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McCain And The Age Issue

by @ 3:23 pm on July 25, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, John McCain, Politics

Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House contends in a post earlier this week that, in the end, John McCain’s age will prove to be a fatal problem for his campaign:

I believe McCain is too old to be president. Not in years – 72 is not too old for some. For him, it is. Time has passed him by. Even when not making gaff after gaff he seems unsteady and confused at times. And even If you accept the explanation that McCain speaks off the cuff a lot and one’s tongue is bound to get tied up at times and anyone’s brain can experience a hiccup now and again, his fitness for office – fairly or unfairly – will be a major issue in the campaign.Frankly, I don’t see how he can defuse it.

The contrast alone with Obama’s relative youth will make anything McCain tries a tough sell. The last time the age issue cropped up was 1984 and Ronald Reagan’s devastating one liner that took age off the table in the campaign permanently. But the Gipper’s opponent was Walter Mondale, no spring chicken himself. McCain is fighting the growing perception of being too old while trying to minimize or dismiss the stark contrast between his own advancing years and Obama’s seeming youthfulness.

Of course, the late night comics are having a field day with McCain’s gaffe prone campaign, portraying the candidate as a confused old man and who can blame them? They have plenty of fodder to feast on. Admittedly, the real impact that Leno et al have on voters may be slight. But the constant belittling and denigration of McCain abilities due to his age are not helping to dispel the notion that McCain couldn’t handle the job of president.

In this respect, the slightest doubt among voters about whether he is up to the job might be enough to sink his candidacy.

The biggest problem that McCain has in this regard is the fact that he is, quite simply, no Ronald Reagan. When Reagan campaign in 1980 or even 1984, it was with an energy and vigor that made any real questions about his fitness to be President go away almost as quickly as they were raised. Even when Reagan did seem lethargic at times as President, he had an amazing ability to bounce back with energy and enthusiasm that would’ve been difficult for a man twenty years his junior to muster.

But that was Ronald Reagan, and this is McCain were dealing with.

When it comes to campaigning styles and the way he comes across in public, McCain is more like Bob Dole than he is Ronald Reagan, and one of the biggest problems that Dole’s 1996 campaign had was the fact that they were dealing with a candidate who just didnt’ seem all that interested in doing what it took to run a campaign that had even the slightest change of winning the White House.

It’s not just a matter of McCain’s gaffe’s giving voters pause. It’s the question of how a not very charasmatic 70 year old is going to compete with an opponent who is clearly incredibly charasmatic in a year when the voting public is clearly ready to turn the Republican Party out.

Is it possible ? Anything’s possible, I just don’t think it’s very likely.

One Response to “McCain And The Age Issue”

  1. Sandy Cope says:

    McCain’s age is an issue for me, but, not the most serious one. His past record plus his lack of intelligence are worse. He has to stay stuck on the Iraq war talk because that is all he knows. If a message came from Heaven that God was endorsing him, I still could never vote for him.

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