So, as you know, I take issue with the idea that if McCain were to win, he would be the oldest person to hold the office of president in our history. I have linked to a humorous blog that brings this point into stark and funny relief. I have argued a bit with a close friend and commenter here if this is ageist and if I really think that John McCain's age should be a factor in this campaign. I do. And the fella over at that blog summed it up excellently today-- while answering the same question himself.
Before the blog launched, I thought long and hard to see if I could come up with reasons how gender or race could negatively impact on someone’s ability to do an effective job as President… and I couldn’t come up with a single one. But I was able to come up with reasons why age - at least, potentially - could be a factor:I am not saying that people over 65 can't do amazing stuff. I am hoping I will still be rocking the casbah long after that time myself-- but this is the presidency.
- Memory loss
- Decreased stamina
- Greater susceptibility to illness
- Possible lack of ability to relate to the issues and concerns of the vast majority of younger Americans
- And, of course, the increased likelihood of dying in office… throwing the country into temporary turmoil and placing a greater importance of the role of Vice President
Furthermore, I got to thinking how the framers of the Constitution saw fit to attach an age minimum of 35 to the office of the President. Presumably, they felt that people younger than 35 lacked the skills necessary to be able to run the country. While I’m certainly not suggesting that we have a Constitutional amendment creating an age maximum, it does tell me that my line of thinking (namely, that age does matter) is clearly not without precedent.
The next president will be taking over the job at one of the most dangerous, and difficult times in our history. They will have to repair the damage done by the worst administration ever. So this is an issue, we should discuss it. It does matter. A younger, more healthy, energetic person may truly be needed to handle the next 4 to 8 years.
Oh, and by the way--
John McCain: Older Than the Golden Gate Bridge!