As a professional sociologist (and a man in his mid-fifties) I have many serious reservations about McCain’s ability to serve as our president. These go beyond the fact that his ideas and policies are wacked. First is that his age is catching up with him – like it is with all of us. However, the job is too important to entrust to a senile and hostile “senior citizen.” Second, as a result of his extensive torture – he suffers from long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. That has not been clearly addressed. Anyhow, enough of my opinions. I have collected the finest articles from the Internet that talk about McCain’s age as the DEFINING difference between him and Barack. Keep an eye out for some cool pix that I enhanced for your enjoyment.
To learn more about why McCain must not be president see my more recent articles:
“Is McCain Too Old To Be President?” By Steve Chapman September 09, 2007 – Real Clear Politics You often hear the complaint that modern political campaigns are too nasty, which is often true. But it’s also often true that they are too polite. So we’re fortunate when someone violates the prevailing etiquette, forcing candidates and voters to confront matters we’d rather not but should. One of those moments came the other day when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) visited a New Hampshire high school and took questions. One brave youngster asked him, as courteously as possible, if at 71, he might be too old for the job he’s seeking. McCain scoffed, saying, “I work 24/7, I’m very active, I enjoy life,” and bragging that he’s always outcampaigned his opponents. He closed by joking, “Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You’re drafted.”
But the student raised an important question that many of his elders have been strangely unwilling to pursue. It may seem rude and even cruel to say that someone is simply too old to be entrusted with the presidency. But in McCain’s case, by any sensible standard, it’s also true. If elected, he would be the oldest person ever to enter the office. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was inaugurated, nearly 2 1/2 years younger than McCain will be on Jan. 20, 2009. If he served two full terms, McCain would leave the White House at the age of 80. …
McCain thinks he’s the exception to the normal rules of aging because he has a 95-year-old mother who, by his account, is still sharp. What he neglects to mention is that he’s already outlived his father and grandfather. In any case, he’s endured more wear and tear than the normal AARP member. As a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, he broke both arms and a leg in a crash after his plane was shot down. He spent 5 1/2 years being tortured, beaten and half-starved as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He’s had surgery twice for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. All of those misfortunes exact a toll that may offset his hardy genes.
In other lines of work, everyone accepts that there is such a thing as too old. Some major corporations force chief executives and directors to step down at age 65 or so. Airline pilots have a mandatory limit of 60, which the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to raise to 65. Law firms often put partners out to pasture once they reach the golden years. In those jobs, a fixed age limit makes less sense than it does for the one McCain wants. If a lawyer can no longer handle the work, after all, the firm can promptly cashier him or her.
But the voters may never know if a president is growing befuddled by routine tasks — or if a president, wearied by age, has simply lost the energy needed to perform well. And even if such facts became known, the public may not be able to force his removal. That’s not a big deal for a senator, who can’t do much without 50 other people. But for the person occupying the most consequential office on Earth, it’s an alarming prospect. John McCain has done a lot of things for his country. He could do one more service by acknowledging that the presidency is a job for a younger person.
How Old Is Too Old? By Anna Quindlen NEWSWEEK – Jan 26, 2008 It’s age that has become the new taboo in a vitality culture. Here’s my unscientific theory about the presidency: it ages a person in dog years. Each year in office is roughly equivalent to seven years in the life of an ordinary citizen. I base this on before-and-after photographs of the occupants of the Oval Office, who frequently look as though they’ve spent their time in captivity, being beaten with sticks. Which may help explain why 71-year-old John McCain, who actually has been beaten in captivity, may think that the fact that he would be the oldest person ever to enter the job is immaterial. In this, alas, he is mistaken. … Senator McCain likes to say he has good genes on his side. It is not every 71-year-old man whose mother stands by as he gives a stump speech. At 95, Roberta McCain is still elegant and ambulatory, the sort of person for whom the expression “sharp as a tack” might have been invented: not long ago she went on television and blamed the Mormons for scandals that plagued the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics while her son sat beside her looking slightly pained.
But the senator is not your average man of his age. He takes stairs slowly and cannot lift his arms to comb his hair. One reason few people want to address his age, or his infirmity, is the valor of his Vietnam service. It’s humbling to consider that he broke both arms and a leg when his fighter jet was shot down, then suffered fractured shoulders and broken ribs when he was tortured during five and a half years as a POW. You can tell he thinks it should be humbling, too: when a boy at one event asked him respectfully if he was too old for the job, he responded with his trademark acerbic humor, “Thanks for the question, you little jerk.”
But the kid was only acknowledging the elephant on the campaign trail. There’s been plenty of talk during primary season about gender and race; it’s age that has become taboo. While there is a minimum age of 35 to be elected president, there’s no maximum. Perhaps that’s why it’s more acceptable to suggest that a contender is callow than over the hill. Each time I’m described as middle-aged the 25-year-old still living deep inside me lets out a scream.
