into some sort of reverse-affirmative action argument, that's your right to do so but I don't buy it. I just don't read into it what you do. Obama's race never once entered into my calculations as to whether he is qualified to be President, and I'm pretty sure it hasn't into Clinton's argument as well.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

You're not understanding my point.  This "qualified" argument is novel.  I ask again, have you ever heard this argument being used before to attack a presidential nominee?

As this diarist points out, there are only 3 official qualifications.  The term qualifications imply a set of objective criteria that a person needs to meet in order to be considered for a position.

Thus, in hiring, employers say a candidate must have a college degree, 3 years of experience in x, etc., etc.  

We don't have those objective qualifications for President, so it makes no sense to talk about a candidate as being qualified or unqualified.  

Unless, you have some other reason for using that term.  Hillary Clinton is the master of spin and strategic use of words.  She doesn't accidentally say anything.  I stand by what I've written.  If you review the structure and language of her "I'm more qualified" argument, it is an argument to explain why Obama is winning the nomination despite being unqualified.  Because, as Geraldine Ferraro said, he's black.  Yeah, Hillary hasn't come out and said that, but she's too smart for that.  That's why she whistles to the dogs.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

To further clarify my position, I'm objecting to the way she has framed her argument that she should be president, rather than objecting to the substance.  Sure, if she thinks she has more experience than her opponent, she has every right to make that argument.  I don't buy that argument, btw, since Obama has 11 years of experience as a legislator while Clinton has only 8 years.  

No, my critique is the way she uses the term "qualifications" to frame her experience meme.  More specifically, how she has framed the choice of president as a "hiring decision" where the voters are employers who look over resumes to determine who is most qualified to be president.  

As I've argued, choosing a president is NOT like a typical hiring decision.  I know, I've made hiring decisions, and choosing a president is most definitely not like a hiring decision.

So, I ask, is it just totally innocuous that Hillary chose to frame the argument as a hiring decision based on objective job "qualifications?"  Do you deny that the structure of her argument is consistent with the structure of arguments against affirmative action and the hiring of unqualified or less qualified racial minorities over the better qualified white candidate?

This isn't just a matter of semantics, it's about whether Clinton's supporters feel like Obama "stole" the election from Clinton.  The way Hillary has framed it, a less qualified person getting the nomination over the more qualified, more deserving person, then it sure feeds into the notion that the election has been stolen, doesn't it?  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

This 'qualified' argument is not novel. It was lobbed against George W. Bush. He didn't have enough experience, didn't know Washington really, wasn't qualified in part because he didn't have foreign policy experience.

This is not a new argument. What is a new argument is the one you're making -- that somehow, because Barack Obama is a minority candidate, he should be given a pass on whether he is qualified or not exactly because he is a minority candidate. That's what I have a problem with.

And the raving small minority of the Clinton camp who says that the election was 'stolen' does not speak on behalf of the vast majority of us who are happy to see this end. That's a mistake that happens a lot on here these days -- that anything said of the extremes from both camps somehow represents the entire camp. You know this is not true.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Bingo. It's silly to argue that the qualifications of a presidential candidate were never attacked before. In 1992, the GOP certainly tried this with Bill Clinton calling him a "failed governor of a small state". Dukakis was similar portrayed as unfit for a number of reasons. We did it (correctly) to W. This just isn't a racial issue.

by Mayor McCheese 2008-06-03 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Please, try to understand my point.  If it is true that Bush was criticized in the same way Obama was criticized, please provide a link or two to an article showing that the argument was made exactly the way Hillary has made the argument.

Show proof that the Gore campaign specifically contended that Bush was "unqualified to be president.  Show proof that Gore compared choosing a president to a hiring decision.  Show proof that Gore said he had a better resume than Bush.

Also, you keep talking about what others think.  What do you think, VAAlex?  Do you consider Obama "unqualified" to be president?  Why or why not?

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Easy enough. "Gore, in Moon, asks if Bush is qualified": 000316gore1.asp

As far as specifically choosing to argue that there's something wrong with looking at electing a President as a hiring decision -- which it obviously is -- where was your outrage at Gov. Richardson? His entire ad line was about him being interviewed for president as if were applying for a job. I thought the ads were funny and hit home on the fact that he has a lot of executive experience.

