Back Off on the Age Thing

I just recently had a discussion with a friend about what you should and shouldn’t go after McCain on.  You don’t go after his military record, for instance, or his time as a POW.  You also don’t don’t don’t go after McCain on how old he is.

As Chris Cillizza reports, not everyone seems to get this though.  Steve Rosanthal has put together a team that has already released the first in a series of ads depicting things that are older than McCain.  Sure, it’s good for a laugh, and it’s also politically stupid.

Care to know why?

Of all the different people that vote, of all the different demographics, care to take a guess which demographic is made up of some of the most reliable voters ever?  If you guessed anything other than the elderly, you lose.

You want to sink your candidate?  Why, it’s as easy as making it appear as though he or she is insulting the most reliable voting demographic, and see how fast that candidacy gets voted into oblivion.

Sure, there MIGHT be some issues with McCain’s age.  There are obvious health issues that may arise, and there is definitely the potential that he may be out of touch with modern times, but you know, my grandmother’s kind of on the elderly side and she’s in great health and has a pretty solid head on her shoulders.

So really, just back off of the age thing.  There are plenty of other issues to go after McCain, PLENTY.  Don’t go picking the one issue that is going to guarantee that we lose Florida, please?

5 Responses to “Back Off on the Age Thing”

  1. DrGail says:

    I gotta say I disagree with you on this one, Kyle. As someone who is only slightly closer to Obama in age than to McCain (I’ll leave it to you to do the math, but please be kind about it!), his age IS an issue. Stamina is an issue, mental acuity is an issue, and health is an issue.

    Before my mother-in-law moved away from Florida, we would visit her there (always during the winter. I wonder why that is?) and listen to her and her friends kvetch about their aches and pains, their inability to go-go-go even through the course of a single day let alone day after day, and how so-and-so was “really slipping”.

    I think you give the post-retirement crowd too little credit. They may, and probably would, rise up in giant rebellion against you if you dissed McCain or any one of them on the basis of age alone. But I suspect most would readily acknowledge that being President is “a young man’s (or woman’s) game” that they personally no longer have the energy for so how could McCain?

    Remember, too, that Reagan was younger than McCain would be at his inauguration. We now know that Alzheimer’s claimed him certainly during his second term and quite possibly during his first term as well. Everyone (or at least everyone in the vulnerable age range) recognizes that Alzheimer’s does not discriminate, nor does it give much warning. And we’re nowhere near even being able to predict and avert its onset, let alone cure it.

    Would anyone really want the lobbyists and other assorted nuts who are trusted McCain advisors running the show, especially when every effort is made to disguise the fact that they’re running the show?

  2. You know, after I wrote this post, Matt sent out that email, and I felt kind of dumb afterwards. I still think going after McCain’s age as a raw issue would result in blowback, but if we were to specify distinct parts of the age issue as both you and Matt have done, I think it would be very effective.

    For me, I think just seeing McCain up against a younger and more vivacious Obama will itself produce the kind of contrast that couldn’t be ignored.

  3. DrGail says:


    My happy dreams all include the jaw-dropping contrasts we would see in a McCain/Obama debate.

  4. Yup. I think that might be the highlight of my year.

  5. DrGail says:

    I just saw a segment on MSNBC, chronicling the presidential race from how the comedy shows cover it. It seemed like every joke or skit about McCain focused on his age.

    It’s already out there, and in a way that he can’t fight against it without seeming really petty and defensive. It would backfire on him. So I think we can do a wee bit of issue-focused pile on without risking too much blowback.

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