The job McCain seeks is like no other, in its demands and its import. It’s significant that while the old mandatory retirement age of 65 has been largely junked, there are still age limits for jobs like airline pilot or police officer, the kinds of jobs that require some of the same skills as the presidency—unwavering mental acuity and physical energy. Political operatives say that his age makes McCain’s choice of a running mate particularly critical. But if you enter the process stressing a hedge against mortality or incapacity, shouldn’t that suggest something about suitability for the job in the first place? The senator’s pursuit of the presidency reminds me a bit of those women who decide to have a baby in their late 50s. The impulse is understandable, the goal possible. But, looking at all the facts, and the actuarial tables, is it really sensible?
McCain’s Age Problem – Pew Research Center With a win in November, John McCain would become the oldest first-term president ever, and to combat doubts about his age — when asked in February of this year, a quarter of registered voters (26%) said they think he is too old to be president, and this proportion rises to nearly a third (32%) when voters are informed that he is currently 71 years old — his campaign has decided to make his medical records available. While the vast majority (72%) say they do not think McCain is too old to be president, a February 2007 Pew survey found that about half of Americans (48%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate in their 70s. In general, McCain’s age is of greater concern to older voters than it is to younger voters. Just 24% of voters under age 35 themselves believe that, at 71, McCain is too old to serve. But among voters who themselves are of retirement age, 40% say that McCain is too old. In a new Washington Post-ABC Sen. Barack Obama leads McCain by 12 percentage points, while Sen. Hillary Clinton leads him by 6. One of McCain’s biggest problems may be his age. McCain is 72. “More than a quarter of those polled said they are less inclined to support McCain because he would be the oldest person ever to become president. The percentage discouraged by McCain’s age is more than double that of people who would be less enthusiastic about supporting Obama because he is African American or Clinton because she is a woman.”
Norris says McCain too old to be president Huckabee-backer says he doesn’t think 72-year-old could handle 4 years The Associated Press, Sun., Jan. 20, 2008 NAVASOTA, Texas – Campaigning for Mike Huckabee, actor Chuck Norris said Sunday that Sen. John McCain is too old to handle the pressures of being president. “I didn’t pick John to support because I’m just afraid that the vice president would wind up taking over his job in that four-year presidency,” said Norris, who was hosting a fundraiser for Huckabee at his Lone Wolf Ranch. “So we need to find someone that can handle it for four years or eight years … that has the youth and vision and communication skills to make that work.” Norris, 67, is four years younger than McCain, who will be 72 in August.
Brave New World? By Peggy Noonan June 13, 2008 – Wall St. Journal … But 2008 will also prove in part to be a decisive political contest between the Old America and the New America. Between the thing we were, and the thing we have been becoming for 40 years or so. (I’m not referring here to age. Some young Americans have Old America heads and souls; some old people are all for the New.) McCain is the Old America; Obama is the New America In the Old America, love of country was natural. You breathed it in. You either loved it or knew you should. In the New America, love of country is a decision. It’s one you make after weighing the pros and cons. Old America: Tradition is a guide in human affairs. New America: Tradition is a challenge, a barrier, or a lovely antique. Old America: “We’ve been here three generations.” New America: “You’re still here?” The Old America: Religion is good. The New America: Religion is problematic.
McCain is the old world of concepts like “personal honor,” of a manliness that was a style of being, of an attachment to the fact of higher principles. Obama is the new world, which is marked in part by doubt as to the excellence of the old. It prizes ambivalence as proof of thoughtfulness, as evidence of a textured seriousness. In the Old America, high value was put on education, but character trumped it. That’s how Lincoln got elected: Honest Abe had no formal schooling. In Mr. McCain’s world, a Harvard Ph.D. is a very good thing, but it won’t help you endure five years in Vietnam. It may be a comfort or an inspiration, but it won’t see you through. Only character, and faith, can do that. And they are very Old America.
Old America: candidates for office wear ties. New America: Not if they’re women. Old America: There’s a place for formality, even the Beatles wore jackets! As to its implications for the race, we’ll see. America is always looking forward, not back, it is always in search of the fresh and leaving the tried. That’s how we started: We left tired old Europe and came to the new place, we settled the east and pushed West to the new place. We like new. It’s in our genes. Hope we know where we’re going, though.
Too Old To Run? By The Politico’s Roger Simon WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2007 “I am older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein,” John McCain likes to say. It always gets a laugh, though I don’t suppose his mother, who is 94, and her twin sister appreciate it very much. If he is older than dirt, what does that make them? Older than lava? If McCain, 70, runs and wins, he would be the oldest person ever inaugurated as president. As is evident from the scar on the left side of his face, he has had malignant melanoma, the most invasive and dangerous form of skin cancer. (One in every 60 Americans is at risk for developing invasive melanoma in their lifetimes.)