And by the way pointing to an argument is not the same as endorsing it. If that was the case, we could never talk about an argument without endorsing it. We could never talk about Republican arguments against Democrats because we would be endorsing them. We could never talk about Hitler's reasoning for invading Poland because we would be endorsing them. This is a silly argument to make.

As for what I think, I think both Obama and Clinton are qualified to be President. I also think Sen. Clinton is more qualified to be President, and it has nothing to do with race. Anything else?

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

First, the link.  That's the best you could come up with?  There isn't even a direct quote of Gore using the language of "unqualified."

Second, I never heard about those Richardson commercials, so can't really comment.  They don't quite sound like the argument that Clinton has been making against Obama, though.  

Third, I never said you can't talk about an argument without endorsing it.  But, you never stated your position and I wanted to know.  

Fourth, please define for me what you mean by "better qualified."  I'd really like to know.  Is it an objective standard for you?  In other words, grades and SAT scores, for example, are objective qualifications used to claim that one student is more qualified than another.  Do you believe Clinton is more qualified than Obama according to some objective, quantifiable measures?

Or, are you using more intangible qualities?  Or a combination of both objective and intangible qualities?

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

It's not the best I could come up, it's what I could come up with within 3 seconds of Googling. The point is that this isn't unique to this campaign and in fact plenty of other primaries have had 'qualification' as a key determinant of who would be a better President. A huge part of the 2000 GE was exactly about this -- how did you miss this?

Feel free to go on YouTube and search for Richardson's ads.

As for qualifications, the fact that Obama has had negligible Washington experience, little foreign policy experience, has not really done much in the way of the Senate (has been in the Senate for only 3 years) are all marks -- in my mind -- against him. I feel Sen. Clinton surpasses him in these metrics. Which is not to say that he's not qualified to be President; I think he is.

But this is my point -- we're now away from any racism arguments and arguing about the actual qualifications of each. Are we racist for doing so? Of course not.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

The problem is that Hillary has been using your points to argue that Obama is indeed unqualified to be president.

And, as I pointed out, by your own metric of qualified, Hillary Clinton is better qualified than Bill Clinton when he ran for President in 1992.  Bill had no Washington experience, no foreign policy experience, and did nothing in the senate because he was never in the senate.  All he had was experience as a state governor in a poor southern state.  

What's my point?  Ultimately, those "qualifications" aren't the basis for the decision we ultimately make to support one candidate over another.  As I suggest, these decisions really rest on intangible qualities that cannot be objectively quantified.  Hillary knows this, but she's using the qualified meme because it suits her strength, and because it's also a very effective dog whistle.  She used this argument a lot when she was campaigning in PA among those hard working, white working class voters.  

To prove my point - why do you think Obama is qualified, even though he doesn't pass muster according to your objective metrics?  Is it that he's just less qualified than Clinton on those metrics?  Or, that there are other qualities of Obama that lead you to consider him "qualified" to be president?

Now, it may seem like I'm being nitpicky about semantics, but, I assure you, I'm not.  Clinton is a master of framing the discussion with cleverly inserted words and phrases.  Her "vast right wing conspiracy" frame was brilliant.  So, I'm strongly suggesting that there were very strategic reasons why Clinton deliberately framed her argument as to why voters should vote for her over Obama as a hiring decision involving an examination of "resumes" and qualifications.  You may not agree with my analysis, but, that's fine, and that's what makes Hillary and Bill such masters of spinning - they can make some very distasteful arguments in ways that aren't so obvious on their face.  

I'm still trying to figure out why Hillary refers to superdelegates as "automatic delegates."  I'm sure there's a strategic reason for it, but, I can't figure it out.  Do you have any clue?

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

This may come as a shock to you, but the reason a LOT of people are supporting Clinton over Obama is exactly because they believe she has more experience and is better qualified to be President than he is. There is no dark intention here, there is no dog whistle, there is nothing but that simple fact. If you're trying to turn this into some sinister racist agenda, that's fine, but by doing so, you're smearing a whole bunch of people who are not racist. Again, your right to do so, but it's not a credible argument.

