Today President Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. In the process, he used an often used phrase. He called Hillary the “most qualified” candidate to ever run for the Presidency.
‘I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office’
Hyperbole is not unusual in politics; especially in political endorsements. But to call Hillary “the most qualified” ever, in our nation’s history, is an opinion so often voiced by Democrats that it screams out for analysis, and ultimatley rebuttal.
So, with all humility, I will endeavor herein to offer such rebuttal.
Many great (and less than great) men have run and been elected (or not) to the Presidency. Let us examine some of these, and compare their credentials and experience going into their Presidential bids with that of Hillary Clinton.
How, for instance, does she compare with our nation’s “Founding Father” and first President, George Washington?
When Washington ran for President in 1789, he had previously served as the victorious Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in our Revolutionary War against the British. He had before that been a delegate to the Continental Congress which drafted and ratified the Declaration of Independence. Following our independence, Washington was unanimously elected as President of the Constitutional Convention of 1787; where historians credit his support for the draft Constitution with its acceptance.
Not a bad resume going into his presidency, right?
Let’s look at another “Founder” who went on to run for and ultimately win the Presidency: Thomas Jefferson. Also a delegate to the Continental Congress, in 1776 he authored the brilliantly worded Declaration of Independence, the first of our Founding Documents. Before this he had served as a delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1769 until 1775. In 1779 he was Governor of Virginia, the largest and most prosperous of the 13 colonies. Following our victory in the Revolution, he was a member of Congress and later Ambassador to France. He next served as our first Secretary of State; then, in 1796 became the second Vice President of the United States.
How impressive, by comparison, do Hillary’s credentials look now?
But let’s continue with just a few more former candidates for President.
When Grover Cleveland ran for the Presidency in 1892, his qualifications included having previously served as… President of the United States! You can’t get more qualified for a job than having previously done that job, right? He was both our 22nd and 24th President. Before serving his first term in the White House, Cleveland had been a County Sheriff; the Mayor of Buffalo, New York; Governor of that state; as well as one of New York state’s most prominent attorneys.
Teddy Roosevelt began his run for the Presidency in 1904 from the Oval Office: He was already President of the United States. Vice President to William McKinley, he had stepped into the Presidency when McKinley was assassinated in 1901. So, by the time he ran (successfully) for the Presidency in 1904 he had served in that office for the previous 3 1/2 years. Prior to becoming McKinley’s running mate in 1900, T.R. had been Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York… Oh, and a war hero of the Spanish–American War.
Skipping forward in history, our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge Jr., was also serving as President following the death of his predicessor, Warren G. Harding in 1923. He was therefore a candidate for President in 1924 whose experience included the Presidency. Further, before serving as Harding’s Vice President he was Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts, Member (and later President) of the Massachusetts Senate, then first Lt. Governor and ultimately Governor of the Bay State.
Finally, lets look at a more recent (and still living) former President.
When George H. W. Bush ran for the Presidency in 1988, he was already a two-term sitting Vice President of the United States. Before becoming Ronald Reagan’s VP running mate in 1980, his resume of service included being the youngest Navy pilot in the Second World War, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, our United Nations Ambassador (1971-1973), Chairperson of the Republican National Committee, American Ambassador to China, and Director of the C.I.A.
This is not by any means a comprehensive list. I could have gone on, and on, and on. But for brevity, this short list makes the point: Hillary is hardly the “most qualified” person to ever run for the Presidency. Such a claim merely illustrates the lack of historical education among much of America’s elites.
Compare Hillary’s credentials to any of these previous presidential candidates. When I last looked at it, she had never served as a Mayor of any city, nor as a State Governor, nor as Vice President of the United States; not to mention serving previously as the President. She never served in the military, much less earned the title of “war hero”, as many of these (and many more other candidates) have.
Hillary has been a US Senator; though one without a single legislative achievement to her name. She was Secretary of State, but with a very unimpressive list of achievements to her name. Finally, she was First Lady of both Arkansas and the United States; during which time she was (perhaps) the most unpopular woman to serve in that capacity.
So, next time a Democrat touts Hillary as “the most qualified”, you can feel qualified to scoff heartily; and if a friend spouts such nonsense, to (gently) correct their misconception.
She is, by historical standards, barely qualified to fill that office.