Too Darned Old

I think there are lots of reasons to oppose Sen. John McCain’s candidacy for the presidency. He’s too bellicose, too interventionist to be entirely to my liking. Libertarians (and Republican activists) don’t like him because of his sponsorship of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms. Some conservatives don’t like him because of his support for comprehensive immigration reform (although he’s been making a slow transition to their preferred enforcement-first policy). Some Democrats are portraying a McCain Administration as a third George W. Bush term (which I think is an exaggeration).

One of the very worst reasons to oppose him is the idea that he’s too darned old to be president. I really don’t think that one can be made to stick or, more precisely, if it is made to stick it will have some unforeseen secondary effects.

The third in line for the presidential succession according to the provisions of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 is Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Speaker Pelosi is 68. Too old?

The fourth in line for the presidential succession is Sen. Robert Byrd, president pro tempore of the Senate. If Sen. McCain who would be 73 on the day of his hypothetical inauguration is too old for the presidency, at 91 Sen. Robert Byrd certainly is.

The clear implication is that Speakers of the House or Presidents pro tem of the Senate can’t be too old, either. However old that is.

The idea would also restrict Sen. Obama in his choice of running mate or cabinet appointees.

4 comments… add one
  • One of the very best reasons not to use the “too old” argument is that his mama will come over and kick your ass.

    Seriously, when a candidate’s mother can (and does) still actively campaign for him, the “too old” thing becomes a good bit tougher to sell.

  • The entire discussion puts me in mind of an old episode of Northern Exposure. The episode I’m thinking of contrasts the situations of Chris and Holling Vincoeur. Chris, whose dad died when he was in his thirties, although chronologically young sees himself as middle-aged and Holling, whose dad was over 100 when he died, although chronologically middle-aged sees himself as young.

  • I remember that episode and can understand both character’s POV since the men on both sides of my family rarely live past age seventy while the women frequently live to be 100 or more.

  • Dave, Holling was chronologically OLD in that episode. I don’t remember if he saw himself as young or simply in early middle age.

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