by Noni Mausa
I was listening to an interesting debate tonight before an audience of Canadians on the CBC radio show “Ideas” which discussed which president, R or D, would give rise to a safer world. Link here: (http://www.munkdebates.com/)
The first speaker, Charles Krauthammer, lost me in the first minute or two with this stunning argument, dropped as a mere passing horse-apple in his gallop to proclaim that Republican candidate McCain’s experience trumped all. No one called him on it, he went on to other absurdities too quickly, but keep an eye out for this argument in public discourse. I am sure it will bob to the surface again. Here it is:
Krauthammer contended that McCain isn’t really old, because “based on median age, nine presidents this century have been older”.
Oh, slap me with a haddock! Is he really trying to grade age on a curve, saying that as the population gets older, we should redefine what “old” really is?
If so, then it makes just as much sense to raise the required minimum age for presidential candidates, too. 35 is no longer “old enough”, let’s try 45. Same for the drinking age and driver’s licensing, lets push them up to age 30. THAT should be popular.
Yeah, sure, today’s 70 year olds are healthier and more functional than a generation ago (at least the ones who can afford health care.). But they are still old, just as high school kids are still young, and women in their 50s are menopausal, and men in their 50s buy red sports cars.
Why would Krauthammer make this peculiar argument? My guess is, it lays the conceptual groundwork for trying to flatter and cajole and suck up to older Americans, many of whom have given up on Republicans and can no longer be swayed by Republican attempts to plant their trademark on conservative economic and family values.
At the same time I imagine they are setting up a scenario where anyone questioning McCain’s age, could be labeled as dismissive of aged people. Obama, conversely, can be painted as a gangly kid, despite being John Kennedy’s age. I’m sorry, nobody who is 47 is a kid anymore. Or at least, only by comparison with a man 25 years older.
by Noni Mausa