Hillary Clinton may be a more qualified presidential candidate than Donald Trump "on paper," former Vice President Dan Quayle said Thursday. But Trump is more qualified in another respect, the Indiana Republican suggested. "He's more qualified in the sense that the American people, I think, want an outsider," Quayle said in an interview with NBC's "Today," remarking that he would support him as the Republican Party's nominee. "And they want an outsider this time. She's not an outsider, so if you're looking for an outsider, no, she's not qualified, and he is."
As the presidential general election takes shape, and Republican leaders struggle to come to terms with their presumptive nominee, we've heard quite a bit from those who ran on the GOP ticket in recent years. They're far from unanimous: Dick Cheney, for example, publicly supports Donald Trump, but George W. Bush does not. Sarah Palin supports Trump, but Mitt Romney does not.
Has anyone heard from Dan Quayle? Oh wait, there he is now.
It sounds as if the former vice president is arguing that if we take the word "qualified," and change its meaning so that it's unrelated to qualifications, then Trump is fully capable and ready to lead -- even more so than the Democratic frontrunner.
Sure, we could use the actual definition of "qualified," but evidently, Dan Quayle prefers not to.
For what it's worth, Vox's David Roberts had a compelling piece the other day on the election in which he explained, "Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, has demonstrated a basic level of competence. She understands how policy and government work. She's not openly racist; she hasn't encouraged street violence. There's no risk that she would disrupt the international order or cause an economic crisis out of pique. That's a really, really low bar. But it's the only bar she has to clear in this contest. Almost irrespective of what you think of Clinton's politics or her policies, she is manifestly more prepared to run the federal government than Donald Trump."
Of course, Roberts wrote this before Quayle rolled out the alternate definition of "qualified."
All joking aside, no matter what you think of the candidates, Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, a twice elected U.S. senator from one of the nation's largest states, and a former First Lady. She has the kind of professional background that makes her one the most -- if not the most -- qualified major-party candidate in 150 years. Trump has no experience in public service, and no meaningful understanding of how government works.
To think the latter is more qualified for the presidency than the former is an error on par with misspelling "potato."