Using Bernie Sanders’ Exact Words and Logic, Barack Obama is Unqualified to be President

While I’m sure many of his supporters will disagree, I think Bernie Sanders might have just crossed a line from which he can’t return. Now I get that this far into a primary election, everyone is sick of everyone. The candidates are tired, grumpy, testy and their patience is sometimes pretty thin. So, while it was a nice idea for Sanders to say he was going to run an “issue-focused” campaign, I always knew that at some point this race was going to turn negative.

And it has.

The main focus of Sanders’ campaign over the last several weeks has been an all-out character attack against Hillary Clinton. Which is fine – it’s politics. She’s taken her shots at him, too. But let’s at least stop pretending that he’s not running a negative campaign as he and many of his supporters continue to deny he’s doing.

Well, on Wednesday when he said that Hillary Clinton wasn’t qualified to be president, even many pro-Sanders people said he went too far.

Here’s what Sanders said:

“I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds,” he said. “I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.”

This was in response to Sanders claiming that Clinton said he wasn’t qualified to be president.

Except, she never said that.

Now she has implied that he’s not ready on “Day 1” to be Commander-in-Chief. She even cited a recent interview with the New York Daily News where Sanders’ answers to a lot of very policy-specific questions were rather disastrous. I think that’s a fair critique. When you’re a candidate who’s running on “breaking up the big banks,” then you basically say you’re not sure how you would do it or what ramifications it could have – that’s not a good response to something that’s been one of the pillars of your campaign. In fact, in that interview, he didn’t really seem to even know what’s in Dodd-Frank.

When Clinton was pressed by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on whether or not Sanders was qualified to be president, her response was that she was going to “leave it to voters to decide who of us can do the job the country needs.” Even though Scarborough tried numerous times to get her to say Sanders wasn’t qualified – she didn’t do it.

But let’s look at this a little deeper, shall we? Going beyond his reference to Clinton, using Sanders’ exact words and logic, he apparently doesn’t believe Barack Obama is qualified to be president, either.

Not only was President Obama supported by super PACs that raised a lot of money – he received over $15 million dollars from Wall Street. In fact, in 2008, then Senator Barack Obama set a new record for Wall Street donations at $17.3 million.

So, if Clinton’s Wall Street donations disqualify her from being president, then Sanders must feel the same way about our current president.

Not only did he cite her Wall Street donations, but he also said someone isn’t qualified to be president if they supported the Panama free trade agreement – something that was signed by President Obama while Clinton was Secretary of State. While it’s true she did support the agreement, that’s something President Obama put his name to as Commander-in-Chief.

I don’t care what you think about Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but in my opinion, President Obama has been fantastic for this country. While he’s been far from flawless, I think history is going to look back upon him as one of our nation’s best presidents. So, as a President Obama supporter, I do find it rather offensive for Sanders to basically say that someone whom I think has been a damn good president – a president who signed Dodd-Frank despite taking in a record amount of money from Wall Street – isn’t “qualified” because he doesn’t meet Sanders’ “purity standards.”

While I’m sure his most devout followers won’t care about his comments, I do think he’s going to deal with quite a lot of blowback over saying this.

It’s one thing to try to attack your opponent – that’s normal politics. It’s quite another when, in your attempt to attack that opponent, the words you used to levy that attack are so carelessly thrown out there that you basically end up saying President Obama isn’t qualified either.

Words like these often have consequences. I guess we’ll see if this rather bold (and fairly careless) statement comes back to haunt the Sanders campaign heading into a crucial stretch of the 2016 primary.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Senator Clinton & the 2002 Iraq Resolution –

    — Senate Roll Call, October 2002 – Iraq Resolution –

    “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 – Expresses support for the President’s efforts to:
    (1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
    (2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions.Authorizes the President to use the U.S. armed forces to:
    (1) defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
    (2) enforce all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. Directs the President, prior to or as soon as possible (but no later than 48 hours) after exercising such authority, to make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that:
    (1) reliance on further diplomatic or peaceful means alone will not achieve the above purposes; and
    (2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
    Declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization for use of the armed forces, consistent with requirements of the War Powers Resolution. Requires the President to report to Congress at least every 60 days on matters relevant to this resolution…

    — May 20, 2011 marked the 60th day of US combat in Libya (as part of the UN resolution) but the deadline arrived without President Obama seeking specific authorization from the US Congress.[17] President Obama notified Congress that no authorization was needed,[18] since the US leadership had been transferred to NATO,[19] and since US involvement was somewhat “limited”. In fact, as of April 28, 2011, the US had conducted 75 percent of all aerial refueling sorties, supplied 70 percent of the operation’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and contributed 24 percent of the total aircraft used in the operation.[20] By September, the US had conducted 26 percent of all military sorties, contributing more resources to Operation Unified Protector than any other NATO country.[21] The State Department requested (but never received) express congressional authorization.”[15][22]

    [15] Cosgrove, Maureen. “State Department legal adviser: Obama acting lawfully in Libya”, JURIST (June 28, 2011).
    [16] “War Powers Act of 1973”, New York Times (June 29, 2011).
    ]17] Libya War Deadline Arrives
    [18] “White House on War Powers Deadline: ‘Limited’ US Role in Libya Means No Need to Get Congressional Authorization”, ABC News, May 20, 2011
    ]19] “Libya: Nato assumes control of military operation”. BBC News. March 27, 2011.
    [22] Owen, Robert (2015). “The U.S. Experience: National Strategy and Campaign Support”. In Karl Mueller. Precision and Purpose: Airpower in the Libyan Civil War. Rand Corporation. p. 105.

