Does America Really Want the Most Qualified Candidate Ever?


Here is President Obama last night, after singing the praises of Hillary Clinton:

That’s the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.

I wasn’t too thrilled with this bit of Obama’s speech. Not because I want to get into an argument with conservatives about just how qualified Hillary really is, but because it seemed wrong for the moment. The conventional wisdom says that Americans are angry and want an outsider, somebody who will shake things up. Being the most qualified person ever is exactly the opposite of that. If Americans really are angry with the status quo, this was precisely the wrong way to sell her.

A little later in the speech Obama used the hoary old “in the arena” passage of Teddy Roosevelt fame. But if he was going to use it at all, this is the place he should have done it. Hillary has been in the arena, fighting all her life, while Trump has spent his life on the sidelines, bickering away and inventing feuds with other B-list celebrities. Experience is what underlies this difference, but it’s a more positive way of making the point, and a more negative way of portraying Trump’s lack of experience.

Oh well.

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THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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