But I don’t think that is going to be McCain’s problem. It isn’t his health but rather his demeanor that worries some people. The Iraq war, which he strongly supports, has disturbed and dismayed him. He told The Washington Post it was a “train wreck.” He told me it was a “witch’s brew.” He visits wounded soldiers and Marines when they come back home for treatment and if any civilian feels the pain of the military, it is McCain. And it is showing. Last April, I wrote of a campaign swing McCain made through New Hampshire and Iowa, “Though McCain said he enjoyed himself, he was not the rollicking campaigner of six years ago. At a number of stops, he was largely subdued and sometimes almost somber.” Last Sunday, on “Meet the Press with Tim Russert,” McCain seemed to have moved from almost somber to almost gloomy.
John McCain is Very Old by Pangloss Tue Jun 10, 2008 To give you a better idea of how old McCain is – look back to what the world was like the year he was born. It was a totally different world in so many ways. Here are some of the more interesting and insightful ones.
- When John McCain was born, people went to vaudeville shows.
- When John McCain was born, the Hindenburg was flying commercially.
- When John McCain was born, a gallon of gas cost 10 cents.
- When John McCain was born, most people kept their food in ice boxes and had regular ice delivery.
- When John McCain was born, the average price of a new house was $3925.
- When John McCain was born, people walked around with buffalo nickels in their pockets.
- When John McCain was born, most band members wore tuxedos.
- When John McCain was born, most people used coal to heat their houses.
- When John McCain was born, if you had $665 you could buy a brand new Studebaker.
- When John McCain was born, people took boats to visit Europe.
If you like these, you may want to wade through the following confusing site: http://www.thingsyoungerthanmccain.com/
Jack Murtha: McCain’s Age Makes It ‘Very Difficult For Him To Become A Good Commander-In-Chief’ Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) recently said Sen. John McCain may be too old to be President. “It’s no old man’s job,” Murtha said of the presidency. McCain’s campaign responded that such comments were “nonsense attacks.” In an interview with ThinkProgress today, Murtha explained that his concern over McCain’s age has to do specifically with leading the nation in a time of war. “With the rigors of today — with the news media the way it is — one slip of the tongue, one mistake can cause a worldwide impact,” Murtha said. (Indeed, McCain has had many recent “slips” of the tongue.) Murtha continued: I know myself. I have to pace myself. I’m the same age he is. He said I was senile a couple of years ago. Well, that’s beside the point — whether I’m senile. But I just believe that his age is going to be very difficult for him to become a good Commander-in-Chief because the decisions are so difficult. “Some of the things he’s been saying worry me because he’s going to carry on the Bush tradition,” Murtha said, arguing that McCain doesn’t seem to understand that the American people are “rejecting his policies.” Let me tell you, I’ve seen seven presidents. I’ve seen the wear and tear on a president. I’ve seen the difficulties — there’s never a day that goes by that you don’t have a problem. The problem that comes to the president can’t be solved by anybody else. So, the older you get, the more difficult it is to have the energy to confront these things. Reagan had a good staff. He was able to get by. But with the rigors of today — with the news media the way it is — one slip of the tongue, one mistake can cause a worldwide impact.
No Country for Old Men by Robert Scheer Posted April 30, 2008 | 03:41 AM (EST) Would President John McCain forget who made that 3 a.m. call to the special White House phone? I suspect that his aides would not just let him nod off back to sleep, even if they were intimidated by the prospect of one of his alleged intemperate outbursts, but might our septuagenarian president be less than fully focused? Most likely he would be, although as someone born in the same year as the senator, I too bristle at suggestions that age has made me less perfect than I once was. But it has. Sadly, those brain cells do go, and “senior moments” of befuddlement are more than a joke. But that shouldn’t automatically disqualify one of us still-agile silver foxes from the White House, as few of my contemporaries are likely to turn in a worse performance than the much younger current occupant. However, looking at the top two men in the present administration, the age question does make a compelling case for very carefully evaluating McCain’s vice-presidential choice. …
Let’s not kid any longer. Age is a factor in this race and nowhere is it so important as in McCain’s vice-presidential choice. If he picks from the very thin ranks of reasonable Republicans, it will be reassuring to more moderate voters attracted to McCain for his independence of thought as reflected in support of campaign finance reform and his opposition to some outrageously bloated military weapons expenditures that he has on occasion done much to expose. But if he turns to the loony wing for a running mate, we must become very concerned about the ability of a man in his 70s to fully perform in the world’s most important office. Is there another Cheney lurking in the wings?
