Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) raised the ire of the McCain campaign today, when he said, “I’ve served with seven presidents. When they come in, they all make mistakes. They all get older. This one guy running is about as old as me. Let me tell you something, it’s no old man’s job.”
For a society that is living longer and getting grayer by the day, John McCain’s age is a very touchy subject. When asked about his age, McCain always tries to joke it off, but the question of whether a man who would be 72 on the day he was sworn in to office, can handle the most stressful job on the planet is a valid one.
Neither of the Democratic candidates will publicly come out and raise the question, but McCain’s age is a constant source of discussion among political circles.
It has been estimated that for everyone year that a person spends in the White House the stress ages them by three. Using this ratio, by the end of his first term, McCain would be the equivalent of an 84 year old man. Look at pictures of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush from the beginning of their first terms and towards the end. By the end of his first term McCain would look like Yoda.
I am no child myself, but one has to wonder if McCain can physically handle being president. More so, than his health it is McCain’s positions that bother many people. His support for the Iraq war borders on an almost elderly stubbornness. His temperament is terrible. Based on many published accounts, McCain does not tolerate, or even want to hear opinions that differ from his.
What is bound to hurt McCain most is that Americans like looks and vigor in their president. McCain has neither. If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, McCain will look like a little old man standing on stage with him at the presidential debates.
I am not saying that all people over 70 years old should not be allowed to run for president. There are times when America needs an older more experienced hand steering our national ship. However the movement in 2008 is towards youth and a fresh start. These are two things that McCain can’t or won’t give his country.