Who’s ‘qualified’ to be president?

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I am now going to weigh in on who I believe is qualified to become the 45th president of the United States.

The qualification issue has arisen in the Democratic Party primary. The candidates keep yapping about the other’s qualifications, or lack thereof.

But look, we’ve got four men and one woman running for president. Why not, then, take a quick look at each individual’s “qualifications.”

First, let’s stipulate the obvious: They’re all technically qualified, even Rafael Edward Cruz, the Canadian-born U.S. senator from Texas who earned his constitutional qualification by virtue of his mother’s U.S. citizenship.

No question about any of the others in that regard.

So, here goes, for what it’s worth — which ain’t much. In order:

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most qualified. She served as first lady during her husband’s two terms as president. She was elected twice to the U.S. Senate from New York. She has served four years as secretary of state. She ran for president in 2008 and won many Democratic state primaries, including the Texas primary, that year.

She knows how government works and has a good knowledge of the limitations of the office of president. She once was a lawyer, after all.

John Kasich is a very close second. The Republican Ohio governor has a record as a member of Congress that should make him proud. He helped balance the federal budget as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He exhibits a good dose of the “compassionate conservatism” touted by former President George W. Bush. He reaches across the aisle and knows to compromise without sacrificing his principles.

He’s developed a solid record as Ohio governor. Kasich, too, understands government and its limitations.

Ted Cruz comes in a distant third. This one really is nearly a tossup with the next person. At one level, he might be the scariest candidate running for the White House. This freshman GOP U.S. senator keeps invoking theology, apparently disregarding that the Founding Fathers worked real hard to create a secular government. Cruz also seems too quick to “carpet bomb” Islamic State targets, which quite naturally is going to produce civilian casualties in direct contradiction to military policies established by two presidents, one Republican and one Democrat.

Bernie Sanders is fourth, but barely so. He’s served in Congress a lot longer than Cruz. However, his campaign for the Democratic nomination has begun to bore me. Why? He says the same thing over and over: Wall Street banks bad; wage inequality preys on women and minorities; we need to make the “top 1 percent” pay more in taxes.

Foreign policy? He remains strangely uninterested in talking about that.

Donald J. Trump is patently, categorically and unequivocally unsuited for the presidency. Sure, he’s a natural-born American. So … he’s “qualified.” But he is clueless about the limits of the office he seeks to occupy. He has vaulted to the top of the GOP heap by appealing to Americans’ darker instincts. His insults go so far beyond the pale that many of us have run out of words to describe them.

Read any transcript of the leading Republican candidate’s answers to direct questions and you are going to be blown away by his absolute incoherence.

 

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