I've been incredibly disappointed in a lot of people who support Obama and who are otherwise fine Democrats who have engaged in this slash-and-burn crusade to paint the Clintons as racist. That's patently ridiculous.

And frankly, your argument doesn't pass muster. Since Clinton got into this race, before Obama even announced, before it was even thinkable that he could actually challenge her in any meaningful way, that was her argument. So unless you're arguing that she now in actuality possesses precognition and could predict that Obama would be her opponent, it doesn't make sense. Her argument pre-dated Obama, pure and simple. You're finding sinister motives where there are none. I get it that you don't like the Clintons, but don't look for conspiracy theories where there are none.

As for the automatic delegates, they were trying to make them sound more innocuous than they are -- 'superdelegates' has a sort of 'better than regular delegates' sound to it. So if supers did indeed buy their argument, it wouldn't been seen as a coup by some 'super' group. In essence, they were trying to bring super and pledged delegates to the same field. Obviously it's a moot point now.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

I fully stand by my argument, and whether you want to label the Clintons racist or not, it's undisputed that they have engaged in race-baiting tactics throughout the campaign.  Don't you remember the Clinton staff passing around that photo of Obama in traditional African dressing?  I'm not saying Hillary approved of it, but it was her campaign.  And of course, she's the one who did raise the George Wallace "hard working, white working class" meme.  

Additionally, you obfuscate the argument I'm making.  There's a big difference between arguing one has the experience to be president, and arguing that one is qualified to be president.  Those are not interchangeable terms.  If you don't understand this distinction, and why I see it is a meaningful distinction, then you don't understand my argument.  

Hillary didn't start using the "qualified" meme and the hiring decision analogy until later in the campaign, and it was used directly against Obama.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

That's just what I mean! You're not taking a look at things, really, and taking them for face value. Clinton's campaign didn't pass around that photo -- it was concocted by Drudge. Did you bother to check on that or did you automatically believe everything Drudge posted this season? Anyone who even remotely used a race-baiting idea -- like Shaheen and Ferraro -- were let go of the campaign.

To me, the only distinction between 'experience' and qualification is a quantitative one. Is that what you're getting at? Both are qualified, but I believe Clinton is more qualified and experienced than Obama. That's a personal preference, others don't agree. But it's a perfectly legitimate argument to make, and not a racist one.

You still haven't answered why you're not upset that Richardson took the same tactic as 'qualified' early on and you said nothing.

So if all you have is an argument based on the semantics between 'experienced' and 'qualified', then we really have to agree to disagree. Good day.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Well, if you cannot understand the distinction is meaningful and mere semantics, I can't help you out.  

But, consider two statements, one using the term experience, one using the term qualified.  Tell me if you think there is absolutely no difference in meaning and implication between the two sentences:

1. Barack Obama does not have the experience to be commander in chief.

2. Barack Obama is unqualified to be commander in chief.  

It's pretty clear that those two statements are not the same.  The unqualified statement is a much broader and more vague attack on Obama, while the experience statement is more specific and narrow.  Moreover, the experience statement isn't as categorical as the unqualified statement.  To say someone is unqualified rather than merely lacking experience is to make a much stronger statement, more definitive evaluation of the other candidate.

And then add in the fact that "unqualified minorities" is the mantra used to attack affirmative action, whether intentional or not, how can Cinton's insistent message that Obama is unqualified to be President and Commander in Chief not resonate with that meme?  Especially since she actually did state, in unequivocal terms, that Obama failed to meet the threshold (read: unqualified) to be commander in chief while she and McCain have met that threshold.    

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 11:16AM | 0 recs
First sentence should say NOT mere semantics

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

You know what, fine. You want to keep arguing a semantic argument and finding racist motives, feel free to continue to do so. I've said my piece, you've said yours. Good day.

by VAAlex 2008-06-03 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Like I said, if you can't acknowledge there are meaningful differences in the two terms, I can't help you.  But, you could try something out to see if I'm just making a "semantic" argument - when you write future comments, and you  have a choice between using the word experienced or qualified, see if the meaning of the sentence changes, even if slightly, depending on which word you use.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-06-03 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

VAAlex, I think you are intentionally misconstruing Reo's argument.

