Sarah Palin and the Use of the Word “Qualified”

It’s almost mean to do this because it demonstrates just how lazy many people are with language, people who’ve been placed at high levels of authority at one time or another.  But after reading this Rick Santorum (he’s the former Republican US Senator from Pennsylvania who may run for something again) quote at Political Wire this morning, I can’t take it anymore – this obfuscation of the word “qualified”:

“What does it mean to be qualified to be president? She is born in this country and she’s the right age. Those are the qualifications.”

— Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), in an interview with National Journal, on whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be president.

Rick.  Age and place of birth are criteria for eligibility to run for that office. They are not criteria – unless a voter believes they are – as to whether someone is qualified to serve as president.  Yes, there are meanings to the word “qualified” that may define the word with eligibility, and eligibility itself has to do with qualifications.  However, most importantly, the definition of “qualified” involves the notion of subjective critique, not a laundry list of Census Bureau-style questions that would make everyone over the age of 35 who was born in the US “qualified” to be the US President.

It would make them eligible, just like Sarah Palin.  It would not make them qualified, just like Sarah Palin.

There are a lot of scary ways in which some people interpret public service, but this devotion to the concrete reading of everything, except when it doesn’t serve an agenda, is one of the most irritating habits of some politicians.

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