An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released last week tells us four in 10 adult Americans aren’t buying in. While 72 percent of potential voters in the poll said Americans are ready to elect an African-American and 71 percent ready for a woman as U.S. president, a smaller number — 61 percent — said fellow voters are ready to elect a candidate older than 70. …
That gives late-night talk-show hosts grist for plenty of quips. From David Letterman’s running string of “Old Man McCain” jokes: “John McCain looks like a guy who picks up the TV remote when the phone rings.”(No youngster himself, the graying Letterman will turn 60 next month.) And comments targeting McCain’s age run rampant in the blogosphere, where this appeared on an opinion board at the Huffington Post: ” I just wonder at his age if he’d even hear the phone at 3 a.m.” …
It’s a fact that incidence of Alzheimer’s and some other diseases increases after age 65, Miles said. And despite a constitutional amendment ratified in 1967 to ensure public disclosure of a U.S. president’s medical tests, results of Ronald Reagan’s cognitive tests were not released during his tenure in office. Along with that, there is nothing in place to force a president’s Cabinet to act when medical results of concern are reported, he said. Before Reagan’s second term in office ended, he had undergone colon and prostate surgery and showed signs of forgetfulness that later led to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. …
But he expects an “old” factor will influence the way many people vote this year in a way unrelated to any candidate’s age. A promise of change that has fueled excitement about the election has become a driving force, he said. He considers it linked to a mindset rooted in the founding of America. “Take a look at the back of a $1 bill to find the words ‘novus ordo seclorum,’ ” he suggests. “It’s Latin for ‘the new order of the ages’ ” and reflects the same message as the “new and improved” label on a box of breakfast cereal. “There’s a definite prejudice not against the elderly but against the past,” he said. “It’s the idea that we can do it over.”
“John McCain (R)” — that’s his problem // Point: Megan McArdle Megan McArdle is an associate editor and blogger at the Atlantic. We’re going to hear a lot about the experience gap in this campaign. There’s no denying that Barack Obama’s resume looks pretty thin stacked up next to John McCain’s; the Illinois senator has been on the national political scene for only a few years. This will make it hard for Obama to make the obvious point that McCain is a trifle elderly for the Oval Office. It’s too easy for McCain to shoot back with Ronald Reagan’s famous rejoinder to the age question, “I refuse to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” On the other hand, Obama hardly needs to bring up McCain’s age. Thanks to the high-definition TV revolution, we can all see the ravages time has wrought on McCain: the wrinkles, the facial scars from his battle with melanoma, and the arthritis that has crippled his arms and legs. Watched on a regular station, McCain still looks vital and smooth. On my high-definition channels, however, he looks like he has one foot in the grave.
Polls show that voters do think that age is a handicap in a president, and they are right to think this: The presidency is a grueling position from which even relative young-uns such as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have emerged looking prematurely ancient. It’s reasonable to wonder if McCain’s body is up to the task, particularly considering the abuse it took in Vietnam — and the fact that his father died of a heart attack at the age of 70.
More to the point, no job really qualifies you to run the world’s only remaining superpower; there’s a vast amount that simply must be learned by doing. And in that, Obama actually has an experience advantage — or, at least, he will. McCain’s age means there is a good chance that he simply won’t be healthy enough for a second term, meaning that we’ll have to start over in 2012 with another round of on-the-job training.
John McCain gets tax-free disability pension By Ralph Vartabedian – Los Angeles Times Staff Writer – April 22, 2008 When McCain released his tax return for 2007 on Friday, he separately disclosed that he received a pension of $58,358 that was not listed as income on his return. On Monday, McCain’s staff identified the retirement benefit as a “disability pension” and said that McCain “was retired as disabled because of his limited body movements due to injuries as a POW.” If McCain had to pay taxes on the full amount of the pension, it would have increased his tax bill by about $18,000 based on the percentage of his income he paid to the federal government. … The fact that he is legally designated with a disability pension may raise further questions. “It is a legitimate question to ask about the commander in chief: Is he fit to serve,” said Robert Schriebman, a senior Pentagon tax advisor and tax attorney who recently retired as a judge advocate for a unit of the California National Guard. If McCain can hike across the Grand Canyon, then why should he be getting disability payments from the government that are tax-exempt, Schriebman asked. McCain shattered his knee and broke both arms when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967.
Pollster: Age Could Become Major Issue For McCain NY Times | Andrew Kohut | February 25, 2008 04:28 PM As John McCain comes ever closer to securing the Republican nomination, his age has remained notably absent as a campaign issue. So far it has attracted so little attention that the network exit pollsters have not included even one question on the subject in 23 state surveys — an extraordinary occurrence given that Senator McCain would be the oldest man ever to take office, if he were to win the presidency. Other polling data exists, however, that strongly suggests that the Arizona senator’s age could become a big issue for him in the general campaign. Add to this, of course, Bob Dole’s unsuccessful 1996 presidential campaign where his age — he turned 73 during the summer of that year — was very much on the minds of many American voters.
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