Obama deserves and has received legitimate criticism about his qualifications--and to the extent that they matter, he is at least as un-qualified as the junior senator from NY (with exactly two political wins under her belt), John Edwards (a single-term senator), etc.  Qualifications, such as they are, would most certainly have resulted in Bill Richardson being President.

We don't elect heart surgeons or airline pilots--wouldn't that be a horrible way to determine who operates on you or flies you across the country?  Leadership is an intangible, hard to quanity and harder to evaluate.  JFK didn't engineer any of the Moon Shot technology--but without his leadership we never set foot on the moon and realize the benefits of the space race, let alone the positional advantage over the Soviets.  

I'm not suggesting Obama is the second coming of JFK--I am suggesting a Presidential candidate is more than the sum of their experience.

I find each candidate worthy, but only one can prevail.

by AK Democrat 2008-06-03 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Y'know

As none other than George Will points out:

The president who came to office with the most glittering array of experiences had served 10 years in the House of Representatives, then became minister to Russia, then served 10 years in the Senate, then four years as secretary of state (during a war that enlarged the nation by 33 percent), then was minister to Britain. Then, in 1856, James Buchanan was elected president and in just one term secured a strong claim to being ranked as America's worst president. Abraham Lincoln, the inexperienced former one-term congressman, had an easy act to follow.

The issue is not a candidate's experience; it's whether or not the candidate's experiences match the needs of the time.  In 1856, James Buchanan, indifferent to slavery, was a poor fit for the time -- his glittery resume notwithstanding.  [The Dredd Scott decision was handed down in 1858.]  An inexperienced Abraham Lincoln turned out to be a much better fit for his time.

by Brad G 2008-06-03 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Well to be fair

Now, which piece of Senators Clinton's legislation has been regarded as landmark or groundbreaking?  I'm not saying it's not out there, but I just can't recall anything. Educate me.

by mikeinsf 2008-06-03 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

As an Obama supporter I will not take one moment to gloat. Poor winners are just as bad as poor losers. I will also not make any attempt to talk a Hillary supporter over to Obama.

I think those truly dedicated to Hillary are going to have to find their own way. Telling somebody they have to vote one way or another or calling them names because they won't vote for Obama is not a receipt for success.

Also as we know their policies are so close that the reasons have now become personal and personal is a lot harder to move through and past.

by jsfox 2008-06-03 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

You're a better man than I. I'll probably gloat once, then get down to the business at hand.

by authority song 2008-06-03 07:37AM | 0 recs
Judgement Judgement Judgement Obama

by Lefty Coaster 2008-06-03 04:56AM | 0 recs

I think the Obama campaign always had a solid foundation, which is why his campaign fared so well over time -- his mistakes notwithstanding.

In a time where most of the country is dissatisfied with the way things are going, Obama's message that he was an agent of change was a credible and convincing one.  "We're the ones you've been waiting for."

Also, the Obama campaign's ability to understand proportional allocation and the importance of every single delegate -- regardless of zip code -- helped tremendously.  Obama was able to pick up delegates on the cheap because he understood this rule.

Finally, because he raised so much money over the internet, Obama saved ample time and energy for his campaigning rather than for fundraisers.

I began the campaign as a Clinton supporter, and remained one up until a week before my state's primary.  Even then, I reluctantly cast my vote in favor of Obama as I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for denying someone who had the potential to transform the political landscape for the better the opportunity to do so.  As the campaign progressed, I fell in love with Barack Obama's candidacy.  Like the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), there's just something genuine and romantic about Obama's candidacy that makes you want to be a part of it.  I still admire Hillary Clinton, and believe she is a remarkable woman, but she just had the misfortune of having to run against a truly gifted candidate in Barack Obama.

by Brad G 2008-06-03 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

"I wasn't a fan of Obama at first, and I don't view him through rose-colored glasses, but he's won me over, flaws and all."--juliewolf

Yet another interminable "how I came to Barack"  conversion story. How much longer will we have to endure this testifyin business. Okay. I'm really, really, really happy for you. Now off you go into blissful Barryland.

