Ronald Reagan set the upper limit on presidential age, as far as I’m concerned. He turned 70 three weeks after his first inaugural. St Ronnie’s brand of "You kids get off my lawn" was "You air traffic controllers get outta my towers." Reagan’s "humor," analogous to St McCain’s "bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran," came during an open microphone check just before his Saturday radio address to the nation in August 1984:
"My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes."
St McCain will turn 72 one week before the Minnesota extravaganza at which he’ll become the GOP nominee. Although Dolphin Peggy proposes a one-term presidency for St McCain, I have a better idea: a no-term non-presidency.
I’ve reached a point in my life that I remember both my father and my grandfather mentioning when it happened to them: my doctor, my dentist, and my lawyer are all younger than I am. At different times, both Dad and Gramps announced, "The doctors are sure getting younger. And so are the dentists and lawyers!"
So are the presidential candidates: if Barack Obama is our Democratic nominee this year, I’ll vote for a presidential candidate who’s younger than I am for the first time in my life. I’m okay with that, although it’s a threshold moment I’m prepared to acknowledge, perhaps with a hearing test or a 4pm Red Lobster early-bird special.
There are a lot of reasons not to elect St McCain, reasons we must talk up, press forward, and ensure voters understand. His campaign is infested with lobbyists. His understanding of economics does not surpass that of a third-grader. He may be a kept man. He embraces a man who libeled his own family to defeat him in the South Carolina GOP primary in 2000.
McCain wants young Americans to continue to fight and die in a war America was lied into, for reasons not yet made clear to us. He doesn’t understand our enemies: who they are, whom their allies are, where they re-up, and why they fight. He wants America to fight more wars, against more enemies, for reasons that remain murky and poorly explained.
McCain voted for torture. McCain opposed a minimum wage increase. McCain voted against making the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr,’s birthday a national holiday and then fought it becoming a state holiday in Arizona. McCain won’t support the Twenty-First Century GI Bill of Rights because, like the Bush Administration, he thinks it gives service-members too many reasons to leave the military.
McCain hasn’t released his medical records, as he promised he would. His economic team is headed by the folks who brought America the Enron debacle and de-regulated our financial sector, so that we have this current mess uppermost in our minds, even though he doesn’t. He has kissed the rings of the scariest preachers in America — publicly changed his views of them and then openly sought their political endorsement.
But, if you need a quick shorthand why John McCain should not be elected President, I recommend Oliver Willis’s "sweet Jesus" moment:
From his speech today in which he reaffirmed his commitment to at least 100 years in Iraq:
When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.
He was 5. In 1941. Sweet Jesus.
For when I have time for only two words to describe why John McCain should not be elected President, these two small words work just fine for me: too old.