The Democratic hand wringing was painful to see this morning as liberals bemoaned the deteriorating tone of the presidential campaign. But for once they weren’t talking about anyone whose name rhymes with “bump.” The contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has gotten personal, with the Vermont senator responding to veiled comments from Clinton which appeared to suggest that he might not be qualified for the presidency. Bernie’s Brooklyn blood was rising in temperature after that and during a campaign stop in Philadelphia, oh yes, sports fans… he went there. (CNN)
After bringing up how Clinton apparently called him unqualified, Sanders told his New York crowd, “I don’t believe she is qualified if she is…” The audience immediately cut him off with loud cheering…
…if she is, through her Super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. I don’t think that you are qualified if you get 15 million dollars from Wall Street through your Super PAC. I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq.
It didn’t end there. Sanders went on to list the trade agreements Clinton supported and even dredged up the newly release Panama Papers as proof that Clinton’s “leadership” has led to a lack of financial transparency and people not paying their taxes.
Watching these two argue over who is “qualified” to be President of the United States is at least an amusing moment on the campaign trail. On paper there’s actually very little to discuss. Both of them are over 35 years of age… in fact nearly or more than double that. And while the word “natural” probably doesn’t cross paths with either of them very often, Bernie was born in New York and Hillary hails one of eight or nine states she frequently claims to be a native of, but they’re all in the US. Sadly, those are the only real qualifications that count.
Bernie could have argued that somebody who has FBI agents closing in on her like the Pinkertons surrounding the hideout of the Jessie James gang was less qualified. He might have mentioned the fact that even Clinton’s most loyal surrogates are unable to list a single accomplishment of substance on her part over her entire career. Since they are battling for votes in New York, he should have pointed to the disastrous upstate job losses which followed her promise of a quarter million new jobs when she was running for the Senate here. He could have even trotted out a laundry list of the issues where Clinton has flipped and flopped her way through every conceivable position on each for the sake of political expediency.
But Bernie did none of those things. He continued the same old, tired repetition of her close ties with Wall Street and her support of the Iraq war. The real irony here is that Bernie is – at least on paper – considerably more qualified than Clinton, yet he never talks about it. He has executive experience as a mayor, albeit in a rather smallish city. (Hillary has only been married to an executive.) His time in the legislative branch, both House and Senate, dwarfs hers. And minor though they may be, he’s at least had his signature on some legislation which made it into law. Clinton has spent her time in American government without leaving a single distinguished accomplishment in her wake. Why wouldn’t Sanders dip into this overflowing bucket of possible critiques?
The fact is that Bernie Sanders just isn’t a very good candidate. Even when he decides to “get tough” on his opponent he comes off as an inept professor who is unsure of his subject material. Hillary Clinton should be an easy target to hit, but Sanders has yet to figure out how to exploit that fact.