A tip. It would  be more effective if you say something more rationally-based than "he won me over." How about something like, "Obama has demonstrated leadership skills and has concrete economic plans to turn the country around." Even if you don't really feel that, it just gives waverers more to go on. Another tip; less is more. I know its a hard concept. Like Obama's DNC surrogate not just giving Hillary 4 more delegates to placate her supporters and begin unifying attempts. Yes, less is more. So when you do these conversion stories just stop at the point where you describe your incredible moment of enlightenment. Let the reader bask in the light. The bit where you then proceed to admonish Hillary supporters to get over it and get on the bandwagon--not so much. That part drifts into propaganda.

by superetendar 2008-06-03 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President
Your turn is coming sooooooon....
by french imp 2008-06-03 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

Okay. That was very funny! Kudo for the best laugh I've had today.


by superetendar 2008-06-03 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President
You're welcome!
by french imp 2008-06-03 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

by applejackking 2008-06-03 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

OK so then, OJ Simpson is technically "qualified" to be President. Then, Carson Daly will be "qualified" to be President in 3 weeks. I guess we should just lower our standards for anyone then.  Let any inexperienced hack run for President on his sex appeal or athletic ability. Obama girl, anyone? Remember GW Bush? Had a mere 6 years as governor as Texas. Most other Presidents except Carter before him had more.

by DiamondJay 2008-06-03 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

You are such a shameless racist. At first, it was saddening. Now, it's just hilarious.

by Firewall 2008-06-03 07:12AM | 0 recs
you want to tell me WHY I'm a "racist?"

or is it because I didn't support Obama?

by DiamondJay 2008-06-03 07:21AM | 0 recs
You keep saying racist things.

You can't help yourself. Much like the good doctor in Strangelove, the hand keeps trying to salute.

by Firewall 2008-06-03 07:23AM | 0 recs
what did I say that was "racist?"

no I really want to know

by DiamondJay 2008-06-03 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: what did I say that was "racist?"

Most recently, it was when the first person you drew in comparison to Barack Obama was OJ Simpson.

Throw in the coy digs about lowering standards (omgz he's an Affirmative Action hire!!!), and poof...a DiamondJay post.

Dude, take ownership of your feelings. Don't hide behind the "what was racist about that?" defense. You shouldn't be ashamed of who you are.

by Firewall 2008-06-03 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: what did I say that was "racist?"

Wow! Talk about word twisting and misunderstanding. I never thought of Affirmative Action as 'lowering our standards' but apparently you do. This says more about your hidden feelings than the person you were commenting to.

by Justwords 2008-06-03 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: That's not the right question.

As I wrote above, the appropriate question isn't whether or not the candidate has experience; it's whether or not the candidate's experiences match the needs of the time.

by Brad G 2008-06-03 07:13AM | 0 recs
I don't think Obama girl is 35 yet

have to wait a while longer before we can vote for her.

by JJE 2008-06-03 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President
I suspect the clean slate you get on Monday will be very short-lived :)
by juliewolf 2008-06-03 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

"Now, as far as I can tell, there's no one currently running in this race who does not meet the above standards."

There's actually a small dispute as to whether McCain meets all of the requirements, since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, and is arguably not a "natural born citizen of the United States."  Most legal scholars think he qualifies, but it's never been decided by the Supreme Court.  Given the current composition of the Court, McCain has nothing to worry about.  If Obama's and McCain's birth places were reversed, however, then I'd be a little worried.

by soccerandpolitics 2008-06-03 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Qualifications to Become President

It's refreshing to see some facts rather than opinion presented as fact, as was all too common during this primary.  

by whognu 2008-06-03 07:24AM | 0 recs
I am qualified to run for president.

Yeah baby, make me a write in!

We will replace the world's irrigation systems water supplies with BRAWDO, it's got ELECT-trolytes!

by Al Depansu 2008-06-03 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I am qualified to run for president.

ER, Brawndo.

Life imitates art.

Leave me alone, I'm Bate-in'!

by Al Depansu 2008-06-03 08:21AM | 0 recs
Some Question McCain's Qualification

He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The Supreme Court would probably rule that he qualifies, but there is some valid arguments that he does not meet the requirements. For example, some people say a Puerto Rican cannot become president.

by Zzyzzy 2008-06-03 10:22AM | 0 recs


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