No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
United States Constitution

“We need someone who’s been tested, because the United States presidency is one the toughest jobs in the world, she is the best qualified candidate.” Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty


by: Joe Leonardi

I have a good friend who is a huge Hilary Clinton supporter. This person consistently tells me that Hilary has been the most qualified democrat running for office.

I am not so sure.

I admit that I do not care for Senator Clinton. She rubs me the wrong way and I don’t think that I could ever cast a vote for her — even if she were a republican.

She is talking up the qualifications issue against Senator Obama, but I am curious how she will deal with the experience and qualification issues if she wins the primary.

Senator John McCain is considerably more qualified than either Democratic contender.

Does experience and qualifications give us an insight on to what kind of president we will get?

I say no.

I wrote in an earlier commentary that the two most qualified Presidents of my lifetime were Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Both were one term presidents and looking back, both were poor presidents. They both lacked, though should have possessed, solid leadership qualities.

Senator Clinton would like Democratic primary voters to vote for her because, she claims to be the most qualified and experienced candidate. As I wrote earlier, presidential elections have little to do with either. It is likability and a person’s innate ability to lead.

Hilary Clinton is not likable and she has never demonstrated any genuine leadership abilities.

The president of the United States must be an individual that can muster people to his or her cause. To bring the populace, elected officials and heads of state together for the common good. That person must be able to lead people of all political persuasions.

Leadership has nothing to do with education, experience, or qualifications.

Leadership is an inherent, intangible trait.

It appears Senator Obama has that trait and Senator Clinton is attempting to blunt that effect by claiming she is, and has been, the most qualified democrat in the race.

The following are brief biographies of two individuals. These biographies are snapshots of their qualifications to be President.

The first one:

-Roughly 1 year of structured education
-Elected to a state’s General Assembly four times
-Elected to U.S. House of Representatives only once
-At various times was a farmhand, clerk, flatboatman, store owner, surveyor, postmaster and a lawyer
-Served in a state Militia as a Captain and private

The above resume’ is relatively unimpressive.

No real education, a few years in a state assembly and two years as a U.S. Congressman and not much of a military career.

This person was Abraham Lincoln.

The President that saved the Union.

One of four Presidents on Mount Rushmore.

Arguably, one of the greatest Presidents in United States history.

If we follow Senator Hilary Clinton’s logic, based upon his prior qualifications, he should never have run, let alone be elected President. We should be thankful that Hilary and her advisers were not around in the 1860 election.

Next we have the following:

-Bachelor’s degree from Tufts
-Master’s degree from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
-Elected to U.S. House of Representatives seven times
-Former Ambassador to the United Nations
-Former U.S. Secretary of Energy
-Twice elected Governor
-Served as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association
-Authored two books
-Taught at New Mexico State University, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the United World College
-Nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize
-Former Chairman of Freedom House, a private, non-partisan organization that promotes democracy worldwide

The above resume is quite impressive. Who’s bio is it?

It is that of Governor Bill Richardson. The first person of Latino descent to seek the office of the President.

Looking at this snapshot —- the Governor is extremely qualified to be President of the United States.

He is well educated.

He has legislative experience.

He has executive branch experience.

He has experience in educating others.

He has extensive foreign policy experience. Instead of hanging out with foreign heads of state with his spouse, he actually worked with these leaders. More importantly, Bill Richardson negotiated the release of U.S. servicemen, hostages and political prisoners.

Unfortunately, to the supporters of Senator Clinton, Governor Richardson is a man. So though eminently qualified, he should not have been and was not seriously considered to be the democratic party’s nominee.

We must be honest, Senator Clinton is not looking to be the most qualified person to be President. She and many democrats are looking just for a woman, any democratic woman, to be President. So, intellectual honesty be dammed. The Hilary democrats want a woman, no matter how qualified the man is that she has run, is running or will run against.

If the phone rang in the White House at 3 a.m. and democrats were concerned about the right person for the job, Bill Richardson would still be in the race and he would be the front runner going into Super Tuesday Jr.

Governor Richardson was the most qualified democrat in the primary, yet he did not receive the support of his party or the voters.

I asked my friend, the one who believes that Hilary is the most qualified to be president, why this person had not gotten behind Governor Richardson. My friend’s answer was — “Because I can’t take someone who has such a bad toupee serious.”

So much for qualifications.

The Democrats may decide as early as March 4th who their nominee is. I think it might be Barack Obama.

Politically, Senator Obama is extremely liberal. Policy wise he is everything I am opposed to. However, he is bringing republicans to his side. Like the Reagan Democrats of the eighties, there is currently a movement of republicans for Obama. They even have a catchy name, they are called Obamicans.

I am not on that bandwagon just yet.

I don’t know if I ever will be.

Senator Obama makes you believe he can pull our country out of the depths of misery and hell that President George W. Bush has placed us.

The question is, can he?

I don’t know the answer.

I do know that another divisive figure in the White House, such as Senator Hilary Clinton, can not.

Joe Leonardi



Filed under Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Conservative, Democrat, Democratic, Election, Hilary Clinton, Liberal, President, President Bush, Republican

2 responses to “Qualifications

  1. It’s great you gave us something to comment about, unfiltered.

    You’re right, Barry Obama is a leader and Hillary is a divider, like the present occupant of the White House.

  2. jade7243

    The “qualifications” to be President are set by the Constitution, and are rather simple: be a natural born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years at the time of inauguration.

    All three candidates meet the constitutional test. The current litmus test is for something more akin to “the right stuff.” To include — or more frequently exclude — persons, other barriers, hurdles, requirements, needs, wishes, expectations have been raised over the years.

    When “experience” is the word, are we looking for “executive” experience? Is that “Romney-type” business executive experience, Giuliani-type, “I ran a city,” Richardson’s “I’m a governor, state executive” type, a legislator in the vein of Dick Gephardt or Gerald Ford? Or an Eisenhower general, military commander-in-chief type?

    Is someone more “experienced” based on proximity? Some of us do learn by watching. But there is a big difference between observation and actually doing. If you have observed eight years of brain surgery, are you automatically qualified to perform brain surgery?

    And there is the question of leadership. The best leaders have an intrinsic ability to bring people together to work towards a common goal. The rudiments of leadership can be taught. But real leadership is visible in execution.

    As a military man, John McCain is more “experienced” with military protocol. Perhaps he is best suited to be Secretary of Defense.

    Hillary Clinton, although she has spent her 35 years proximate to power, and has a facility for wonkish detail, lacks the ability to bring people together. Her fighting nature is antithetical to leadership. You cannot lead if half the people are against you.

    Barack Obama has the ability to bring people together. It is not about mastery of detail; there are subordinates to marshal those. Experience is relative to what you make of the opportunity, not longevity. Leadership — unifying leadership — and an ability to communicate vision is where Obama shines.

    No one knows what challenges a President will face, and no one can predict how he (or she) will perform. But the singular quality I would look for is leadership. And on that count, I can support Barack Obama.

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