    — NATO Alliances – Republican Talking Points : President Obama leading from behind in Libya

    “President Obama’s thinking on European security seems to run thus: the US will not hesitate to lead ‘wars of necessity’ in defence of European allies. But it will not take the lead in ‘wars of choice’ in or around Europe, such as the one in Libya. This is now a job for Europe. Such a stance advances Obama’s goal of conserving US strength in time of economic crisis and military overstretch: a reduction in non-essential engagements saves money, while a re-affirmation of mutual defence guarantees discourages possible challengers from testing the existing order in Europe. This, in turn, avoids the need to mount a costly US response. The policy seems set to hold, irrespective of which candidate wins the 2012 presidential elections. While top Republican candidates have spoken about the need for a more assertive US global presence, their ability to field military forces abroad will be constrained by fiscal constraints and an increasingly isolationist public.”[6]

    [6] ‘US seen as less important, China as more powerful; Isolationist sentiment surges to four-decade high’, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, December 3rd 2009.

    — Iraq Resolution and limitations:

    While that Resolution did indeed authorize President Bush, under strict requirements of the 1973 War Powers Act, to use force, Section 3(b) of the Act also required that sanctions or diplomacy be fully employed before force was used, i.e. force was to be used only as “necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,” and to do so only upon the President certifying to Congress that “diplomatic or other peaceful means” would be insufficient to defang Saddam.

    Opinions are not facts. Senator Sanders’ can have the opinion that banks should be broken-up if determined too-big-to-fail, however, legal frameworks are the only governing principal to achievement.

    Senator Sanders can have the opinion that Mrs. Clinton should not have a SuperPAC, but then Sanders is condemning every democrat with a PAC super or not to the same sledghammer of implicit corruption. His no-PAC-money purity test consigns every democrat running for office without name recognition to raise money as he does. The question is who can do what Sanders does, which is to push socialism. Most democrats are center-left, in evidence by who has voted for her in the primaries of 2016!

    — The Panama Free Trade Agreement – The Panama Papers

    “Eoin Higgins, a writer from Massachusetts, suggested another possible factor as well: the diplomatic relationship between Washington and Panama. In many cases, the entire point of setting up a shell company is to hide things. But, in 2010, the United States and Panama signed a trade-promotion agreement that, among other things, obliged Panama to provide to the U.S. authorities, on request, “information regarding the ownership of companies, partnerships, trusts, foundations, and other persons, including . . . . ownership information on all such persons in an ownership chain.” Higgins pointed out, “If Panama had ever been an attractive destination for American offshore storage of funds, this agreement shut the door on that possibility.”

    Facts are facts. To put forward the question whether Sanders was prepared to provide details in a interview, and that voters will have decide his qualifications, was, IMO, the best way to deflect a direct response that no democratic challenger would give against another democratic challenger for the presidency.

    Methinks Senator Sanders’ perceives himself as unqualified specifically because he tanked during the interview and is not lashing out against Mrs. Clinton because she did not explain to Joe Scarborough exactly what she is sure Sanders meant to say.


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  • strayaway

    This article makes a good point about Obama having accepted money from Wall Street as Hillary is doing. Soros Management has been Hillary’s largest contributor so far in 2016. Obama’s largest contributor, for the longest time, in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. Hillary’s largest lifetime contributors have been, in order, Emily’s List, Citigroup, DLA Piper, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley. I wish I could bet some money that Hillary will advance the TPP, and related treaties, that Obama has been trying to pass.

  • U want five a’dese?

    Hillary in fact did the same, worse actually, to Barack Obama in 2008. By saying he wouldn’t be ready to answer the 3 am call. By saying JOhn McCain was more experience and qualified than he was. By her advisors floating that he wasn’t born in America. And by answering ‘as far as I know’ to whether she thought he was a Christian.

    Her advisors know how to play the rat-fuck games, and then act innocent afterwards.

    What amazes me is how her true believers like Allen Clifton support her on those ratfuck games.

    • Annie Coffman

      Why does anyone on the left buy into Republican propaganda? Anyway, we just found out that after years of complaining about Wall Street and the lack of prosecutions, Bernie can’t even name one statute to use against them after saying laws already exist to do just that. I supported Bernie for years believing he was more than soundbites, that he knew his stuff at least on this subject. I also thought he would support down ticket Dems once the contributions really started rolling in. He hasn’t. And anyone keeping an eye on fact-checkers like Politifact will find that Bernie is a bit more willing to make false statements than Hillary does.